The Diocese of Des Moines

April 29, 2015
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

By far, the most frequently asked question about the guidelines for Confirmation liturgy preparation is our suggestion that a short acclamation follow the Rite of Confirmation itself. 

Is it required? Why is it suggested? Where do we get this acclamation? How long is it supposed to be?

This acclmation isn't required, but is suggested to respond to a couple of elements of the rite: 

  • A song during the anointings is suggested by the Rite itself, but Bishop Pates generally prefers that there not be music during that time so that the words of the sacrament and the name of the candidate being confirmed can be spoken.
  • With that knowledge, doing a short musical "seal" on the rite can be a fitting conclusion. It parallels the RCIA, where a similar musical acclamation is suggested. 
  • There is a bit of "travel time" that can be covered. Generally, the bishop will invite applause after all of the anointings. As the applause dies down,  sing an "alleluia" (outside of Lent), a verse of a song about the Holy Spirit, or even a choir piece, can be sung. It lifts up the newly confirmed and gives all the assembly a stake in the Rite--they express their support for the newly confirmed. This can happen as the newly confirmed return to their seats and as the bishop goes to cleanse his hands. 

The acclamation or hymn should be long enough to seem worth it, but not much longer than the time for people to be prepared for the Prayer of the Faithful. 

What music could be used?

  • Repeat the Gospel Acclamation--"alleluia"--with or without a verse pertaining to the Holy Spirit
  • One verse of an Easter hymn ("Jesus is Risen") if your liturgy is close to or during the Easter season. Or, any hymn to the Holy Spirit or reminiscent of faith, being chosen ("God Has Chosen Me" by Bernadette Farrell, for example)
  • A piece from the RCIA: David Haas' song "Who Calls You By Name" is joyful and uplifting when sung with or without the verses. It's also easy for an assembly to catch since it is call-and-response. 

See the first three in our series here: 

Saint's Names
Miter and Crosier
Profession of Faith

Call the Worship Office if you have questions! (515) 237-5046. 

April 23, 2015
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

'Tis the season! Bishop Pates has about 55 confirmation liturgies scheduled in the next several months. I'll try to post some of the questions that come to the office for the benefit of all our parishes. First up: 

When does the bishop wear the miter (bishop's hat) and when does he take the crosier (staff)?

At a confirmation the bishop will wear the miter: 

  • During the entrance procession (handing it to a server before bowing to the altar)
  • When seated during the Liturgy of the Word
  • After the prayer of laying on of hands, when anointing confirmandi with Chrism
  • After the Communion prayer and any announcements are made; just before the dialogue "The Lord be with you," which precedes the final blessing" and through the recessional procession

At a confirmation liturgy, the bishop will take the crosier: 

  • During the entrance procession (handing it to a server before bowing to the altar)
  • At the Gospel proclamation (after the greeting by the deacon or priest)
  • After the solemn blessing/prayer over the people and just before the final blessing "May almighty God bless you..." and through the recessional procession

As always, please contact the Worship Office at 515.237.5046 with questions that arise!

April 23, 2015
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Here's another question on Confirmation liturgies that came in today. See the first in the series here

How do we handle the Profession of Faith/Renewal of Baptismal Promises? Do the candidates only say it, do we repeat it for all the assembly, do the members of the assembly join with the Candidates?

In short, the profession of faith by all the assembly is omitted because the Candidates have made their profession of faith and all the people have responded "Amen" to the bishop's proclamation at the end of the candidates' renewal of their baptismal promises.

To elaborate, there are a couple of ways to approach this. As you'll see in the Rite of Confirmation from the Roman Pontifical (the bishop's liturgical book), it is noted that the Candidates stand and respond, "I do," to the Renunciation of Sin and the Profession of Faith. At this liturgy of Christian initiation, it is an important part of their recalling and connecting with their own baptism. So, only the candidates stand and respond. 

At the end of it, the Bishop says, "This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. We are proud to profess it in Christ Jesus our Lord," and the assembly should respond "Amen." to that. It is how the assembly makes the profession of faith its own. 

The Rite as outlined in the Pontifical allows a bit of flexibility: 

  • Another formula may be used for the bishop's proclamation "This is our faith..."; perhaps as the RCIA does, the assembly could then be invited to stand and renew their own baptismal promises. 
  • In keeping with the allowance of "another formula," you could add a simple sentence to the end of the bishop's proclamation: "Let the assembly say Amen."  Either the bishop or the deacon could make this instruction. 
  • A song may be sung in its place. There is a simple musical acclamation by David Haas that many parishes have used during the RCIA. It is found in the collection Who Calls You By Name and is a call-and-response setting of the text of the bishop's proclamation. You could also have the people sing one refrain of a song of faith like Kevin Keil's "One Spirit, One Church," or a verse of Bob Frenzel and Kevin Keil's song, "One Love Released," or a song of faith familiar to your parish community. 

As always, contact the Worship Office with questions! (515) 237-5046

April 23, 2015
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The confirmation questions are pouring in: 

How do we handle the name tags for our candidates when they choose a saint's name as their confirmation name? 

Some of the names are easy: Paul, Peter, Mary, Cecilia. You just have to print that in larger print than the rest of their name. 

Some of them are a little more difficult, or there are duplicate names: Catherine (Siena or Alexandria?), John (Evanglist, Vianney, John of the Cross?), Padre Pio (calling a teen "Padre Pio," or would anyone know who Pio of Pietrelcina is?). 

There are a couple of ways you could approach this: 

  • For example, with Catherine of Alexandria, print the "of Alexandria" in smaller print, below the saint's name. The bishop then would only say "Catherine," but the confirmand and the bishop would know who was being referenced. 
  • With someone like Padre Pio, whose name has been popularized, the formal name of "Pio" is just fine. His formal name is "St. Pio of Pietrelcina" and, again, it is a name that the confirmand and the bishop will both recognize. 

Keep the confirmation questions coming! (515) 237-5046

March 11, 2015
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

We're about two weeks away from the Chrism Mass, which is the annual gathering of the people of the diocese. Join us!

Thursday, March 26, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. 
St. Ambrose Cathedral

Reception to Follow at the
Catholic Pastoral Center

This year we have an opportunity for those in the RCIA process: Dr. Cheryl Fournier, Director of Adult Faith Formation for the diocese, will lead a catechetical session for catechumens, Elect, and baptized candidates for full communion. It'll follow the model of Sunday dismissal catechesis and will take a look at the oils used in our sacramental life, with an eye toward preparing newcomers to our faith for Holy Week. 

RSVP requested for the RCIA participants so we can have enough materials. That can be done online (indicate "RCIA" in the "details" section) or via phone at 515-237-5046. 

We are looking forward to seeing you in just a couple of weeks. Our diocesan community is more complete with you present at the Cathedral!

December 20, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Blessed John XXIII signs the bull calling Vatican II

January 25, 1959 (Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul)

Photo: CNS


Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Divine Spirit,
renew your wonders in our time, as though for a new Pentecost,
and grant that the Holy Church,
preserving unanimous and continuous prayer,
together with Mary the Mother of Jesus,
and also under the guidance of St. Peter,
may increase the reign of the Divine Savior,
the reign of truth and justice,
the reign of love and peace.


Pope John XXIII concluded his Christmas Day 1961 Apostolic Exhortation Humanae Salutoris with this beautiful prayer. Humanae Salutoris officially convoked the Second Vatican Council. Enjoy it as we move closer to our celebration of the birth of Jesus. 


December 13, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

We're continuing our Friday series on the popes who have served the Church since Vatican II. Last week, we saw footage of Pope John XXIII's election. This week, let's look at some footage of his liturgy of installation (then, it was called a Coronation). I'm relying on this post, the author of which has meticulously combed through the internet for footage and who loves the liturgy as it was before Vatican II. 


A couple of things stand out to this modern observer--let's get a discussion started on what you see or think about this liturgy in relation to your own experience in the worship of God in our Church. 


First--the pope is carried on the sedia gestatoria (the chair/throne on which he is seated in this video).


It does seem that the pope himself wasn't fond of the traveling chair:

Blessed Pope John was famously uncomfortable in the sedia gestatoria. When first lifted up, he was asked if he was all right. 'Hm: it's windy up here!' was the reply. And reportedly he invariably felt sea-sick after any time spent travelling in it. This was not the case with Pope Pius XII who would on occasion leap athletically around, leaning out to shake hands with people (presumably to the consternation of the bearers). Pope John just sat very, very, very still, managing an occasional watery smile and a feeble blessing and regretting having had that extra cornetto for breakfast. That being said, it was not he who abolished the sedia.

Second, the use of the tiara is something that has not been used since this event.


Though the liturgy is no longer called a coronation, and though a tiara has not been used since 1958, at least one aspect of these liturgies hasn't changed: the crowds present. There is something amazing about Bernini's piazza (St. Peter's Square) which serves the Church well when people from everywhere gather to reflect the universal Church. 


December 12, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

...right this very minute...


Each year during Advent, I dig through YouTube to find this video, which helps us to put a little context into the kind of Christmas we need. 



This year's video is also poignant:



Advent blessings from the Office for Worship!


December 10, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Looking for a source of scriptural and liturgically based daily intercessions? Check the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide, Australia. Each week they post prepared intercessions to be used at Mass or other prayer services. Be careful with the print-and-pray method, though, as they are specific to that archdiocese. I have used these as starting points for prayer for diocesan staff and for clergy. 


You're right--it would be great to have such prayers for our diocese! Anyone up to the task






December 9, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

During this season of hopeful expectation, join in praying to end world hunger. Pope Francis and Caritas International are leading tomorrow's global wave of prayer. The idea is to pause at noon, wherever you are in the diocese or the world, and pray. Caritas' official prayer is below. First, hear Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, President of Caritas International, invite us to prayer:



Noon Prayer on December 10, 2013

Printable Flyer in English Spanish


O God, you entrusted to us the fruits of all creation so that we might care for the earth
and be nourished with its bounty.


You sent us your Son to share our very flesh and blood and to teach us your Law of Love.

Through His death and resurrection, we have been formed into one human family.


Jesus showed great concern for those who had no food – even transforming five loaves and two fish into a banquet that served five thousand and many more.


We come before you, O God, conscious of our faults and failures, but full of hope,
to share food with all members in this global family.


Through your wisdom, inspire leaders of government and of business,
as well as all the world’s citizens, to find just, and charitable solutions to end hunger
by assuring that all people enjoy the right to food.


Thus we pray, O God, that when we present ourselves for Divine Judgment,
we can proclaim ourselves as one human family with food for all.




 Visit Caritas Online

December 6, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

This is the first in a series of blog posts about the six popes who have served our Church since Vatican II. They will continue on Fridays throughout this year of celebration of the 50 years of liturgical reform and renewal that have followed the release of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium


We begin with Pope John XXIII. You can read a brief biography of him on the Vatican website. Here's a clip of a newsreel from when he was elected: 



These reflections by the pope's longtime secretary are quite striking. For a pope who many expected to be a caretaker for a few years, his impact was great. The first pope in the age of satellite communication, his words could not help but be spread round the globe. 


Next Friday, we'll take a look at his liturgy of installation. Blessings this Advent season!



December 4, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

It'd be difficult for a person who works in Roman Catholic and in many mainline non-Catholic denominations to let today pass without noting the 50th anniversary of the first Vatican II document, Sacrosanctam Conciliam, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. 


50 years ago today, the bishop-fathers of Vatican II nearly unanimously approved the document which would ultimately kick-start a reform and renewal of worship and Church life around the world. Pope Paul VI, who continued the Council called by Bl. John XXIII, then promulgated (set forth, officialized) the pastoral teaching document for the whole Church. 


In the Diocese of Des Moines, we're looking forward to a yearlong commemoration, celebration, and renewal of worship and Church life. Click here for the first look at the year's events. More to follow, and on Friday, I'll begin the first of a year of weekly blog posts on the Pastors of Reform and Renewal--all six popes who have served the Church during and since the Council. Follow...and discuss!


Let us pray for continued renewal of our worship life in the Diocese of Des Moines. May God continue to bless all who serve in the ministries of worship: clergy, musicians, liturgy preparers, readers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, hospitality ministers! 

November 26, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Pope Francis has done it again. Check out his new encyclical (a message to everyone in the Church), Evangelii Gaudium found on the Vatican website. 


It isn't short, but it's worth printing off and having at the table while you drink your morning coffee. Read through it bit-by-bit and discover his vision for the Church: 

Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. (#49) 

Rocco Palmo has some sage advice for those who think 48,000 words of pope-speak might be a little much for them:

If you're looking for a "primer," it's fairly simple: don't insult your intelligence – just take the time to actually read it. (emphasis original)

Another blog I follow has taken a look at it from a liturgical perspective. The PrayTell Blog is edited by Fr. Anthony Ruff, O.S.B., of St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. 


I'll be taking the next couple of weeks and moving through it. Let's discuss it in the comments section below--your thoughts are welcome!

November 25, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Yesterday, the Cathedral resounded with 260 singers and the largest orchestra the church has seen. Five choirs and students and faculty of Drake University, as well as area professional instrumentalists, packed the Cathedral in a performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Hodie (This Day), a remarkable cantata that travels through the Christmas story. Browse photos of the event here


Thanks to Dr. Aimee Beckmann-Collier, Director of Choral Studies at Drake University, for gathering the musicians and visionaries necessary to perform something of this magnitude. Dr. ABC also directs the music for diocesan liturgies, such as ordinations and the Chrism Mass. 


Bishop Pates designated this as a closing event for the international Year of Faith. called by Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate the historic renewals of worship and church life set forth by Vatican II 50 years ago. The two Hodie performances saw packed houses each night. The performances were electrifying, and the collaboration between the diocese, Cathedral, and three other Catholic parishes, the Heartland Youth Choir, professional and Drake University musicians, showed a healthy relationship between the Church and the fine arts in Des Moines. 


Did you know that in 2013 there were five choral concerts in the Cathedral? Watch for a Fine Arts series brochure for 2014!



The concert closed with these glorious words of John Milton's On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, which was written in 1629, when the poet was just 21 years old. Our Cathedral church was nearly bursting with silver chimes, trumpets, strings, and voices raised in song. Congratulations to all the performers and directors! 



Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
Once bless our human ears,
If ye have power to touch our senses so;
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time,
And let the bass of heaven’s deep organ blow;
And with your ninefold harmony

Make up full consort to the angelic symphony.

Such music (as ’tis said)
Before was never made,
But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator great
His constellations set,
And the well-balanced world on hinges hung,
And cast the dark foundations deep,

And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep.


Yea, truth and justice then
Will down return to men,
Orbed in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,
Mercy will sit between,
Throned in celestial sheen,
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering;
And heaven, as at some festival,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.

November 22, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

This year's feast of Saint Cecilia has special significance. This blog has a fascinating look at how, fifty years ago tody, President John F. Kennedy's death was seen through the eyes of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council. 


As the post notes, shortly after the assembled bishops had approved the text of the landmark liturgy document, the news broke of the President's assassination. 


A blessed feast of Saint Cecilia, patroness of music and musicians, to all. 

November 22, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Check out the second issue of Preparing Worship, which was sent to music directors, liturgy coordinators, RCIA coordinators, and clergy, earlier this week. 


We are preparing a year of commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. The Office for Worship is already working with Christ the King Parish in Des Moines and St. John the Apostle Parish in Norwalk to form liturgy committees and music ministers during this year of renewal. Add your parish's name to the list! Contact the Worship Office to set up an event now!



October 21, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

On Sunday, November 24, the Roman Catholic Church will close the international Year of Faith, which began on October 11, 2013, to remember the opening of the Second Vatican Council. 


It's been quite a year. From the celebration of the landmark ecumenical council that re-proposed the Gospel in twentieth-century terms, to the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, to Pope Francis who has continued to surprise the world with his candor in speaking of God's joy and mercy, no one could have predicted the event of this year. And as they say to marathoners, whether from Chicago, Boston, or Des Moines, finish weak!


Hold on. It's true that is nothing like what we or they say to marathoners. Yet, look at the Gospel reading for the close of the Year of Faith. The Christ we worship is one who rules from the cross in utter weakness and poverty. Yet in this weakness, as Saint Paul writes, we find our strength. Christ poured out his life for all humanity. When 


Check out the first issue of Preparing Worship, a new resource from the Worship Office. Share those responsible for preparing your parish's liturgies, and see how you can help your communities finish the year of faith: strength through Christ-like weakness, mercy, and love. 




September 13, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Join Bishop Pates and nearly twenty other ministers and members of area Christian congregations for a prayer for peace in Syria. 


The service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 15, at St. Ambrose Cathedral, located at 607 High Street in Des Moines. Anyone is welcome to join in this time of prayer. 


This one hour service of sung, spoken, and silent prayer will be led by the ministers and by musicians from a variety of Christian communities. Visit the Diocese of Des Moines Worship Office website to view the worship aid. Musicians may come at 1:30 p.m. for an open rehearsal to assist in the musical leadership, and clergy can gather in the Cathedral chapel at 2:30 p.m., that day. 


Visit the website of the Taize community to learn about this unique style of prayer that has captivated the world with its imaginative use of sound, silence, and visual imagery. 


The Taize prayer service comes at the end of a novena (nine-day time of prayer) for peace in Syria that began with Night Prayer for Peace on September 7. 


Contact Kyle Lechtenberg, Diocesan Director of Worship, for more information. 

September 7, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The Vatican has posted the worship aid for Pope Francis' vigil for peace, which is currently underway in Saint Peter's Square in Rome. 


Update: 70,000 people are gathered to pray for peace.  

Salt and Light TV is live-streaming the broadcast. 


Some highlights: 


The Veni Creator Spiritus (Come, Creator Spirit) and Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen)

Meditation on the mysteries of the Rosary, with a sung refrain by all

Scripture readings: Isaiah 2:2, 4-5; Zechariah 9:9-10; Micah 5:1-4a; Ephesians 2:13-14, 17; James 3:13-18; Jeremiah 37:21, 38:14-28; John 20:19-29

Prayers for peace by Popes Pius XII and Bl. John XXIII, Paul VI, Bl. John Paul II, Benedict XVI,

A reading from Saint Leo the Great (400-461)

A feast of Psalms and canticles

Closing with Eucharistic Benediction


Join us at St. Ambrose Cathedral for Night Prayer for Peace at 7:30 p.m. tonight. 


September 7, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Here is the worship aid for tonight's prayer service. All are welcome to attend this prayer for peace in Syria and Egypt. 


Bishop Pates will precede the prayer service with an update on the urgency of the need for prayer. In addition to his role as Bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines, he serves as chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace. Along with Cardinal Dolan and other bishops around the United States, he has been outspoken on the position of the Catholic Church on the matter of military intervention in Syria. 

September 6, 2013
Written By: Fr. Mike McLaughlin

A special celebration and appreciation breakfast will be held with Bishop Pates and the head of the UnityPoint Chaplaincy Program on Saturday, October 5th from 9-11 a.m. at the Catholic Pastoral Center (601 Grand Ave., Des Moines) for the Eucharistic ministers who serve our local hospitals (Methodist, Lutheran, Methodist West, Blank and Broadlawns).  This special appreciation breakfast will honor those who have served – some for as many as 30 years – and bring all of us up-to-date with topics regarding the ministry and hospital procedures.


Also, if you have never been a minister before, this celebration would be a great opportunity to start.  We have great need – serving the many Catholic patients in what is, by some accounts, the largest hospital in Iowa (Methodist), and the other hospitals in that organization.  Schedules can be worked out easily for as little as one time a month.  To RSVP, please email or call Sandy Riesberg at the Diocesan Worship Office (515-237.5046) by September 30, 2013.  


Come and join us.  At the very least – though it’s not a small gift – PRAY FOR US. Thank you! – Fr. Mike McLaughlin, Catholic Chaplain

September 6, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Brian Gonzalez of St. Anthony's Parish provides the following information about an event sponsored by St. Anthony  Parish and the Monks of Norcia (Italy). 


If you have information to share about a liturgy event at your parish, or would like to schedule an event for your parishioners, please contact Kyle Lechtenberg in the Diocesan Office for Worship (515.237.5046). 

Very Rev. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B.

Monastery of San Benedetto in Norcia, Italy

Monday, Sept. 23, 2013


St. Anthony’s Catholic Church

15 Indianola Ave., Des Moines, IA 50315


Holy Mass                 5:30 pm

Potluck dinner         6:30 pm

Talk                           7:30 pm


Come pray and visit with Fr. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., a Benedictine monk and priest from a growing monastic community at the birthplace of his founder, St. Benedict, in Norcia, Italy.  Fr. Cassian will celebrate a Missa Cantata.  Afterwards, there will be a potluck dinner and then he’ll give a talk which will focus on the special apostolate that the Holy See has given the Monks of Norcia, and what the Church can learn from both forms of the Roman Rite.


**Drinks and an Italian main course will be provided. Pease bring a side dish or a dessert to the potluck dinner.** To RSVP or for more information, please email or call Bryan Gonzalez (812-686-6102).


September 5, 2013
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Last Sunday, Pope Francis called for an end to violence as a means to peace: "Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence." Then he invited the Church and the entire global community to join him in a day of fasting and prayer culminating in a vigil this Saturday, Sept. 7, for peace in Syria and around the world.


In conjunction with the Holy Father’s Saturday prayer vigil in St. Peter’s Square,

Des Moines Bishop Richard Pates invites all people to join him for night prayer this Saturday, Sept. 7, 7:30-8:30 p.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral and through a Novena for Peace that begins Saturday and concludes on Sunday, Sept. 15.


Bishop Pates will begin the evening with a brief update on the situations in Syria and Egypt, speaking in his role as chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. Then Bishop Pates will lead night prayer (also known as compline), the last liturgy of each day prayed by the Church. This is not a Mass but rather one of the liturgies from the Liturgy of the Hours. The prayer begins with an examination of conscience and asking God for forgiveness. It includes psalms, readings and reflections and ends with a hymn to Mary.


Also planned is an ecumenical Taizé prayer for peace on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral. This unique musical style is ideally suited to prayer and contemplation for peace as well as to unite with other Christians who share our belief in Jesus Christ. Singers and instrumentalists are welcome to join a 1:30 p.m. open rehearsal. Musicians RSVP by Sept. 12 to All are welcome to attend and pray for peace.


Bishop Pates, in his role as national committee chair for the U.S. bishops, has been urging our country’s leaders to take a peaceful approach to the conflict in Syria. One week ago, Bishop Pates wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry about peace in Syria. Two days ago, he joined Cardinal Timothy Dolan in urging Catholics to pray and fast for peace on Saturday. Yesterday, Bishop Pates and Cardinal Dolan sent a letter to President Obama about peace in Syria and today, Sept. 5, they sent a letter to every member of Congress urging a peaceful solution for ending violence in Syria. “Our focus is on the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Syria and on saving lives by ending the conflict, not fueling it,” they wrote. For more on today’s letter to Congress, go to


Go to for more information on these events and prayers for peace.


Prayer for Peace in Syria and Egypt

Novena (9 Days of Prayer) Sept. 7-15

Novena Prayer for Peace

God of Compassion,

Hear the cries of the people of Syria and Egypt,

bring healing to those suffering from the violence,

bring comfort to those mourning the dead,

strengthen Syria's and Egypt's neighbors in their care and welcome for refugees,

convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,

and protect those committed to peace.


God of Hope,

inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies,

inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria and Egypt,

and give us hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.


We ask this through Jesus Christ,

Prince of Peace and Light of the World. Amen.

Mary, Mother of Compassion and Queen of Peace, pray for us.

September 3, 2013
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

The following is a prayer for the people of Syria, provided by Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a collaborative effort of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services.


God of Compassion,

Hear the cries of the people of Syria,

Bring healing to those suffering from the violence,

Bring comfort to those mourning the dead,

Strengthen Syria's neighbors in their care and welcome for refugees,

Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,

And protect those committed to peace.


God of Hope,

Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies,

Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,

And give us hope fo ra future of peace built on justice for all.


We ask this through Jesus Christ,

Prince of Peace and Light of the World,




September 3, 2013
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Richard Pates, chair of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued a statement today encouraging Catholics to heed Pope Francis' call for Sept. 7 to be a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria.


They said: "As our nation's leaders contemplate military action, it is particularly appropriate and urgent that we in the United States embrace the Holy Father's call to pray and fast on September 7 for a peaceful end to the conflict in Syria and to violent conflicts everywhere. Pope Francis has exhorted the 'international community to make every effort to promtoe clear proposals for peace, .... a peace based on dialogue and negotation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.'"


You can read their entire statement here.

February 26, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The past two weeks since Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he would resign have been filled with excitement, gratitude for the pope's ministry, and no shortage of questions. We've been working on a papal transition web page with some of the info, and here are a few more thoughts:


  1. What will Benedict XVI be called after he resigns? His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope-emeritus (more info)

  2. What will he wear? He will retain the white cassock but will give up the shoes and ring. (more info)

  3. What about the pope's ring? It will be destroyed, according to tradition.  (more info)

  4. Where will he live? He will go to the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, for a couple of months. Then, he will retire to a monastery within the walls of the Vatican City. (more info)

  5. How will his resignation be marked? Some places will ring bells--this is not a toll of mourning but more like a festive peal or ringing in gratitude for the pope's ministry. Special Masses may also be offered for Pope Benedict XVI but should conclude before 8:00 p.m. Rome time (1:00 p.m. Central Standard Time) on Thursday, February 28. 

  6. How will the prayer of the Church change after he resigns? We will enter a period called the sede vacante ("vacant see") or the interregnum ("between reigns"). It will begin after 8:00 p.m. Rome time and last until the new pope accepts his election by the Cardinal electors. Regarding the prayers, check the USCCB resources (see pages 12 and following). Special Masses may again be offered (Bishop Pates will preside at the 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral on March 6, for the election of a pope.). If you're praying on your own or at home with a group, check out the prayers we have on our Papal Transition web page. In the Eucharistic Prayers, the clause for the pope is simply omitted until a new pope is elected. 

  7. What happens when a new pope is elected? Perhaps again the bells in the churches should ring! When he is elected, there is a process which he and the cardinals follow, wherein he accepts the election, announces his name, and then is introduced to the world. follows. Then, some days later, he will be installed in a liturgy in St. Peter's Square, where he will receive the pallium and the ring.  Click here to read Pope Benedict XVI's homily from that Mass on 24 April 2005. 

February 26, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Here is a note that is going out to priests and deacons of the Diocese today: 



Dear Reverend Fathers and Deacons of the Diocese of Des Moines,


After 1:00 p.m. Central Standard Time (8:00 p.m. Rome time), on Thursday, February 28, 2013, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI will no longer hold the office of Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, and the See of Peter will be vacant.


As you know, Bishop Pates has encouraged parishes to make use of the specific Mass formularies available during this time of transition. To that end, on Thursday, February 28, the 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of St. Ambrose will be offered “For the Pope,” (Masses for Various Needs and Occasions #2). The Eucharistic Prayer will be, as suggested by the USCCB materials, Eucharistic Prayer for Various Needs and Occasions #1: The Church on the Path of Unity. Following the Mass, the Cathedral bell will ring until after 1:00 p.m., in gratitude for the Petrine ministry of Pope Benedict XVI.


I invite you to consider uniting in that spirit for your morning and noon Masses (if they conclude by 1:00 p.m.). If you have bells, you might ring them in festive fashion around or immediately after 1:00 p.m. Catholic Churches around the world and closer to home will be doing this. Use the Mass “For a Pope,” complete with white vestments. The Lectionary readings remain those for the Lenten weekday.


After 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, the Church will enter a time of prayer for the Church and the electors, the sede vacante or interregnum (“vacant see” or “between reigns”). During this time, consult the USCCB guide to see how to adjust Eucharistic Prayers. Put simply, the petitions for the Holy Father are omitted, but the materials have conveniently outlined how this is to be done. The Mass formulary “For the Election of a Pope” may be of interest sometime during the sede vacante, when the liturgical calendar allows (Lenten weekdays). After the new pope is elected, if the liturgical calendar allows, another Mass “For the Pope” may be offered.


The Worship Office has a web page with some information on the papal transition that you might consider sharing, if you find it helpful. Visit for prayers and other information. I’ve written a blog post with some information on this intriguing time in the life of our Church. Visit The USCCB has put together a very informative question and answer sheet on the papal transition that you might find helpful.


Blessings to each of you and your parish communities this season of Lent. 


In peace, 

Kyle Lechtenberg

February 11, 2013
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Below is the statement (en español) Pope Benedict XVI gave to the cardinals yesterday, giving notice of his coming resignation:


Dear Brothers,


I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013


En español

Queridísimos hermanos,

Os he convocado a este Consistorio, no sólo para las tres causas de canonización, sino también para comunicaros una decisión de gran importancia para la vida de la Iglesia. Después de haber examinado ante Dios reiteradamente mi conciencia, he llegado a la certeza de que, por la edad avanzada, ya no tengo fuerzas para ejercer adecuadamente el ministerio petrino. Soy muy consciente de que este ministerio, por su naturaleza espiritual, debe ser llevado a cabo no únicamente con obras y palabras, sino también y en no menor grado sufriendo y rezando. Sin embargo, en el mundo de hoy, sujeto a rápidas transformaciones y sacudido por cuestiones de gran relieve para la vida de la fe, para gobernar la barca de san Pedro y anunciar el Evangelio, es necesario también el vigor tanto del cuerpo como del espíritu, vigor que, en los últimos meses, ha disminuido en mí de tal forma que he de reconocer mi incapacidad para ejercer bien el ministerio que me fue encomendado. Por esto, siendo muy consciente de la seriedad de este acto, con plena libertad, declaro que renuncio al ministerio de Obispo de Roma, Sucesor de San Pedro, que me fue confiado por medio de los Cardenales el 19 de abril de 2005, de forma que, desde el 28 de febrero de 2013, a las 20.00 horas, la sede de Roma, la sede de San Pedro, quedará vacante y deberá ser convocado, por medio de quien tiene competencias, el cónclave para la elección del nuevo Sumo Pontífice.

Queridísimos hermanos, os doy las gracias de corazón por todo el amor y el trabajo con que habéis llevado junto a mí el peso de mi ministerio, y pido perdón por todos mis defectos. Ahora, confiamos la Iglesia al cuidado de su Sumo Pastor, Nuestro Señor Jesucristo, y suplicamos a María, su Santa Madre, que asista con su materna bondad a los Padres Cardenales al elegir el nuevo Sumo Pontífice. Por lo que a mi respecta, también en el futuro, quisiera servir de todo corazón a la Santa Iglesia de Dios con una vida dedicada a la plegaria.

Vaticano, 10 de febrero 2013.


July 24, 2012
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Prayers for farms and farmers are a part of life here in Iowa. This year, with conditions now at the worst in nearly 25 years, those prayers are more persistent. NOAA recently declared that conditions around the nation are at their worst since 1956. We've received a few requests for prayers in time of drought, and here is one option that pastors and parishioners may find helpful. This was composed by the Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. 



Blessing of the Parched Earth


Blessed are you, O God, king of the universe.
You made the whole earth for your glory
and nurture it with sun and rain and the passing seasons.
We lift our voices in praise and sing with all creation to give you glory. 


Bless + now our parched earth.
Open your heavens wide
and send forth the rains that nurture the earth,
the fields and their crops,
your people and all your creatures.
Make the earth to break forth in abundance,
so that the harvest from your hand may enrich our lives,
and all people see the greatness of God.


Bless also those who are in any distress from this hot dry season:
the elderly, the poor, the homeless,
the industries and people who depend upon the land.
Save us all by your gracious hand.

Heal us and bind us up in faith.

To you be honor and glory and praise,
with the Son and Holy Spirit, now and in all ages to come.

All respond:  Amen


June 8, 2012
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

 Check out this new blog, supported by the USCCB, taking a "Fifty Years Ago Today" approach to recalling Vatican II. 




June 8, 2012
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

As we head into the celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ this weekend, take three minutes to remember our call and our mission. 

April 25, 2012
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

We've made a couple of small changes to the Worship Office web pages that we hope will be helpful to people around the diocese. 

  • Seasonal Banner: Click on the words of the current liturgical season (currently the Easter Season)  to visit the St. Louis Center for Liturgy's excellent site focused on preparing individuals and families for the upcoming Sunday liturgy. Updated weekly.
  • Seasonal Image: Click on the image just below the banner to visit the USCCB's daily Mass reading page. The link always takes you to the current day's readings. The image is updated seasonally.
  • The Year of Grace: Updated annually, this handy reference lists key Sunday, holy day, and solemnity information, as well as special diocesan events. 

While you're there, browse our other pages, and send a note if you have ideas for our website. 


April 5, 2012
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The Des Moines Area Religious Council is delighted to announce the second lecture in the David Bear Memorial Interfaith Lecture Series.  This year’s event will be held on May 2, 2012, 7:00 p.m., in Waveland Hall at Plymouth Congregational Church, 4126 Ingersoll Ave. in Des Moines.  Speaking on “The Role of Music in Worship” and leading us in song will be Kyle Lechtenberg, Director, Office of Worship, Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines and Linda Shivers, Cantor, Tifereth Israel Synagogue.  


This series of lectures is made possible by a legacy left by David Bear, a prominent Des Moines engineer and businessman for more than 50 years. Bear was passionate about serving the community.  A member and leader at Tifereth Israel Synagogue, he was a pioneer in breaking down barriers among people of all faiths.  In addition to his many other professional and community affiliations, he served as President of the Des Moines Area Religious Council in 1992 and was President of the DMARC Foundation in 1989 and 1990.  He continued to serve as a board member of the Foundation until his death in the spring of 2010.  In his honor, the Bear family has established the David Bear Memorial Interfaith Lecture Series.   The lecture is open to the public and there is no cost to attend. Please visit the DMARC website: or call (515) 277-6969 for more information.

April 4, 2012
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Americans of all faiths and those who claim no faith recall Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, assasination, which occurred April 4, 1968.

As western Christians observe the sacred mysteries of faith, named differently as Holy Week, the Great Three Days, the Triduum, Easter; as Eastern Christians prepare to celebrate the same feasts next weekend; as people of the Jewish faith observe Passover, this voice from the Muslim American community is a powerful witness to the need to pull together. 

The author, Altaf Husain, quotes King:  

“We have inherited a large house, a great world house in which we have to live together — black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Muslim and Hindu — a family unduly separated in ideas, culture and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.”

January 21, 2012
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

 See the press release below; worship aid for the service here

For Immediate Release


Date:      January 20, 2012        

ContactAnne Marie Cox (515) 237-5057




Join ecumenical prayer service Sunday


In commemoration the 104th Annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and in conjunction with a unique photography exhibit by Jim Zeller: "Christ is Among Us: The Churches of Des Moines," you are invited to join Bishop Richard Pates and other Christian leaders in common prayer.

The religious leaders who have indicated they will join Bishop Pates in leading the service are, in alphabetical order: Father Basil Hickman of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George; the Reverend Jean McCarthy, Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa; the Reverend Chris Olkiewicz of Windsor Heights Lutheran Church, the Reverend Sarai Rice of the Des Moines Area Religious Council; the Reverend David  Sickella of the Urbandale United Church of Christ; and the Reverend Tom Webster of Wakonda Christian Church.

The service will be held this Sunday, January 22, at 4 p.m. at the Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave., Des Moines. Mr. Zeller's exhibit opening celebration at the Pastoral Center will be the same day, from 2-6 p.m, and the exhibit will be open for viewing Mondays-Fridays from January 18-February 8, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Organizers have worked with the Des Moines Area Religious Council to select the order of service developed jointly by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. 

More information about this service can be found at this web address:


The Diocese of Des Moines includes 81 parishes in 23 counties in central and southwest Iowa.

Anne Marie Cox

Office of Communications

Diocese of Des Moines



June 16, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced that, contingent upon the approval of the diocesan bishop, new musical settings of the Roman Missal may be introduced this fall. 


More to follow from the USCCB tomorrow--stay tuned here--and in the near future from your diocesan Bishop and Worship Commission.


Just when you think you have a plan...





May 3, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

In the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden, the Vatican released a poignant written statement, which was delivered by Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, a spokesman: 


Osama bin Laden, as we all know, bore the most serious responsibility for spreading divisions and hatred among populations, causing the deaths of innumerable people, and manipulating religions to this end.

In the face of a man's death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred.



Here's a suggested Prayer of the Faithful for this weekend, which was composed based on the above statement and the statement issued by the Muslim Public Affairs Council:


For an end to war and violence of all kinds, that nations and peoples who are fighting might lay down their weapons and take up the path to peace, keeping sacred the gift of all human life. Let us pray to the Lord: 


April 18, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Sometimes you don't realize the gifts you have in your own backyard.


Last week the Diocese celebrated the Chrism Mass. One woman was attending, along with a friend who had brought her 10- or 11-year old son. The woman was from Council Bluffs and had never been to the Cathedral before. She was going to be helping with the liturgy and I had a few notes to run through with her in the few minutes before the liturgy. Upon coming to the Cathedral, the three went to the chapel, which has the altar, ambo, and presider's chair that were used for the 1979 visit of John Paul II to Irish Settlement and Living History Farms


I walked through that chapel scores of times that morning and afternoon in preparation for the Mass. These three, seeing the papal visit furninshings for the first time, knelt on the floor and made their way on their knees to the altar that Pope John Paul II had used. I left them in privacy for this moment, and when I returned the woman asked if that was the altar the pope had used. I said that it was, and that the chair is one that the pope sat in, and that the ambo was also used. She was moved nearly to tears, and I had a shudder of goosebumps as I realized the many people John Paul II affected and how we in the heartland of the United States were blessed to be able to welcome the pope to Iowa for a few hours 31-years ago. Each weekday you can come to the 12:10 pm Mass at the Cathedral. Most days, except during Lent when the crowds are larger, Mass is celebrated in the chapel, using those furnishings. 


On May 1, 2011, the Second Sunday in Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, Servant of God Pope John Paul II will be beatified. The Vatican will publish more information here, including for you liturgio-philes, a worship aid.  Attending the beatification? Let us know! We'd love to hear about your experience!

March 25, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Regarding today's Lenten break-fast, a reader suggests that the Marian focus of the Annunciation should be all the more encouragement for fasting and abstinence, ending with: 


Just how worldly and soft are Catholics anyway?


I think if we look at today's Gospel reading, which is the story of Mary's "Yes" to God's invitation to be the mother of the Christ child, we'll see that the Church invites us to set aside penance, and, like Mary, to rejoice.


That a solemnity like the Annunciation of the Lord should take precedence over a Lenten Friday of penance doesn't have to mean the Church has gone worldly in a negative way. In fact, it seems to me that is what the feast celebrates: that God's eternal Word came to the world--to redeem it and us.  Our scriptures from Palm Sunday remind us what Christ's incarnation means for the world.

Incidentally, a few years ago, March 25 was Good Friday and the Annunciation was transferred to a day in the Easter season. The Church prescribes times of penance when appropriate, and times of celebration when appropriate. And, just a reminder that no one is saying you must give up your Lenten fast!


Read the Whispers post from yesterday for a little more info and, as usual, some colorful commentary on the feast day.

March 23, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg


Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

Yesterday the Worship Office received a question about abstinence from meat on Friday, 25 March 2011.  Bishop Pates would like to remind everyone that Friday March 25th is the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. This day is celebrated as a solemnity, and thus, in accordance with canon 1251 the requirement to observe the penitential practice of abstinence from meat is abrogated (waived) on that day. 
Canon 1251 reads: Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
This is a day meant for celebration of Mary’s “Yes!” and of Christ’s incarnation rather than fasting. We hope you all enjoy this special feast.


March 23, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

As the people of our diocese and others around the world respond with generosity to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Osaka Archbishop Leo Jun Ikenaga, SJ, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Japan, asked that we join in prayer.  Here is the prayer he shared just yesterday.


Merciful God, you never depart from us even in the worst of times; be with us in both our joy and in our sadness. Grant your aid and encouragement to those who suffer in the face of this great calamity. We, too, continue to offer you our prayers and sacrifices for their sake. Bring us with all possible haste to the day when all can live in safety. May all those who have lost their lives in the devastation find peaceful repose in your presence. Mother Mary, pray for us.

Through Christ our Lord, Amen.


This weekend, most parishes of the diocese will be taking up a second collection for the people who suffer from this tragedy. The money collected will be forwarded through Catholic Charities to Catholic Relief Services. CRS will then make sure it is given to assist the people of Japan.


Thanks to Rocco at Whispers for sharing this prayer.

March 16, 2011
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

A big thank you to the folks at St. Theresa Parish. They called Des Moines metro area parishes and compiled a list of communal penance services going on in the next few weeks. Here is the list:


2011 Communal Penance Schedule for Des Moines Area Parishes
  • March 28     St Joseph, Des Moines                                 7 p.m.
  • March 31     Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, Ankeny           7 p.m.
  • March 31     St. Francis of Assisi, West Des Moines         7 p.m.
  • March 31     Ss. John & Paul, Altoona                              7 p.m.
  • March 27     All Saints, Des Moines                                 2 p.m.
  • April 11         St Pius X, Urbandale                                    7 p.m.
  • April 3         St. Mary/Holy Cross, Elkhart                        2 p.m.
  • April 11       St Theresa, Des Moines                               7 p.m.
  • April 12       Sacred Heart, West Des Moines                   6:30 p.m.
  • April 16       St Anthony, Des Moines                              10 a.m.

March 10, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Throughout the ages, and especially since the Renaissance, composers have found the texts of the Mass to be ripe for creativity.  During the month of April, choral groups in the Des Moines area will be performing musical settings of the Mass texts in three very different styles.  Celebrate the Diocese of Des Moines' Centennial year and prepare for the new Roman Missal by attending one or more of these fantastic opportunities to hear the Mass--in concert!

Heaven and Earth: A Celtic Mass

Saturday, 2 April 2011 at 7:30 pm (First Christian Church, Des Moines)

How are the Mass texts actually experienced by individuals, families, and nations, in times of joy or strife? Des Moines composer Ben Allaway has set the texts of the Mass side-by-side with musical and narrative human experieneces. A 200-voice Celtic Mass Choir will be conducted by the composer, Ben Allaway, anchored by the Omaha Symphonic Chorus and the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble, with the choirs of First Christian Church, St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, and Opus24 of Decatur, IL.

Tickets: Adult $15 in advance, $17 at the door, Student $10 at or, or call Frist Christian Church at 515.255.2181.

Haydn's Nelson Mass

Sat., 9 April 2011 at 8 pm; Sun., 10 April 2011 at 3 pm (Cathedral of St. Ambrose, Des Moines)

Composed in 1798 for liturgical use, the Nelson Mass was commissioned by F.J. Haydn's employer to celebrate the name day of Princess Esterhazy, the wife of Prince Nicholas II, who was Haydn's employer. Drake University's Nelson Mass performance will involve approximately 240 singers as well as 60 instrumentalists, and will be conducted by Dr. Aimee Beckmann-Collier, director of Choral Studies at Drake University, and conductor of diocesan liturgies for over 25 years.


Tickets will be available beginning March 21 at the Drake Fine Arts Box Office, 515.271.3841. $5 for students and $10 for non-students. No tickets will be sold at the door.


Brahms' A German Requiem

Sat., 30 April 2011 at 7:30 pm (Cathedral of St. Ambrose, Des Moines)

Using the traditional Requiem Mass form as inspiration, the musical master Johannes Brahms crafted  Ein Deutsches Requiem as both a tribute to those who died and a consolation to the living who mourn their loss.  Brahms' Requiem is comprised of Scriptural and poetic texts focusing on life and death. The Des Moines Choral Society returns to the Cathedral for the second time this Centennial year, under the direction of Dr. James Rodde, Director of Choral Activities at Iowa State University.


Tickets: $20 for preferred seating, $15 for regular seating and $7 for student/child seating. Tickets can be obtained through


February 17, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The digital age certainly is helping the preparation process for the new Missal to be more streamlined.  There is a wealth of information on the new texts, information that would have been impossible to disseminate so quickly even ten years ago.


The new texts of the Roman Missal for the seasons of Advent and Christmas are posted for the convenience of priests who will be preparing the prayers and for anyone curious about the forthcoming new edition. 


Recall that the texts for the Order of Mass are posted as well.  The Order of Mass includes those texts which are are mostly fixed from week to week. This would include the Greeting and Sign of the Cross, the Penitential Act, the Glory to God, Creed, Eucharistic Prayers, and the Communion and Concluding Rites. There are two formats: a standard format and an annotated format, which includes scriptural references. 


Or, if you wish, there are versions with only the people's parts and the priests' parts which highlight with the differences in translation.




February 16, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Join Fr. Michael Joncas and Fr. Paul Turner during the Diocese of Des Moines' Easter Octave Formation Days, which will be from 27-30 April 2011.  Nine separate events in locations around the diocese will give parishioners and parish leadership many opportunities prepare for the forthcoming edition of the Roman Missal. 


Click here for info on each event and links to registration, or contact Kyle Lechtenberg in the diocesan Office for Worship at 515.237.5046. 

February 9, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Updated March 3, 2011

Below is the current information on available editions of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal.  The Missal may be preordered from publishers at this time or shortly, with delivery set by the USCCB for October 1, 2011.


USCCB Publishing

Altar: $169  Chapel: $115


Resources from the USCCB on preparing and implementing the new edition


Catholic Book Publishing Corporation

Deluxe: $159  Altar: $129  Chapel: $89


Liturgical Press

Ritual: $169.95  Chapel: $119.95

Liturgy Training Publications
Deluxe: $500  Church: $175  Chapel: $95

Information will be posted when available.

Midwest Theological Forum

Study Text (excerpts only): $15 Regal: $500  Classic: $350

World Library Publications

Deluxe (9" x 12"): $395  Value (9" x 12"): $195

February 9, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

One of the words in the new edition of the Missal that's getting a lot of attention is "dewfall", which appears in the new translation of Eucharistic Prayer II.   Fr. Paul Turner, a priest of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, recently spoke, about this word and Eucharistic Prayer II in general, at the Southwest Liturgical Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Fr. Turner, along with Fr. Michael Joncas of the University of St. Thomas, will be in the diocese to present to priests, parish leaders, and parishioners during our Easter Octave Formation Days, from April 27-30, 2011, at various locations in the diocese.

January 14, 2011
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Last night's prayer service for Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds, their families, and the people of Iowa, at the start of a new term of office was attended by almost 500 people. Representatives of nine judicatories, denominations, or churches were present to pray for the State of Iowa. 

Click here to see the worship aid (scroll to "News and Information") or read about it in The Des Moines Register.

Photo credit: Jim Bowen, used with permission, copyright 2009.

November 26, 2010
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Bishop Richard Pates invites you to join him tomorrow, Saturday, in honoring all those who await the opportunity to be born. Bishop Pates will celebrate the regularly scheduled 4 p.m. Mass tomorrow, Nov. 27, at St. Ambrose Cathedral. Immediately following Mass, there will be a special evening prayer service with benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Join our bishop as we pray in union with Pope Benedict XVI, who has called for prayer for all those in the process of being born.

November 11, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The pope consecrated a huge basilica in Barcelona--Sagrada Familia--and his homily speaks of the relationship of beauty to our worship of God through the arts.


You can watch the whole dedication liturgy here in three parts:





Inspiring words and liturgy for an awe-inspiring space!

November 9, 2010
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Pope Benedict XVI has invited Catholics worldwide to join him in praying for all those in the process of being born on Saturday, Nov. 27. The day the Holy Father has selected falls on the eve of First Sunday of Advent, when Christians begin their spiritual preparation for the birth of the Christ Child celebrated on Christmas Day. Locally, Bishop Richard Pates invites the public to join him in a Mass and evening prayer service at St. Ambrose Cathedral on Nov. 27 beginning with the regularly scheduled 4 p.m. Mass. Immediately following, there will be a special evening prayer service at the cathedral with benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Bishop Pates encourages the 82 parishes in the Diocese of Des Moines to also observe the Holy Father’s vigil on Nov. 27, which honors the children who are coming into existence. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has prepared resources in both English and Spanish for parishes. The resources can be found at

"As we begin to celebrate the wait for the birth of Jesus through the annual Advent season, let us remember all children who are developing, growing and preparing for birth in the womb of their mothers," said Bishop Richard Pates. "As Catholics worldwide join their prayer in unison, may it become the strength and protection for some of the most vulnerable among us."

November 8, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Here's something to start your Monday.  I enjoyed watching the Pope's expression during this--he shows no small joy during the incensing of the church Santiago de Compostella, Spain.


October 28, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced three major ecumenical (inter-Christian) documents.  Together we join Christ in prayer "that all may be one" (John 17:21). 


1. A Vision of Unity: Roman Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue (7 October 2010)

2. On Death and Eternal Life: Roman Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue (26 October 2010)

3. On Baptism and Eucharist: Roman Catholic-Reformed Dialogue (27 October 2010)


We're approaching the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation--in 2017.  Though Christians have a long way to go, these three statements are signs of hope, now and for the future. 

October 18, 2010
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

More than 800 individuals have taken advantage of a massive formation process launched by the Diocese of Des Moines to help people understand more about the liturgy, what changes are coming with the revisions to the Roman Missal and why they were made. The next opportunity for such a workshop is Wednesday, Oct. 27 at St. Mary Parish, 1510 Highland Ave. in Red Oak. The workshop runs from 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. and supper is provided. For more information, call 515-237-5046 or go online to register.

October 7, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

You may have heard that there's a strong encouragement with the new Missal for priests and the assembly to chant many of their dialogues and prayers.  Today, the National Pastoral Musicians Association announced that the new chants are available in MP3 and PDF formats on their website.  Visit the web address below to access the chants, which are free to download to your computer or MP3 player. Happy chanting! 

September 23, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The Omaha World-Herald ran a story today about the new Roman Missal and how it will affect Catholics in the area.  You can read the article by clicking here


The next workshop for the new Missal will be held in Red Oak on October 27.  All are invited!


Watch your parish bulletins in the future for information on the new Missal, or find out yourself at or at 

September 13, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Confirmation Liturgy Schedule and Planning
The 2010-2011 schedule of Confirmation liturgies, as well as liturgy planning guidelines, are posted on the "Resources for Parishes and Schools" page.

September 10, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Pastors and parishioners are reminded that permission must be sought in writing before beginning any project that involves changes to or construction of the worship space. Please contact Kyle Lechtenberg at 515.237.5046 or at

September 7, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Between now and mid-summer 2011, parish music ministers are invited to focus on introducing any new hymns and songs they wish to introduce. No new Mass settings should be taught at this time, until we are given permission to begin learning the new settings. Next year, starting mid-summer 2011 and continuing through the beginning of 2012, music in the parishes should shift almost entirely to focusing on learning new Mass settings.  The hymns and songs of our parish repertoires will be anchors of familiarity in the midst of the new texts and Mass settings.
Also, because our current Memorial Acclamation “A” (Christ has died), will not be included in the new Missal, parishes which are familiar with settings of options B, C, and D might now shift to using those. This will help Memorial Acclamation A (current) fade more gradually from use as a memorial acclamation. 
One final point--don't forget that new music resources will need to be purchased.  Parishes with hard-bound hymnals will likely be able to purchase supplements for a time, but publishers may not keep printing them.  And it could be tricky having what will be the old music in books each week.

September 3, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Click here to registerfor workshops in Des Moines (I), Des Moines (II), Council Bluffs, Red Oak, Atlantic
It is highly encouraged that all begin to familiarize themselves with the new texts, keeping in mind that they are still prohibited from liturgical use until late 2011. 
This is also a time for pastoral sensitivity and openness to the opportunity for deepened liturgical renewal and experience, as well as the new texts.
The USCCB has made available a number of helpful articles, which are available on the website

August 20, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

At last...
The US Bishops have announced that Rome has sent the final copy of the text of the Roman Missal in its English translation.  Note the following main points:
  1. November 27, 2011, the First Sunday in Advent, will be the date of first use of the Third Edition.  After that time, no other edition of the Roman Missal may be used.  Likewise, the Third Edition may not be used prior to that date.
  2. Regarding the text itself, some changes have been made to the text which was originally approved by the US Bishops in 2008, specifically the absolution at the end of the Penitential Act (maintains current translation in use), the Nicene Creed (reiterates the phrase "I believe" at various points), and slight modifications to the texts of the Eucharistic Prayers and Doxology.  The memorial acclamation A, "Christ has died..." was not approved and does not appear in the final text.
  3. The next step is to continue our diocese's education of priests, deacons, liturgical ministers, and all in charge of faith formation, as well as to begin to prepare our assemblies in general.  The USCCB has provided a series of bulletin articles. Over the next several weeks, more information will be added to that site.
  4. Additional Resources: See the diocese's general plan for formation of the Missal, on the Office for Worship's main page.  Check out for an excellent, international effort at multimedia formation.  Also, LTP's series by Paul Turner is informative and accessible to most parishioners.  Make sure that when you order, it has been updated with the final text, released on 20 August 2010.
  5. Composers and publishers have previews of new and revised Mass settings available for perusal.  Note that these are not to be used in liturgical celebrations until November 27, 2011. Visit these publishers for sample settings:
    Oregon Catholic Press
    World Library Publications

    The Commission for Worship has had a discussion centering on what might be the best way to approach singing the new texts, and consensus of the group recommends that parishes look for new settings rather than to update the current ones.  Music is a phenomenal mnemonic device, and these new texts may be similar enough to the current ones that modifying old music may prove to be more difficult.  That being said, many of the revised settings are done quite successfully, and might be useful for your parish community.  The Office for Worship will convene a committee of music ministers to select several recommended diocesan settings, to assist in the preparation of people to sing these texts.
  6. When ordering other resources, such as pamphlets, brochures, etc, please make sure to ask if they include the final text with the final adaptations released on 20 August 2010.
  7. Mark your calendar now for Wednesday, 27 April to Saturday, 30 April 2011, for a series of formation opportunities by Fr. Michael Joncas and Fr. Paul Turner.  As part of these days, Frs. Joncas and Turner will lead priests, deacons, parish staff members, and others who might be helping the parish to launch the text in a pastoral study day--Thursday, 28 April 2011, in Atlantic.
  8. As always, ask for help with the new Missal or any project related to worship in our parishes!  The Office for Worship is always ready to help.


June 10, 2010
Written By: Anne Marie Cox

Dr. Aimee Beckmann-Collier, who has offered her music talent to assist the diocese countless times over the years, has been awarded the 2010 Distinguished Alumna Award from the Alumnae Association of St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Ind., her alma mater.


The Distinguished Alumna Award honors a woman who exemplifies the standards, ideals, and mission of the college and who has given outstanding service through ongoing work for the Alumnae Association. The award is the association's highest recognition. Beckmann-Collier, class of 1975, was recognized for her unfailing devotion to the college and her extraordinary professional leadership in the field of music.

Beckmann-Collier has demonstrated unwavering devotion to the college, its boards, and committees. She has selflessly volunteered her time assisting the college’s Office of Admission for more than a decade by hosting its events, serving at college fairs, contacting prospective students, and as an alumnae representative on Saint Mary’s panels. President of the Saint Mary’s Des Moines Alumnae Club for a dozen years, Beckmann-Collier frequently steps forward to host club events and generously extends a warm invitation to alumnae who are new to the Des Moines area.  Beckmann-Collier served on the Alumnae Association Board of Directors between 1986 and 1992. She has served a number of times on the Class of 1975 Reunion Gift Campaign Committee. This year, she is serving as the Committee’s Chair.

Beckmann-Collier, who received a bachelor’s degree in music from Saint Mary’s College and master’s and doctoral degrees in choral conducting from the University of Iowa, is equally celebrated in the field of music. She is the Director of Choral Studies and Professor of Conducting at Drake University where she has taught since 1989. She also serves as chair of the Iowa Comprehensive Musicianship Project, a mastery-teaching program for music educators.  Beckmann-Collier additionally serves in a leadership role for the American Choral Director’s Association, the country’s elite organization for choral specialists, for which she is president of its North Central Division.


She has assisted the Diocese of Des Moines with music countless times, most recently with the ordination of Father Zachary Kautzky on June 4.

“In the 35 years since her graduation, at which she was valedictorian for the Class of 1975, Aimee has unfailingly used her time, talent, and treasure to enrich the lives of Saint Mary’s women as well as the lives of the young women and men under her tutelage,” said Debbie Johnson Schwiebert ’74 in her nomination of Beckmann-Collier. “Be it her academic accomplishments, as reflected by her summa cum laude achievement, or her love and dedication to music, Aimee quietly and effectively makes a difference in the lives of the people she touches.”

Beckmann-Collier received the award at the Reunion Banquet on Saturday, June 5 as part of Reunion Weekend, June 3-6.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary's College ranks among the nation's top 100 liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report's 2010 annual survey. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

June 10, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Check out the schedule of events for the Loras College Liturgical Music Workshop


It looks like a great line-up!  I do know that Fr. Michael Joncas and the three major publishers will be bringing some as-yet unpublished works to read through.  Come for a sneak peek at new and revised Mass settings, and get a jump on your parish's musical preparations for the new Missal!



May 27, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles received their coadjutor archbishop yesterday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (fun fact--the organ was built by Dobson in Lake City, Iowa). 


Rocco at Whispers had great things to say about the Mass--no doubt he'll have more to add.


Check out the video of the Mass, or the worship aid


A couple of things strike me about this liturgy--the multicultural music that reflects the diversity of the people Archdiocese, and the inviting way in which people are encouraged to sing and learn the new music for this liturgy.  Those planning the liturgy clearly felt it to be time well-spent to ensure that people are prepared to sing the liturgy comfortably and confidently!


Also, taking some time to look at the worship space and consider its theological foundation can be an exercise in prayer--as it can be in each of our own parish churches. 


(Follow links at the Cathedral's website to learn about the organ, art, and architecture of the space).

May 21, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Check out this helpful resource from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide, Austrailia--online daily Mass petitions.  They're specific to the lectionary and Mass for the day.  Some of the texts may be specfic to the Church in Southeastern Austrailia and would need to be modified for use in our local parishes.


The site could be especially helpful for lay leaders of prayer who are called upon to lead communion services from time to time. 

May 21, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Check out this helpful resource from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide, Austrailia--online daily Mass petitions.  They're specific to the lectionary and Mass for the day.  Some of the texts may be specfic to the Church in Southeastern Austrailia and would need to be modified for use in our local parishes.


The site could be especially helpful for lay leaders of prayer who are called upon to lead communion services from time to time. 

May 19, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Here's a Roman Missal/Music Ministry Workshop -- and a cost-saving opportunity! -- that will be held at Loras College in Dubuque from July 6-8. Please see the attached flyers and info below.


Fr. J. Michael Joncas will be the keynote speaker. Musicians, music and liturgy coordinators, as well as priests and deacons, will find this practical and informative as we move into the catechesis for the new Roman Missal. I’m familiar with most of the presenters—it’s a promising line-up!


There are three opportunities for reducing the cost of attendance at this workshop.


1) The Worship Office will pay the registration fee for up to eight participants. Housing and meals will be on your own. The seven participants will be selected as follows:

a. one from each of the six regions of the diocese, first-come, first-served, from each region;

b. two from the Diocesan Commission for Worship, which will be convening in the summer of 2010.

To be eligible, please indicate interest by June 1. We’ll keep names of those who are interested. In case we are not able to find one from each region, spots will be filled at-large.


2) Loras College is offering a reduced registration fee of $75 for the workshop to anyone who registers through the Des Moines Office for Worship. That’s a savings of $50 off the individual rate. Housing and meals will be on your own.


3) Parishes and clusters of parishes gather their own group according to Loras’ incentive, noted on the flyer. If your parish has a group of more than eight attending, the rate per person will be lower than registering through the Office for Worship (according to #2).


Also, for RCIA: Don’t forget about the two upcoming North American Forum on the Catechumenate Workshops:

1) Children and Initiation in Altoona on August 6-7 (correct dates; dates on brochure are incorrect)

2) Concerning the Baptized in Cedar Rapids on June 9-10.


Many thanks for your efforts to help others enter more fully into the mysteries we celebrate in our liturgical prayer.




May 18, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

As we near the end of our fifty-day celebration of Pentecost, here are two suggestions for how to incorporate that mysterious Pentecost Sequence into your celebrations.


First, it's helpful to know that sequences were much more prolific than they are today.  Many sequence texts preceded the Gospel reading prior to the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.  Sequences may have originated when processions before the reading of the Gospel grew longer and more elaborate.  Musicians then accompanied those liturgical actions with music, and the music was eventually given texts, which were eventually "officialized" in the Roman liturgy.  After the reforms of Vatican II, three of these sequences remain as required texts for Sunday liturgies: Easter, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi. 


Two tips on celebrating the sequence--if not this year, then maybe this gives you some food for thought for next year's Pentecost celebration!


1.  After the second reading, sing the setting to "Hymn to Joy" (found in Breaking Bread, "Come, O Holy Spirit").  People may remain seated.  Sing the verses together, then at the end, go immediately to the Gospel Acclamation Using an acclamation in the same key like Celic Alleluia makes for a seamless transition and helps to restore the Sequence's connection with the Gospel reading and procession. 


You could also consider having the people stand and sing it while doing a more extended gospel procession with incense--process the book of the Gospel through the assembly, and then end it with the alleluia and its verse as the procession reaches the Ambo.


2. After the second reading, sing "Veni Sancte Spiritus" from the Taize community, and use the Celtic Alleuia in A Major, or Alleluia 3 from the Taize Community.  You can use it in a similar way as the first option though the congregation sings "Veni, Sancte Spiritus" repeatedly while the cantor sings the verses of the sequence.


Either of these suggestions are meant to help you stimulate your creativity in a thrice-occuring "soft-spot" in the yearly cycle.  Feel free to contact me for more information.  How will you express our common desire that the Holy Spirit will come anew upon us in our parish communities and in this world?

May 3, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Here's the USCCB Press Release regarding the new translation. There is still time for priests to register for the workshops Msgr. Sherman mentions.  These workshops are the first phase in our diocesan plan for catechesis for the new Missal. 


Everyone can begin studying more closely the texts that have already been made available at However, the great opportunity here is to delve deeper into the mysteries of our faith as they are celebrated in liturgy.  Regional formation workshops are planned for all school and religious education faculty and catechists.  Plans are also in the works for additional formation for parish leaders, priests, and everyone in the pews.  Stay tuned!

April 29, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The Holy See has granted the recognitio, or approval, of two significant liturgical texts in recent days--or hours, really, in the case of the latter: 


1. The new translation of the Grail Psalter, which will become the official translation of the Psalms for liturgical use, was approved by the Holy See on April 13. 

2.  News that the new translation of the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal was approved by the Holy See was released this morning. See the blog post at Whispers in the Loggia today for the most complete information available. A previous post gives some background information. 


The next step in the process for both texts is for the USCCB to release information on when the texts will be used.  More information here at this blog and, as always, at Whispers in the Loggia!


Watch here and at the diocesan website for details on our diocesan plan for liturgical formation regarding the new missal. 

March 18, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

It's been a while since my last post, but such is the life in liturgy the weeks before Chrism Mass and Holy Week!  I hope everyone's preparation for Holy Week is going well. 


Today a question came up that might be beneficial for many--are the scriptures for funeral liturgies available online?  A quick Google search revealed that yes, they are!  This could be very helpful in working with families who are out of the local area and perhaps unable to come to a planning meeting until much closer to the


Visit the Dominican Central Province's page that lists the readings.  It links to the USCCB's New American Bible pages, so you might have to scroll down to find exact verses. 


The preaching pages look helpful as well and include links to some pages in Spanish

February 19, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

The renowned liturgical composer, Richard Proulx, died last night.  He was composer of new and arranger  of traditional music for the Church, and was actively involved in composing for the new texts.  His musical skill and liturgical sense will be missed as the English-speaking Church moves into this new phase.


Visit the PrayTell blog for biographical info, as well as a fitting tribute.

February 18, 2010
Written By: Kyle Lechtenberg

Welcome to Lent 2010!  There are some great online resources out there, which I'll highlight during this first part of the season. 


First up--did you know that you can get the daily Mass readings on your MP3 player? Visit the USCCB website for information on subscribing for daily podcasts of the readings and a reflection on those texts.


Blessings to you as we begin this holy season together!