The Diocese of Des Moines
September 2016

September 28, 2016
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

In the midst of planning for the priests' workshop, the upcoming Mercy Summit and a variety of outreach initiatives, the staff of the Diocese of Des Moines based at the Catholic Pastoral Center is packing up and moving across the street to 1 Ruan Center (666 Grand Ave.) for a major rehab project on our building.

Sandy Riesberg, a longest serving diocesan staff member, reminisced about previous moves as staff prepares to shift services to new office space for a year. 

As staff cleans out old material and boxes up needed books and files, Sandy smiled and said, “We can do this. It’s a little more complicated this time, but we can do it.”

When Sandy began as an administrative secretary in 1978, there were no computers, servers or printers. Just typewriters, which were easy to move.

She and other staff shared office space in a small house in the back of 2910 Grand Ave. Sometimes, she’d need to carry her umbrella to go to the main house, where she’d get the mail or make copies. Meeting rooms were in the bishop’s house on 37th Street. Catholic Charities and The Catholic Mirror had other office space in town.

In 1983, Bishop Maurice Dingman wanted diocesan staff, Catholic Charities and The Catholic Mirror to be under one roof. They moved to 818 5th Street in Des Moines.

There was a little stress, she said. To build camaraderie among the staff, the monthly First Friday donuts gathering began and popcorn was made for lunch nearly every day.

The building had no basement and no storage for items we use today, such as containers for Chrism Mass or storing vestments. Catholic Charities offered a clothes closet from the building because St. Mary Family Center hadn’t yet been established.

“Talk about space,” Sandy reminisced. “There was none! But we didn’t have things that we do now and need.    We had typewriters but no printers.”

Ten years later, the staff moved to its current location at the Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave. Staff moved in March, and on July 9, 1993 the city lost water because of a flood.

It was summer and offices were asked not to use air conditioning during the flood crisis.

Sandy worked in a cubicle in the third-floor hallway where a coffee pot now sits outside the bishop’s corner office. She served the Communications and Worship Offices, which were along the wall by the Bishop’s office. The Catholic Mirror was in the St. Pius X room, where the large space could accommodate four staff members.

Today, many diocesan staff members have an office and others have office space a distance from coworkers. Some at Catholic Charities have offices while others work in cubicles.

Beginning Oct. 17, diocesan and Catholic Charities offices in Des Moines will operate out of 1 Ruan Center (666 Grand Ave.) on a temporary basis. Staff will share offices during this temporary move. Major rehabilitation work on the Catholic Pastoral Center can be done more quickly if staff are not in the building. The work is expected to take about a year.    

The Ruan Center will be Sandy’s fourth office building in her 38 years with the diocese.

“I’m flexible. Do whatever you want with me,” she said. “I can work anywhere as long as I have a cubicle and a desk.”

September 14, 2016
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

This month's edition of "The Catholic Mirror" is full of good news.

Check out the center section, where we profile the four new seminarians discerning priesthood and introduce you to seminarian Trevor Chicoine, who will be ordained a transitional deacon at the end of this month. That's the last major step to priesthood. God willing, he will become Father Trevor Chicoine next summer.

Also in this issue, we have some thoughts from Bishop Richard Pates on the upcoming election, and details on a Mercy Summit (an opportunity for all those who are doing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy to be affirmed and encouraged).

John Carr, who helped the U.S. bishops for more than 20 years on promoting and undersatnding Catholic social teaching will be in the area Oct. 2. And, we've got informaiton on seven Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs) who are celerbating major anniversaries.

Shelby County Nicaragua Partners shared their story of a growing relationship with a community in Nicaragua, and the St. Theresa Parish Togo Committee shared an update on its work with an African community.

Holy Family School in Des Moines has seen its academic scores skyrocket, and we've got stories on an upcoming banquet for Iowans for LIFE and the fifth anniversary of InnerVisions Healthcare.

Before you put your paper down, make sure you read through the story "Historic diocesan building renovations to start soon" on page 3. The Catholic Pastoral Center, at 601 Grand Ave. in Des Moines, is closing in mid-October for a major rehabilitation. Staff members are moving to office space across the street, at 666 Grand Ave, also known as 1 Ruan Center. Get the details in your edition of The Catholic Mirror.

September 8, 2016
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

In response to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ call for prayer for peace in our communities, Bishop Richard Pates invites everyone to join him this Friday, Sept. 9 as he celebrates the 12:10 p.m. Mass at St. Ambrose Cathedral (607 High St.) The Mass will be in thanksgiving for the peace and harmony of racial relations that we have had in our community and to pray for the continual hard work we must do to continue its progress.

Following the Mass, at approximately 1:15 p.m. all are invited to join Bishop Pates across the street from the cathedral, in the Catholic Pastoral Center (601 Grand Ave.) for a soup lunch and a forum of three speakers addressing our communities’ efforts in this area of racial harmony.

Our speakers are:

  • Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert
  • Iowa Nebraska NAACP President Betty Andrews
  • Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie

Following the presentations there will be an opportunity for those who join us at the forum to offer brief commentary. For more information, contact Ken Bresnan, Catholic Charities parish outreach liaison, at 515-237-5089.

The call for prayer for peace in our communities falls on the feast of St. Peter Claver, who lived from 1580 to 1654, and is revered as a patron saint of African Americans.