The Diocese of Des Moines
April 2018

April 30, 2018
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

We continue our weekly visit to the churches in Shelby County with a stop at St. Michael Catholic Church in Harlan, Iowa. This church has a large mosaic of stained glass by the baptismal font and colorful glass throughout the building, allowing light to shine in. Where do you see God's light in your life?

April 25, 2018
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

The cross atop St. Joseph Catholic Church in Earling can be seen for miles around. You can't help but be drawn to it, to the church and to spend time with God.

April 20, 2018
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Congratulations to St. Theresa Catholic School. Gov. Kim Reynolds lauds your effort to bring STEM education to all grades in new and innovative ways.

April 18, 2018
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Congratulations to Dr. Barbara Quijano Decker, who has been named the new executive director of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Des Moines effective July 2. In this role, she will oversee a staff of about 80 full- and part-time staff in Des Moines and Council Bluffs who serve those living in the 23 counties of the diocese. She will guide programs and services, work with community and church leadership and advocate on behalf of the vulnerable and needy. 

Decker currently serves as the president of Mercy College of Health Sciences in DEs Moines, a role she has held since 2005. Prior to joining Mercy College, she held human resources roles at Mercy Medical Center and Drake University in Des Moines. 

"We are tremendously grateful for Dr. Decker's decision ot become our new leader at Catholic Charities," said Bishop Richard Pates. "She has tremendous leadership skills and has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to serving our community."

 Rick Ball, vice chair of the Catholic Charities Board of Directors, said, "Dr. Decker has a deep-seated compassion for people who need assistance and a chance to improve their perosnal situation." Decker will bring a faith-based approach to Catholic Charities "and provide a solid leadership amongst the Des Moines business community," he said.

Catholic Charities has been serving the needs of individuals since 1925 with a wide range of social service programs offering food, shelter, counseling, advocacy and hope to more than 30,000 people each year.

April 16, 2018
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Bishop Pates encourages priests, deacons, parish staff to attend 

Energy Conversation” on Tuesday, April 17

                In the spirit of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical On Care for Our Common Home (also known as Laudato Si’), Bishop Richard Pates announced that the Diocese of Des Moines has partnered with Catholic Energies (a project of Catholic Climate Covenant), and with Red Lion Renewables of Norwalk to bring greater energy efficiency and environmentally favorable practices to parishes in central and southwest Iowa.

            Bishop Pates encourages all priests of the diocese or their representatives to learn more during an Energy Conversation on April 17 from 10-11:30 a.m. at Ss. John and Paul Parish Fellowship Development Center, 1401 First Ave. South, in Altoona.

            This event will allow representatives from the diocese, Catholic Energies, Red Lion Renewables and other partners to outline steps parishes and schools can make to reduce their facility’s waste energy, improve comfort and operations, as well as generate their own electricity. They’ll also offer information on tackling lighting, HVAC, solar projects and much more.

            “The goal of the partnership is to help your parish, school or other building reduce energy waste, save money on utility bills, educate parishioners, students, their parents and others about Laudato Si’ and encourage them to do likewise in their homes and businesses,” said Bishop Pates in a letter to priests.

            As Pope Francis said in his 2015 encyclical, “…much still needs to be done, such as promoting ways of conserving energy. These would include….encouraging the construction and repair of buildings aimed at reducing their energy consumption and levels of pollution.” (#180)

 “As you know,” wrote Bishop Pates, “many of our structures are aging and have inefficient equipment that can be a financial drain on scarce dollars. Savings generated from efficiency projects can go a long way in reducing costs, some of which can be used to further core ministries.”

             “I am hopeful that we can join others who have participated in the Catholic Energies program and demonstrate that the Des Moines Catholic community is rising to the challenge of caring for our creation and those suffering from our neglect – our neighbors in Iowa and around the world,” Bishop Pates concluded.


The Diocese of Des Moines includes 80 parishes in 23 counties in central and southwest Iowa.

April 15, 2018
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Need a little inspiration today? Check out this video of beautiful St. Boniface Catholic Church in Westphalia, Iowa.

April 10, 2018
Written By: Adam Storey

On Monday, the pope released a new teaching document (called an apostolic exhortation), he named Rejoice and Be Glad (Gaudete et Exsultate), which he described as a practical call to holiness for the Universal Church. This beautiful, and short, exhortation has words of wisdom for all of us, but I think it is particularly rich for our families. The pope wrote that he likes to “contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people:  in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile” (7).

Often times when we think of holiness, we think of monasteries and mystics, we think of all night vigils and extreme penances. In Rejoice and be Glad, Pope Francis offers us a more practical and immediate vision of holiness. One in which holiness is found in the details (144), in being stretched by others (141), in silent discernment (150) and in our daily mission (23). Pope Francis is reminding us that we are all called to be saints, we are called to share in God’s own life, and that this communion with God happens in the everyday, mundane, ordinary circumstances that we find ourselves in.  

I believe in this vision of holiness because I have experienced it. I’ve watched my wife grow in holiness as she gets up at 1 a.m. to retrieve a missing pacifier (and 2 a.m., and 3 a.m., and 3:13 a.m…) I’ve experienced God’s loving gaze through my children, whose depth of love and simplicity is staggering. And I’ve seen my own heart be purified through the daily annoyances and obligations that come from living in a community.

God is present in our homes, in every home and in every situation. He accompanies us at all times, and he desires to share his own life with us. I am not a saint yet, not even close, but I pray that through God’s grace I someday will be. In our diocese let’s pray for the sanctification of all our families. The world need saints, and the Lord has a plan to make each of us one. Let us say yes to this beautiful invitation!