Register now for the 19th annual Iowa Institute for Social Action to be held Saturday, Oct. 6. The event will be at St. Theresa parish in Des Moines beginning at 9 a.m. Bishop Richard Pates will be the keynote speaker on "Threats to World Peace and the Church's Response.' There will be a variety of breakout sessions on the social concerns of the Church. The cost to attend is $25 and includes lunch. Registration and session listing is available online at www.iowasocialaction.org. The event is sponsored by the Catholic dioceses of Iowa and the Iowa Catholic Conference. Check out the brochure here.
It's time to get your tickets to the Christ Our Life Regional Conference Sept. 22-23 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Be inspired and become stronger in your faith. Come to hear world reknown speakers such as Washington, D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, our own Bishop Richard Pates, Father Michael Gaitley, converts Allen Hunt and Roy Schoeman, Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza, Mary's Meals' founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, former gangster John Pridmore, and musician Steve Angrisano. Get your tickets here and be ready for the Christ Our Life Regional Conference!
As part of the commencement ceremony at Mercy College of Health Sciences last Friday, Bishop Richard Pates blessed the hands of graduates with olive oil, fitting to represent the copious outpouring of sacramental grace. Through this action, all present were reminded of the calling of service the graduates will undertake through their chosen careers.
Catholic Charities Social Justice Consortium recently named Ken Bresnan as the new Respect Life initiative contact for the consortium, which uses the expertise of multiple people for a braoder impact on social justice issues. Bishop Richard Pates and Catholic Charities Executive Director Nancy Galeazzi appointed Bresnan, who currently serves as Parish Outreach Liaison at Catholic Charities. The Respect life initiative assists parishes in understanding and implementing the concept of the Consistent Life Ethic, whereby the respect and dignity of all persons is embraced from the moment of conception to natural death. A consistent life ethic means being pro-life across the board: opposing abortion, capital punishment, assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Congratulations to Dowling Catholic High School senior Brad Robey, whose photo of Father Zachary Kautzky won first place in the Youth Division of Photography at the Iowa State Fair. The photography Salon's theme this year is Iowa churches. Brad thought this photo captured the essence of church. The photo will be on display in the Cultural Center during the fair.
Bishop Richard Pates wrote a column for America magazine about the challenge for Catholics to live their fatih in the public arena given today's political environment. Read the story, called "In this together: How Catholics can overcome partisan divisions."
When a man responds to God’s call to be a permanent deacon he must have trust. That trust is especially important when Hispanic men in the United States hear the call.
I caught up with Deacon Felix Hernandez on a 90 degree day. He’s a permanent deacon at St. Mary Catholic Church in Marshalltown. He also works full-time in construction and roofing. We shared lunch at the job site. He shared how God sustained his family the past three years.
Before ordination in 2009 Hernandez’ wife, Cynthia, an employee at Swift & Company, was detained and deported back to Mexico. He was left a single father and provider for their four children.
Archbishop Jerome Hanus still ordained Hernandez, who along with Cynthia, had completed several years of formation classes. He shared how important community support is for candidates and their wives. “They allowed us to bring our children on formation weekends in Waterloo,” he said, but added, “Prayers are most important.”
Hernandez continues to work for Cynthia’s return. He visits her, but he and his U.S.- born children stay here. “We have two children that are in high school with the opportunity to study in Iowa,” he said. “Their education here would be better and we cannot leave them.”
Deacon Felix explained how ministry relates to family life. “To unite with Jesus gives one life,” he said, “But you have a spouse, you have children and work every day. You continue being a man.”
Hernandez plays guitar and reads history books. He preaches at Mass and enjoys presiding at Holy Hours of healing. On trips to Mexico he’s preached over the radio.
“Everything is done with the help of God. Without God we can do nothing,” he reminded me, “God has helped me, leading me in the hope that my wife will be reunited with us again.”