The Catholic Mirror, our diocesan newspaper, is undertaking a readership survey to better serve you. With the help of the Catholic Communication Campaign and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, consultant Helen Osman has visited the diocese and talked with 31 people through a series of focus groups. Now, we come to you asking for your input on what you think is important about our diocesan newspaper and your thoughts on how we can improve. You can get the survey on page 5 of this month's edition, or you can click here and complete the survey online.
We appreciate you taking a few minutes out of your day to help us serve you in the best way possible!
The Des Moines diocese now has an official and confidential hotline for Project Rachel, a national, diocesan-based Catholic ministry providing post-abortion help. The number to call is 515-393-5230 or email projectrachel@catholiccharitiesdm. Up to five free counseling sessions with a licensed therapist at the diocese is provided. When you call Project Rachel, you'll be connected with Kelsey Tyrrell, Catholic Charities pregnancy and adoption advocate. Kelsey acts as a bridge to connect those who call with the appropriate next step, be it a counselor, a priest, a support group or Rachel's Vineyard, which provides post-abortion retreats.
We would like to share with you the following invitation from the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa.
Invitation to Des Moines Metro Community to gather in prayer for Orlando
The Cathedral Church of St. Paul is holding an open Prayer Vigil for Orlando Tuesday, June 14 at 6:00 p.m., at 815 High Street, Des Moines. Each and all in the community are invited, every person, regardless of religious background. The Episcopal Church is a safe place, welcoming to all people, all faith traditions, and those in the LGBTQ community. The service will be one of prayer for those whose lives were cut short, for those injured, and for those affected by the June 12 shooting in Orlando, FL in which 50 people died and 53 were injured.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Iowa will lead us in our prayerful and peaceful response to this tragedy. Bishop Alan Scarfe echoes Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry inviting us to “Pray for the repose of the souls who have died.”
"We're especially joining with those who have lost family members or are injured, and sensitive to the sense of shock being felt by the LGBTQ community," adds Troy Beecham, Cathedral Dean, “Please come to offer prayers, show solidarity, and witness to the power of love over fear and death.” All are welcome.
Questions: Dean Troy Beecham, Cathedral Church of St. Paul-Episcopal (815 High Street, downtown Des Moines) 515-288-7297 or Office of the Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Iowa, 515-277-6170. #PrayforOrlando
Four seminarians, 500 miles and a few stories to tell. Check out the blog for our four seminarians -- Alex, Ben, Reed and Nick -- who are walking the Camino de Santiago this month. Their pilgrimage is more than just a hike; it's a spiritual journey. In their latest post, Alex talks about finding God in nature, in the churches they've visited and in the people they've met.
Thank you for all the likes and shares and on these video blogs! Today we hear from Alex Alex Kramer who's my fellow grade school companion and seminarian of the Diocese of Des Moines. He talks about the difficulties in pilgrimages, while still keeping his classic Kramer smile. Send us prayer petitions at email@example.com
Four of our seminarians -- Reed, Ben, Nick and Alex -- are embarking on a journey of a lifetime. They're heading for the famed Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) in Spain, where they will walk 500 miles in about a month, ending at the tomb of St. James in northern Spain.
Why are they walking so far? The camino has many churches, monasteries along the way. Pilgrims walk the path with the hope of growing closer to God. Like a river system, there are many small tributaries, or routes, that feed into larger ones as they eventually come together.
Reed, Ben, Nick and Alex are blogging as they travel, sharing the challenges and discoveries as they journey closer to God. Before they even hit the trail, they've talked about trusting in God and learning that he just may have an adventurous spirit! Bookmark their blog and follow their regular updates here.
Father Jim Kiernan, who served our diocese for 54 years as a priest, died Sunday evening at age 81. Please keep him and his family in your prayers. Arrangements for his funeral are pending. May Father Jim Kiernan enjoy the fullness of life with the Risen Savior forever.
Here is Father's last homily, recorded at the Basilica of St. John this past Sunday.
Bishop Richard Pates discusses values, voting and Pope Francis in his column in this week's edition of America Magazine.
"Neither party advocates the entirety of our Christian ethic. But our response must be practical, pursued through a party or candidate with whom, from our perspective, we can attain much of what is at stake for the common good," wrote Bishop Pates. "It is also necessary to transcend partisan limitations and join in common cause. In so doing, we pursue that path, enlightened by the Gospel, which recognizes the inherent value of each human person and renders to that person the life and dignity to which he or she is entitled as a child of God."
Sister Maurita Soukup, RSM, RN, MSN, PhD: Ensuring excellence in critical care nursing -- Nurses Week is May 6 - 12
Hands-on, compassionate nursing care -- from checking blood pressures and establishing best practices to comforting the dying -- is a core mission of the Sisters of Mercy.
The Sisters of Mercy have been nurses since their founder Catherine McAuley identified caring for the sick as a major focus of the new community in Dublin, Ireland, in 1831.
The only trained nurses in the American Civil War were women religious, 100 of them Sisters of Mercy.
Mercy sisters served in the Spanish American War.
They still serve to heal the sick. They built hospitals across the U.S. beginning in 1847 with the founding of the first Mercy hospital in Pittsburgh and eventually totaling 85. The sisters have served in every capacity from bedside nurses and doctors to CEOs, CFOs and trustees in hospitals and health systems as well as in public health and community-based settings.
Ensuring clinical excellence in critical care nursing has been the passion of Sister Maurita Soukup, who began her nursing career in 1964 at Mercy Hospital, now Medical Center, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Since then her life’s ministry has been dedicated to clinical excellence for the critically ill patient, family and the multidisciplinary colleagues engaged in their care. As a bedside critical care nurse and then a clinical nurse specialist in cardiovascular nursing, she says Catherine McAuley’s gift of “careful nursing” which involves competence, care and compassionate presence, has guided her throughout her 52 years of nursing.
She currently serves as a trustee for several Mercy Medical Centers located in Sioux City, Mason City, New Hampton, Cedar Rapids; and the Regional Iowa Trinity Health Board; Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines; and as a nurse consultant and researcher. She is active in mentoring colleagues in best practices, presentations and publication.
With more than 50 years of nursing experience, Sister Maurita took time to reflect on her calling as a Sister of Mercy and her critical care nursing ministry.
What is critical care nursing practice? How did you become interested in it and in nursing as a profession?
Critical Care nursing is a specialty field of nursing, with “ICU” and “CCU” being sub-fields. Critical Care nurses use their advanced knowledge, skills and critical thinking to care for persons and their families who are seriously ill and/or at high-risk for life-threatening health problems.
Hospitals created critical care units in the late ‘50s. Today this nursing and medical specialty has expanded beyond a ‘unit’ to a ‘way of caring’ for seriously ill or high-risk persons wherever they may be (e.g., radiology, diagnostic testing and during transport) to optimize patient outcomes by ensuring continuity of care in various settings.
As a new nurse graduate, I felt called to this area of clinical practice specialization. I continue to value the expertise of multidisciplinary colleagues who have and continue to contribute to this field of practice in how to best care for these patients and their families in ways never thought possible. Examples include advances in technology, new surgical discoveries, pharmacology and always humanizing interventions that honor ‘patient choice’.
How has your nursing ministry unfolded over the years?
I entered religious life as a nurse. My passion for nursing intensified as a sacred ministry. The Sisters of Mercy who take a fourth vow of service called me to a deeper commitment. Spanning over 50+ years, my life ministry in critical care, has been and continues to be dedicated to clinical excellence for the critically ill patient, family and multidisciplinary colleagues engaged in their care.
In reflecting on these years of ministry, I would say that my commitment has deepened to engage nurses in the “Scholarship of Practice,” clinical practice, and share their stories. As a nurse and Sister of Mercy, I tribute Catherine McAuley’s gift of “careful nursing” -- specifically competence, care, and compassionate presence) in guiding my practice. Scholarship is often associated with academia; however, the “Scholarship of Practice” is rich with research-driven data regarding the patient, family and caregiver experiences. Critical thinking calls us to ‘careful analyses for determining ‘best practice, since findings can be statistically significant without clinical relevance or clinically relevant without reaching statistical significance. My ministry has expanded from the bedside to board tables, still listening carefully to patient/family and caregiver stories while interpreting findings, with ‘patients and their families being our first priority’.
What about this profession has been most rewarding for you?
My passion for critical care nursing and nursing as a profession of nursing is filled with energy and gratitude for the ‘gift of care” extended to our patients and their families by so many wonderful colleagues. Healthcare is a sacred ministry, filled with innovative, multifaceted opportunities that empower many.
I know you have contributed to books on nursing. What were some of those contributions and how did you come by the opportunity to do so?
As a young nurse, publication was not on my radar screen; I just wanted to be a competent, caring bedside nurse/sister. Physicians with whom I was working instilled in me an appreciation for research-driven practice. As a Cardiovascular Clinical Nurse Specialist, my research thesis on “Nitroglycerin Tablet Potency Found in Client Carriage Containers” contributed to improved tablet stabilization and proper storage warning labels. Within a short period of time, a small group of colleagues and I began writing off duty and critiquing one another’s works. Invitations soon evolved for practice-directed contributions, either as a contributing author or as co-author.
Two examples have made significant contributions to nursing practice.
In the early ‘80s, I was invited by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses to serve as co-editor for the first Methods in Critical Care: The AACN Manual. This resource was desperately needed for bedside nurses and to standardize critical care nursing care across settings. Four of us initiated and completed the book within 15 months and offered a first contributing author experiences to many clinicians across the United States. Interestingly, the book was so well received globally that it was translated into several languages, with the first being Latin within two years.
Would you recommend nursing to a young person today and why?
Definitely! Nursing, an art and science, is truly a rewarding and sacred profession. I have witnessed young adults, the multicultural underserved and 2nd career adults be highly successful as caregivers, educators, Advanced Practice Nurses, researchers, informatics specialists, etc.
What qualities does a person have to be a good nurse and to consider nursing as a career?
There are many; however, I would offer these: inner wisdom, competence, caring, compassionate presence, commitment to life-long learning, and gratitude.
What else would you say about your life in nursing that might inspire others?
My passion for nursing empowered a life ministry in ‘care of the critically ill’ through clinical excellence, servant leadership and prayer. Catherine McAuley’s charisma of ‘careful nursing’ and vision for unmet needs of “God’s dear poor” still guides and inspires my ministry. I am prayerfully filled with gratitude and joy for these wondrous Mercy years. Blessings and gratitude to every single Nurse as we celebrate Nurses Week!
Thank you to all who have so generously supported the Annual Diocesan Appeal. We strive for 100 percent participation, no matter how small a gift each of us can make. Bishop Pates explains in his letter to parishioners how the annual appeal, called "We are One Body" is important, particularly during this Jubilee of Mercy year. It's not too late to make your gift if you haven't already. Click here and you'll be taken to an easy-to-use online opportunity to make your contribution.
My dear friends in Christ:
As we celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy as a universal Church, the recurring theme of the Annual Diocesan Appeal, “We are One Body,” is both a reminder and an opportunity to put our faith into action. Each year in the Diocese of Des Moines, thousands of men, women and children learn what it means to be disciples of Christ and serve as witnesses by rendering and receiving acts of mercy throughout our community.
A gift to the Annual Diocesan Appeal is instrumental in establishing a culture of mercy in our communities and parishes. The appeal ensures the diocesan ministries and services are readily available. The Appeal also provides a critical portion of the yearly funding needed to support priests’ medical and retirement benefits, education for our seminarians, my humble service to the parishes, and administrative outreach to each parish.
Through your support of the annual appeal, you help bring to life the corporal and spiritual works of mercy so critical to a healthy society in our time.
I ask you to prayerfully consider a sacrificial offering to support the Annual Diocesan Appeal. All gifts, no matter the size, are greatly appreciated. Our website provides a thorough overview of how your gift is used to serve our faith community. You may make your gift online or return a pledge card to my office.
Thank you again for your faithful generosity and support of the work of the Church. Your gift allows us to continue to share the mercy of God stimulated in us by the Good News of Jesus Christ. Be assured of my heartfelt gratitude for your past and continuing help for all that we do in the name of the Lord.
The Iowa legislature has approved the use of medical marijuana, but not allowed for its purchase in the state. Bishop Pates was approached by those who support a proposal making medical marijuana available in Iowa. Bishop wrote to legislators that he joins "the 78 percent of Iowans who believe that medical cannabis should be legally produced, distributed and possessed in Iowa for humanitarian purposes to provide relief for those who are sick and suffering. I support this extension of palliative care among this sector of hurting people."
"I believe now is the time to help suffering Iowans and their families get legal access to this medicine," he wrote.
Twenty four states and the Washington, D.C. allow medical marijuana.
Iowa Catholic Radio is launching its spring Care-A-Thon today to help support its evangelization effort. I tune in several times a day. First thing in the morning, I turn on the station while driving to work so I can hear Jon Leonetti talk about what's happening in the Church. I turn on Iowa Catholic Radio in the afternoons when I leave work and I'm heading to pick up kids after school. The singing of the Divine Mercy chaplet is prayerful, calming and helps me move from a workplace mindset to a parent mindset. By the time the kids open the car doors, I'm ready to be mom again. And I like Catholic Answers. There are always questions that are interesting on that show.
In addition to the high quality national programming, Iowa Catholic Radio has some top-notch local programming. Bishop Richard Pates has a show every Friday morning at 9, which re-airs on Fridays at 9 p.m. On Mondays, there's a new show called Man Up featuring Father Zach Kautzky and Joe Stopulos. We've got "Faith on Trial" featuring Deacon Mike Manno, and Julie Nelon and Chris Magruder's show "Catholic Women Now." The Iowa Knights of Columbus show provides news and perspectives from around the state.
Having a Catholic voice on the radio allows people to grow in their faith, pray and learn more about what's happening in our Church. Help Iowa Catholic Radio by offering your support during this week's Care-A-Thon. You can help by calling 515-223-1150 or you can donate online at this link.
After losing his wife in 2012, Jim Supina decided he should honor her memory and her love of the Spanish language by teaching English to the Hispanic community in Des Moines. Jim was nominated by Bishop Pates to be a candidate for the Lumen Christi Award, offered by Catholic Extension Service.
Working with parish churches and Catholic Charities, his English classes and private lessons are free to immigrant and refugee families. To ease their transition into American life, he doesn’t stop at language skills – he insists on cultural immersion. Jim brings his students to Broadway musicals, and he incorporates discussions of faith, music and poetry into his teaching. To further integrate into the Hispanic community, he attends Spanish Masses and activities, and helps with citizenship applications. His most recent success is with a group of students who are now eligible to take their GED tests and apply to the local college.
On Holy Thursday, my daughter and I inched our way in line in our church toward a foot-washing station.
There, anyone could have a foot washed and then wash that of another in a hands-on symbolic act representing service to others.
It’s become something of a tradition for the kids and me. This year, though, my mind jumped back two months to a remarkable journey I was privileged to undertake with about a dozen parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in West Des Moines.
Through the Urbandale-based Blessman Ministries, we traveled to South Africa to provide new shoes, eyeglasses, Days for Girls kits and show love to some of the poorest of children. Poverty is rampant in some parts, and the effects of AIDS and HIV have taken their toll on children who have lost one or both parents, children who live with grandparents or older siblings, aunts or uncles.
Many of the children have only one pair of shoes. Saving them for school, often they go barefoot when not in class. I watched several children play soccer in bare feet.
The ticket out of poverty might be education, yet some girls miss a week of school each month because they can’t afford feminine hygiene supplies and some students can’t see without glasses, which they can’t afford. These are children who dream of being doctors, lawyers, engineers and financial planners.
After securing new shoes on the feet of one little girl and praying for her, I gave her a hug and said, “I love you.” She smiled and said, “I love you, too.” She became blurry as I sniffed away a tear. It suddenly occurred to me that I was in South Africa not only to love, but to be loved.
Countless people across our diocese have traveled as close as a local food pantry or homeless shelter and as far away as El Salvador, Guatemala, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Tanzania, Togo or South Africa to show God’s love. Often, they return having experienced a blessed moment when they realized God may have brought them there to be loved.
The next time your parish announces it’s offering a mission trip, consider that he might be inviting you. If your parish doesn’t offer mission trips, maybe God is nudging you to consider organizing such a journey for your parish.
Blessman Ministries was founded by Des Moines Dr. Jim Blessman, who felt called to South Africa. He invites us to spend a week with him to see the good work already being done in his adopted homeland and the work that lays ahead to make sure all people’s lives and dignity are treated with respect and love. If the spirit moves you, he has opportunities for nine-month-long mission opportunities as well.
If you've been waiting for God to point you in the right direction, you just may find yourself heading to South Africa.
Monsignor Jerry Stessman, a longtime parish priest, passed away Monday, April 4 at age 83 after nearly 57 years of serving the people of the Diocese of Des Moines.
Visitation will be Sunday, April 10 at Holy Trinity Church in Des Moines from 2-7 p.m. with a vigil service at 7 p.m. A funeral and luncheon will be Monday, April 11 at Holy Trinity Church at 11 a.m. Burial will be at St. Joseph Cemetery in Earling on April 11 at 4:30 p.m.
"We render thanks to God for the great gift he was to our Catholic community over these many years," said Bishop Richard Pates.
Originally from Earling in the northwest corner of our diocese, Msgr. Stessman was ordained by Bishop Edward Daly on May 31, 1959.
He served a number of rural and urban parishes from ordination until he retired in 2003. He served Sacred Heart in in West Des Moines, Assumption in Granger, St. Patrick in Council Bluffs, St. Mary in Guthrie Center, St. Cecilia in Panora, St. Edward in Afton, St. Patrick in Lenox, Holy Spirit in Creston and in Des Moines he served St. Anthony, St. Ambrose Cathedral and Holy Trinity.
He was honored with the title "monsignor" in 1990.
May Msgr. Stessman enjoy the fullness of life with the Risen Savior forever.
With the statewide Knights of Columbus convention coming to Des Moines in a couple of weeks, it's worth the time to read a recent column by Antonio Bañuelos in which he shares why he became a Knight. Hint: He blames his wife, Mayra! Why does he remain with the Knights? Antonio shares three main reasons in his column.
After 87 years of educating students in a faith-filled setting, Assumption Catholic School in Granger will close at the end of the current school year. The school has 62 students.
Des Moines Bishop Richard Pates and Father Dominic Assim, pastor of Assumption Parish, announced the closure effective the 2016-2017 school year.
After six months of intensive study regarding the school’s future, three representative bodies – the parish’s Pastoral Council, Finance Council and School Board – met in joint session on Monday, March 21. While the School Board members recommended the implementation of a plan that would keep the school open for at least one more year, the other two councils regrettably recommended closure in the face of current and projected financial deficits.
“It is with great regret that we announce the acceptance of the recommendation to close the school,” Bishop Pates and Father Assim noted. “It has enjoyed a marvelous 87-year history in which the parish takes justifiable pride. It is with gratitude that we acknowledge the contribution of so many to make the school so beneficial for so long. Especially do we commend the valiant efforts of current parents and members of the school board to seek continuation in the face of daunting financial reality.”
Assumption School will assist current teachers who are seeking employment in other educational settings. In addition, every effort will be made and assistance will be provided for present students seeking placement in nearby Catholic schools.
“The loss of the school and transition to new settings hold significant challenge for all involved with the institution,” said Bishop Pates. “The present situation calls for our prayers, kindness, compassion and forbearance. Integrity should characterize the celebration of a proud history of a school which has contributed so much to the lives of so many.”
Father Michael Amadeo, pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Des Moines' Beaverdale neighborhood, has been appointed by Bishop Richard Pates as the vicar general for the diocese.
Father Amadeo will continue in his role as pastor while taking on this additional role for the diocese. As vicar general, he will coordinate the ministry of the active priests in the diocese.
He earned his bachelor's degree from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, a master's degree from the University of St. Thomas/St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota and was ordained a priest in 1992. Since then, Father Amadeo has served Sacred Heart Parish in West Des Moines, St. Mary-Holy Cross Parish in Elkhart and Holy Trinity Parish in Des Moines. In addition, he studied Canon law at Catholic University of America and has served the diocesan Tribunal.
Father Amadeo replaces Father David Fleming, who will continue in his roles as pastor of St. Pius X Parish and as diocesan exorcist, leading Deliverance Ministry.
Holy Ghost Father Felix Onuora was installed by Bishop Richard Pates recently as pastor of St Brendan Parish in Des Moines a a sign of unity and a blessing. Bishop also installed Father as pastor of St. Francis in Corydon and Sacred Heart in Chariton. He blessed the relationship between the priest and the parishioners. He also said the installation also represented unity in two ways: Among the bishop and the priests; and among the people of the parish and the greater diocesan faith community. Look here for more photos.
You may have seen the commercials, the billboards, or the Facebook posts from us inviting all those Catholics who've strayed from their parishes to come back. We miss them! During the Catholics Come Home initiative, we had an opportunity to talk with a local woman who shared her story of how she grew up in a faithful household, strayed from the Church, and then returned.
"Building God's Kingdom" is an effort we've undertaken over the last few years to support a school in Nigeria for boys, many of whom go on to become priests. In fact, three priests serving our diocese went to school there. Our support over the last few years has made a tremendous difference! Recently, a member of St. Pius X Parish, Kevin McGuire, visited the school. This is his story.
This Friday begins the Holy Father's call for increased availability for reconciliation in our diocese. Pope Francis's initiative, called 24 Hours for the Lord, is intended to widen the hours reconciliation is available so that all people may take advantage of the opportunity for God's mercy.
Des Moines Region
St. Augustin Church
545 42nd Street, Des Moines
Friday, March 4
6 am to 8 pm
Our Lady of the America Church
1271 East 9th Street, Des Moines
Wednesday, March 16
Beginning at 5:30 pm concluding March 17 at 5:30 pm
After producing a weekly radio show for about six years -- with not one rerun! -- Bishop Richard Pates is shaking things up. "In the Heartland With Bishop Pates" is moving up an hour earlier every Friday to 9 a.m. In addition, he's interested in your questions. Send us your questions and then listen to hear Bishop's response this Friday at 9 a.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio and Spirit Catholic Radio.
His guest this week -- which just happens to be Catholic Schools Week -- is diocesan Schools Superintendent Tracy Bonday.
About a dozen folks from around the Des Moines metro area are on a mission trip to South Africa to help the poorest of the poor. They're traveling to Blessman Ministries, about three hours north of Johannesburg, to help the needy through an outreach founded by Dr. Jim Blessman, formerly of Des Moines. Our communication director, Anne Marie Cox, is joining them and she's set up a blog to provide a glimpse into this remarkable opportunity. Follow their journey by clicking here.
Bishop Richard Pates joined local interfaith leaders in our community addressing gun violence in the United States. The status quo is no longer acceptable when lives are at risk, they said. Here is what was printed in The Des Moines Register this morning.
As faith leaders from across Iowa, we see our nation becoming increasingly violent and unsafe for our children and our communities. Whether it is San Bernardino, Colorado Springs, Chicago, Denver, Newtown, Des Moines or Iowa City, our children are faced with the possibility, and for some children the inevitability, of a gun being used against them or someone they love. Our children’s sense of community and safety has shifted dramatically.
We have become a nation described by the violence we see on the nightly news. Shocking images from our streets. Law enforcement harming or killing citizens. Men abusing women. And, mass shootings perpetrated against everyday people who are carrying out the norms of life.
Mass shootings at schools, parks, theaters, stores, malls, public building, offices, houses of worship and more. Mass shootings with assault-style weapons and handguns, both legal and illegal. Mass shootings killing three, nine, 12, 26 people in split seconds. Mass shootings that now number in the hundreds in one year. Mass shootings that are now the expectation, rather than the anomaly. When did it become mundane rather than horrific to learn about another mass shooting?
Whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Unitarian Universalist, Hindu, Buddhist, or Sikh, as faith leaders we also wonder when did we as a society decide that a person’s right to own a gun outweighs the value of another person’s right to live?
Iowans of faith and of goodwill know that, when it comes to guns and gun violence, the status quo is no longer acceptable. We have a responsibility to our communities and to our children to keep them safe with common sense laws and it is time to act.
As faith leaders, while prayer is core to our faith traditions and we will certainly spend time in that sacred act, prayer without action leads us nowhere. We believe the tide has changed and action must be taken.
We support three critical corrections to our laws that currently allow too easy of access to guns that results in unnecessary violence in our society. We call for a requirement that every gun buyer pass a criminal background check, to remove military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines off our streets, and to make gun trafficking a federal crime.
We ask that all people of faith participate in this weekend’s Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend, December 10–14. Pray, recite holy text and readings, and impart wisdom. But, above all, pledge to take action.
Today, we demand that our elected officials stand on the right side of history and join the solution in stopping the rampant proliferation of guns and the resulting violence facing our nation. It is our responsibility and it is the responsibility of lawmakers to take action to stem the tide of gun violence and make our society safer for our children.
Connie Ryan Terrell, Executive Director, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa
Rev. Dr. Mary Newbern-Williams, Presbyter, Presbytery of Missouri River Valley
The Most Rev. Richard E. Pates, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Des Moines
Rev. Dr. Rich Pleva, Iowa Conference Minister, United Church of Christ
The Right Rev. Alan Scarfe, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Iowa
Rev. Bill Spangler-Dunning, Regional Minister, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Bishop Julius C. Trimble, Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
On Sunday, Bishop Richard Pates closed a door at St. Ambrose Cathedral in anticipation of the launch of the Jubilee of Mercy year. Pope Francis will open a jubilee door in Rome on Tuesday to begin the holy year. Bishops around the world will open doors on Sunday, Dec. 13 to kick off local celebrations of this year dedicated to recognize God's merciful love. Seven other doors across the Diocese of Des Moines were closed in anticipation of the holy year this past weekend. When they open on Sunday, they will become Holy Doors which open opportunities for grace and mercy during the jubilee year.
The churches with Holy Doors are: St. Ambrose Cathedral, Basilica of St. John and Our Lady of the Americas in Des Moines; St. Patrick in Council Bluffs; St. Patrick in Bayard; Holy Spirit in Creston; St. Joseph in Earling; and St. Patrick in Imogene. The rite of closing the doors beautifully describes the symbolism.
These sites with Holy Doors will become places of pilgrimage. The closing rite beautifully describes the significance of the doors. "When go through a Holy Door with an open heart and a sincere desire to encounter the Lord, we open our lives to transformation and change and we will be filled with God’s abundant love and mercy."
This weekend, eight churches in our diocese will experience a special rite. At all of their Masses, they will be closing a door inside their church that will remain closed all week in anticipation of the launch Dec. 13 of the Jubilee of Mercy year. The doors that close in these churches will become Holy Doors, which open opportunities for grace and mercy during the jubilee year. The churches with holy doors are: St. Ambrose Cathedral, Basilica of St. John and Our Lady of the Americas in Des Moines; St. Patrick in Council Bluffs; St. Patrick in Bayard; Holy Spirit in Creston; St. Joseph in Earling; and St. Patrick in Imogene. The rite of closing the doors beautifully describes the symbolism.
We are all familiar with doors.
Every house, every building has a door…
it is used to come in.
A holy door in a place of pilgrimage
is a symbolic object that says,
“I want to continue my journey of faith.”
?At the threshold of the door stands Jesus with open arms, welcoming us, calling to all of us,
“Come to me. I will give you love, truth, and new life."
When we come through this door with an open heart
and a sincere desire to encounter the Lord,
We open our lives to transformation and change.
and we will be filled with God’s abundant love and mercy.
On Dec. 5 & 6 we seal the Holy Door
in preparation for the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
We will open it on Dec. 13,
along with all the cathedrals of the world.
?May the doors of our hearts be wide open to the Lord’s call.
And may the doors of all our parishes
be open to those who seek the living God.
As we prepare for Christ's birth, and with the Jubilee of Mercy beginning Dec. 8, it's a wonderful time to feel's God's loving embrace and mercy through multiple reconciliation/penance services. Check on the list here and take advantage of the opportunities offered by our parishes.
Bishop Richard Pates met with parish lay leaders last weekend and will meet with more this weekend to thank them for sharing their talents and gifts, to encourage them to evangelization, to see their effort as part of a broader Church effort, and urge them to think about how they will pass along the faith to the next generation.
The Summit on Church Administration, held Oct. 31 in Council Bluffs and scheduled for Nov. 7 in Urbandale, brought together members of pastoral councils, finance councils, trustees, school boards, boards of education and faith formation/catechesis leaders.
Parish leaders evangelize by helping people change their lives so they can live the Gospel through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, thereby becoming the presence of Jesus to others, said Bishop Pates.
Parish leadership must ask itself how it stirs that vision, how it will pass on that responsibility to the next generation and how it will live that expression of Church in an authentic way.
An authentic expression of Church is not a collection of parishes that act independently but rather a group of faith communities that are part of a broader Church, which is effective because of its unity as one Body of Christ, said Bishop Pates.
Leadership also accomplishes its mission of evangelization by keeping in mind its goal of helping people grow in their faith, and not getting caught up in problems with a parking lot, maintenance problems and other such issues.
“The work of the priest, the parish, etc. is to bring about a sense of that unity of our being one in the Body of Christ,” said Bishop Pates. “That means we are constantly, spiritually renewing ourselves. We can get off on tangents … but we have to see and move beyond it. All people tend to go to very practical, tangible things. But the need has to be on the vision,” he said.
The Summit on Church Administration came near the same time as the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council (Dec. 8), when a major shift began. Before Vatican II, pastors and associate pastors were responsible for virtually all the pastoral work of a parish. Currently, much of the pastoral work and guidance is offered by lay leaders through pastoral councils, finance councils, trustees and schools/faith formation groups.
“All of these organizations work on a collaborative level with the pastor, whom they advise,” said Bishop Pates. “Their members are intended to be at the heart of the formulation of their mission and the parish community’s ongoing relationship to the diocesan Church.”
Of particular interest to veterans in our community might be the upcoming Faith & Healing presentation at Mercy College of Health Sciences. On Thursday, Nov. 12, Mercy College will bring to Des Moines Dr. Warren Kinghorn, who will address the community on “Healing the Moral Injuries of War: Faith, Community, and PTSD.” Dr. Kinghorn is a psychiatrist at the Durham VA Medical Center and an assistant professor of theology at Duke Divinity School.
Hors d'oeuvres will be served at 6 pm, followed by Dr. Kinghorn’s talk, and then a time for Q&A. Would you all be willing to promote this event by hanging a flyer in your parish or including an announcement in your upcoming bulletins? If so, I have attached a pdf of our promotional flyer to this email.
The talk is free and open to the public. So as to best coordinate the food for the evening, we are asking that participants please pre-register at this link.
Bishop Richard Pates will be one of three honored as a climate champion at Iowa Interfatih Power & Light's annual reception Oct. 8 in Des Moines. Bishop is being ohonored for his leadership on finding solutions to climate changes. He has helped widely communicate Pope Francis' encyclical calling for action to curb climate change, according to Rev. Susan Guy, executive director of Iowa IPL. Bishop has also "shown courage in calling on Iowans to engage with 2016 presidential candidates on climate change," she said.
Others who will be honored are First lutehran Church in Decorah and the Indianola Green Team. To get tickets for the reception, contact Rev. Guy at 515-689-1112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Ralph Martin, of EWTN's "The Choices We Make" will be in the Des Moines area this weekend. The speaker for next week's priests' workshop, Dr. Martin will give us a sneak peek at what he'll be presenting to the priests during a gathering this Sunday at St. Pius X Church from 7-9 p.m. Join us as we hear Dr. Martin, an expert on the new evangelization, talk about why it's important to have a good understanding of the new evangelization for parents whow ant to riase their children in a strong Catholic family. We'll have free childcare so bring the family for an evening out. We thank the diocesan Marriage & Family Life office and the Evangelization & Catechesis department for facilitating the discussion with Dr. Martin. For more informaiton, contact Sherri Simmer at 515-237-5058.
Ethiopian refugee Sinishaw Iticha has settled in Des Moines and now helps other refugees who are looking for a place to call home. Check out this story about his struggle and his work with Catholic Charities to help other refugees find peace in central Iowa.
Today we welcome our new diocesan worship director, Kimberly Mandelkow. A native of Minnesota, she will serve as a key resource for the bishop and the diocese’s 80 parishes in the ongoing renewal of liturgical life and formation. She will manage and direct diocesan worship activities, provide consultation and serve as a resource on worship and church architecture projects as well as develop and administers programs of liturgical formation consistent with diocesan policies, goals and guidelines.
Mandelkow brings a unique background, having lived a life of work, prayer and service while in the religious community of the Sisters of St. Benedict. She has ministered in Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky in multiple facets of parish and organizational life including planned giving, liturgical planning and music, pastoral care and youth programs.
“Kimberly Mandelkow’s broad experience will be useful as she becomes familiar with and helps our parishes in central and southwest Iowa. I am particularly impressed by the energy, spirit and balance that Kim brings to her new role. She enjoys a rich academic background as well as a personal conviction of the centrality of liturgy in Catholic faith life,” said Bishop Richard Pates.
She assisted her former religious community in Indiana with planned giving and served as minister of music and liturgy at a parish in Kentucky. She served as pastoral associate for liturgy, music and pastoral care at two parishes in Indiana and was the director of liturgical music at a Newman Center near the University of Indiana at Bloomington. Mandelkow has planned bilingual and multilingual liturgies, led youth ministry programs and is an accomplished musician.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia College in Minnesota, a master’s degree in pastoral ministry and liturgy from St Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana and is active in the National Pastoral Musicians organization.
The former diocesan worship director, Kyle Lechtenberg, began serving Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Parish in Ankeny earlier this summer.
Seminarian John Wesley Lawrence is being remembered for his easy-going nature, his steady and calm presence and his generosity. He died Aug. 31 in his sleep at age 30.
Lawrence, a certified public accountant, entered the seminary after volunteering during two summers at Catholic Youth Camp.
He was visiting his mother in Anamosa before turning to school at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he would have been starting his second year of theology.
Lawrence was expected to be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Des Moines in June, 2018.
The son of the late C.W. and Denise Lawrence, he was raised on a farm near Monticello in eastern Iowa with his younger brother, Michael. He graduated from Monticello High School in 2004 and earned an accounting management degree from Iowa State University in 2009.
He worked at McGladrey in downtown Des Moines as an accountant and was a parishioner at St. Boniface Parish in Waukee before joining the seminary in January 2013.
In his vocation story, Lawrence said that while growing up, it was a local religious woman, Sister Damien, who told him he would make a good priest.
"I was a little shocked after hearing that, because I wasn't sure what Sister saw in me," Lawrence wrote. "For some reason, though, I have always remembered what she said."
While still working for the accounting firm, Lawrence took time off from work to counsel young people at Catholic Youth Camp in the summers of 2011 and 2012. This is where Lawrence first realized God may have been calling him to the priesthood.
He heard a homily by Father Joseph Pins, diocesan vocations director, which resonated. Father Pins had also been an accountant when he decided to discern a vocation to the priesthood.
"My heart goes out to the Lawrence family and to the seminary community at St. Paul," said Father Pins. "We saw Christ when we saw John. He was a steady and calm presence. May the Lord's perpetual light shine upon him."
Seminarian Ryan Andrew often spent time watching Iowa State football and basketball games with Lawrence. They grew close over the summer, as their days consisted of studying hospital ministry together at Veterans Hospital in Minneapolis.
"He had a very compassionate heart, loved people and was a great person," Andrew said.
Ryan Welch always enjoyed seeing Lawrence, who lived right across the hall from him at seminary. In fact, Lawrence showed Welch the ropes when he started at seminary.
"He was one of the first guys I talked to," he said. "He showed me around the seminary when I came to visit - always willing to give the time. He gave me that time and I was a complete stranger."
Welch will never forget Lawrence's good nature.
"It didn't really matter what was going on - if he had broken his wrist playing broom ball or broke his other wrist playing broom ball [the next year]," Welch said with a laugh. "Or just had a lot of school work due at the same time, he just always had an easy-goingness about him that just wouldn't be defeated by external struggles or circumstances. Definitely, that's an amazing feature."
"He was a very kind man who had a heart for people," Welch said.
"For John's mother, Denise, and his brother, Michael, John's death is a huge loss," Bishop Pates said. "We extend our heartfelt condolences and assurance of prayers to them. For the diocesan seminary community it is also heartrending. For the last three and a half years, John has been an anchor to that group. He was steady, good-natured, balanced and extraordinarily generous. He was a man of prayer and deep faith. We will greatly miss him but will be motivated by his spirit and example in the days ahead."
Services for Humility Sister Joanne Mauro, who passed away Friday, will be at St. Anthony Church in Des Moines, the parish in which she was raised and where she served for the last 33 years.
Visitation will be today, Aug. 31, from 2-7 p.m. with the vigil at 7 p.m. Mass of Resurrection will be tomorrow, Sept. 1 at 11 a.m. interment will be at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines following Mass. A luncheon will be served in the parish hall after burial.
Sister Joanne was born in 1940 in Des Moines. She attended St. Anthony Schoo and St. Joseph Academy ebfore entering the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in 1957 taking the name Sister Mary Margene.
Her lifelong ministry was Catholic elementary education. She served school in Minneapolis and multiple schools in Iowa including: Ottumwa, Davenport, Centerville, Neola and Marshalltown. In Des Moines, she served at St. Theresa, Christ the King and St. Anthony, where she had been serving since 1982.
She is survived by five brothers, two sisters and the sisters and associates of the Humility of Mary, which whom she shared religious life for 58 years.
Memorials can be made to the Congregation of the Humility of Mary, 820 W. Central Park Ave., Davenport, IA 52804.
You want to know what we could do to encourage more vocations to the priesthood, religious or consecrated life? Pray! We have an opportunity tomorrow morning to join Bishop Pates at 7:30 a.m. at the St. Anne Chapel inside St. Ambrose Cathedral for an hour of prayer before our Lord. Join our Bishop and pray for more vocations.
In June, Bishop Richard Pates ordained two to the priesthood. This fall, we welcome three men to the seminary program bringing to 25 the number of men discerning a vocation to priestly ministry for the Diocese of Des Moines.
Jake Epstein, of St. Pius X Parish in Urbandale, said he first thought of becoming a priest in eighth grade.
“I think that the religious life is fundamentally about service,” hes aid. “I hope that seminary will allow me to deepen my relationship with God and gain the skills and knowledge I will need to serve God’s church.”
He will be studying at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois.
Christopher Grow first thought of religious life when he was a senior in high school.
“I see myself finding a great sense of joy in knowing that I can devote my life to helping people through the sacraments, through homilies, through different spiritual/life advice, by simply being present and, most importantly, by bringing everyone around me closer to Christ,” he said.
He will be studying at St. Pius X Seminary at Loras College in Dubuque.
Jason Lee, raised Methodist, came into full communion with the Catholic Church just before his senior year of high school and considered a vocation to the priesthood.
“I want to be there as Chrsit in time sof sickness, death, baptism, the Eucharist, in reconciliation, during weddings and other events,” he said. “To be persona Christi is my greatest desire.”
He will study at St. John Vianney Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Everyone is invited to the fifth annual Rural Life Mass on Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Kautzky farm, about 5 miles south of Perry.
The outdoor Mass offers an opportunity for urban and rural people to come together to show solidarity with rural Iowans and celebrate their important role in the diocese.
The Mass will be on the farm of Greg and Lori Kautzky, parents of Father Zach Kautzky, at 18443 195th St., Perry. The couple is working with St. Patrick Parish in Perry to host the gathering.
“It’s an opportunity for the diocese as a community to observe a Mass in a nice, rural setting,” said Bob Smith, a member of St. Patrick’s worship committee and a planner for the event.
It's a chance for those who farm to come together with those who have roots in farming, added Lori and Greg.
“It used to be that people would have a real direct connection to farm life, whether themselves or their parents,” she said. “Now, people are more removed. I'm hoping this helps people feel more connected.”
Chuck Offenburger, who penned the “Iowa Boy” column in the Des Moines Register for 21 years, has seen rural Iowa change in the 50-plus years he’s been writing. He’ll share his thoughts after the Mass.
“I have seen tremendous change in rural life in the last half century. Much of that has been driven or dictated by the changes in agriculture,” he said. “One thing that has not changed is the need for faith.”
When rural communities were settled, one of the first things to be built was a church, he said.
Great leaders have come from rural communities, he said, mentioning Msgr. Luigi Ligutti.
“He was a classic example of a spiritual leader coming into a poor, rural area of coal miners and farmers and giving them direction,” Offenburger said. “He set a great model that we still see today in leaders of the faith out here, pulling our communities forward.”
Greg and Lori live on his grandparents' farm. His grandfather purchased about 80 acres in 1899. His father lived there and built another home on the farm.
“I grew up here next to my grandparents' house,” Greg said.
Now, the third generation farmer has a couple of sons and a son-in-law who farm corn and soybeans with him.
Congratulations to the latest group of men, accompanied by their wives, who are one step closer to being ordained permanent deacons in the Catholic Church! This past Sunday, they experienced the Candidacy Mass at St. Ambrose Cathedral. During the Candidacy Mass, the men present themselves to the bishop as candidates for the permanent diaconate. The formation process lasts four years and is intensive as it requires twice monthly trips to Conception, Missouri for study, prayer and formation in addition to work done at home. We are blessed with more than 85 active permanent deacons serving people liturgically and in other ministries throughout the Diocese of Des Moines.
Plans for Catholic Charities Bishop's Golf Classic are underway. Join us for golf on Aug. 31 at Echo Valley Country Club in Norwalk, just south of Des Moines. Proceeds are used to help those who come to Catholic Charities in need. Gather your parish members, families, friends, and business groups for a team, or sign up on your own and meet some of the other great people who want to help feed, clothe, and shelter those in need in our community. Reserve a tee times for this fast-paced, fun-spirited tournament that raises funds for Catholic Charities programs and services.
The tournament begins with lunch at noon, followed by a 1 p.m. shot gun start. Parishes are encouraged to enter one or more teams in the “Church Challenge” to compete against other parish teams. The foursome with the lowest team score will take home the Catholic Charities Bishop’s Golf Classic prize! For more information, contact Ken Bresnan at 515-237-5089.
Bishop Richard Pates made the following remarks at the Witness to Life rally today. #WomenBetrayed
Good afternoon, I am very happy to be with you. Great commendation is owed to the students of Iowa State University who call all of us together to witness the value of human life.
Women Betrayed Pro-Life Rally
July 28, 2015
Open Our Eyes O Lord
To the Crown of Creation
Open our eyes, O Lord, to see in each human life the imprint of your very self
Open our eyes, O Lord, to your presence in the poor
Open our eyes, O Lord, to your presence in the sick
Open our eyes, O Lord, to your presence in the frail and elderly
Open our eyes, O Lord, to your presence in the disabled
Open our eyes, O Lord, to your presence in all who suffer because of war, persecution, injustice, abandonment, lack of care and love . . .
Especially today open our eyes, O Lord, to your presence in those most helpless of all – the unborn. From the moment of conception you privilege a man and woman to serve as co-creators with you in the coming about of a person made in your image and likeness.
This person in integrity, body and soul, has an eternal destiny to be with you forever.
Open our eyes, O Lord, to this most basic reality of life and endow all with reverence toward the unborn individual. Open our eyes, O Lord, and let all see the remarkable gift of another person willed into existence by you and destined to live forever in your love.
Open our eyes, O Lord.
Women Betrayed Pro-Life Rally
Bishop Richard Pates
July 28, 2015
Pope Francis from the very beginning of his ministry as Successor of St. Peter has called for the reverence of human life – of the responsibility all of us have to safeguard the crown of creation – from the moment of conception until natural death.
The Pope so frequently talks about a world-wide culture as a throw-away society. He speaks about the refugees escaping hunger, oppression, and war who are abandoned on the high seas. He calls our attention to the hungry millions when indeed there is the possibility of food for all. He highlights our lack of care for creation and the accompanying devastation of human ecology.
In this throw-away culture he identifies the most innocent, defenseless victims of all, the unborn child – so often described as unwanted.
Today, according to presumably credible reports, the unborn child is not to be thrown away intact but preserved, ironically with care, because of the value of his or her component parts. The person is denied but his or her body parts apparently have worth in the market place.
In addressing human need we see and recognize the value of medical science and its legitimate application in human advance.
How beautiful is the sharing of human life with consciously, freely made decisions to provide a kidney or even a cornea or a heart at the end of life. We also recognize the tremendous benefit that is being achieved from the utilization of adult stem cells.
Moreover, the total human person, especially the unborn and the infant are earnestly desired to be adopted in our society. Literally hundreds of couples wait in line, with great frustration, to welcome a child into their homes where they will be cherished, loved. The adoptive parents are prepared to render great sacrifice.
What we come to say today is very clear. We come in support of the human person, in defense of the most helpless of all, the child in the womb.
And thus, we insist that harvesting the parts of the child for utilization of these component parts is an unspeakable travesty on the identity of this child as one created in the image and likeness of God with an eternal destiny. The sum of all our bodily parts is the human person. May each person be always revered and preserved in his or her full and true identity.
Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Church in Ankeny was burglarized over the weekend. While some money was taken from one safe, another could not be broken into. The pastor, Msgr. Steve Orr, was interviewed on WHO-TV. Aside from showing how the burglar entered the church grounds, he shared something to keep in mind: "“If anybody`s desperate enough that they need help, that`s what we`re here for. You know, we help lots of people all the time. You know they don`t have to go to that kind of desperate moves to get some kind of help. We just need to know who they are and what help we can give them.”
Everyone is invited to the fifth annual Rural Life Mass on Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. at the Kautzky farm, about 5 miles south of Perry. After Mass, former Des Moines Register "Iowa Boy" columnist Chuck Offenburger will speak. The outdoor Mass offers an opportunity for urban and rural people to come together to show solidarity with rural Iowans and celebrate their important role in the diocese. The Mass will be on the farm of Greg and Lori Kautzky, parents of Father Zach Kautzky, at 18443 195th St., Perry. The couple is working with St. Patrick Parish in Perry to host the gathering.
“It’s an opportunity for the diocese as a community to observe a Mass in a nice, rural setting,” said Bob Smith, a member of St. Patrick’s worship committee and a planner for the event.
It’s a chance for those who farm to come together with those who have roots in farming, added Lori and Greg.
Bishop Richard Pates called on Catholics in the Diocese of Des Moines to read and study Pope Francis' environmental encyclical "Laudato Si." He encouraged clergy to preach on the encyclical and its hopeful message of caring for God's creation. He also encouraged all Iowans to ask presidential candidates not if, but how they will address climate change. Saying most scientists agree that climate change over the last 100 years is due to human activity, he reminded that, "We are called to participate in public life and work for the common good." Here is a press release in English and Spanish from the press conference.
The press conference was held on the Ankeny campus of Des Moines Area Community College, which has a program for students who want to gain job skills in the wind industry, a clean energy field. A wind turbine sits on campus for students who are studying for jobs in the wind industry.
The late Bishop Maurice Dingman wanted a house of prayer for all people seeking spiritual growth and a desire to listen and respond to the working of the Holy Spirit. He also wanted a place to serve the pastoral needs of priests and other ministers, a place for quiet prayer and reflection, and a place that would support the social justice ministry and outreach of the diocese. And so, Emmause House was born. Originally staffed by the Jesuits of the Wisconsin Province, the retreat house in the Sherman Hill neighborhood of Des Moines offers Mass several times a week, Ignatian spiritual exercises, prayer workshops, spiritual direction and more. Cindy Shaw and Father Dan Krettek co-cirect the Emmaus House, at 1521 Center St.
Emmaus House has had a profound impact on those it has served. "Many people have experienced it as profoundly personal and transformative," said Father Krettek. "Folks who have been Catholic all their lives find a whole new depth and personal prayer."
Come be a part of the celebration of Emmaus House's 40 years of service on Sunday, June 28 with a 4 p.m. vesper service at St. Ambrose Cathedral followed by a catered dinner and program. To RSVP, email Emmaus House or call 515-282-4839.
Pope Francis has sounded a clarion call for universal action to reverse ailing Mother Earth’s health condition. Evidence abounds: pollution and waste, widespread experience of radical climate variation, reduction of safe water which is the “stuff of life,” and loss of biodiversity. More distressing is the impact on human life – where the poor suffer intolerably and societies and cultures are unraveling.
We are all born into life on this planet. This common home is an unmerited gift. Through creation, God has provided for us an abundant Mother: Earth. Earth’s health is imperiled by a relational breakdown with God, with fellow humans and with the planet itself. Our faith and the common relationship with one another impels us to address this situation. Our destiny is intertwined – earth and each human person on a common journey. For the Christian, this is in unity with Christ who leads us to the goal of creation – life-giving unity with the Father.
To arrive at this goal, Pope Francis accentuates the reality that all of creation is in communion. Echoing St. Francis of Assisi, the Holy Father proclaims: “Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth.”
The Pope insists that the natural environment is “a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone.” Our work to ensure justice and a livable situation for everyone represents “fidelity to the Creator, since God created the world for everyone.”
In considering the primacy of the human person in creation, those activities which diminish the dignity of each human person are to be challenged. Especially is this so with the emerging supremacy of technology. This development gives rise to a “practical relativism,” which translates, if it can be done, do it. Most importantly as we pursue material “progress” we must adhere to the requirement to provide work for people to enable them to achieve the meaning and purpose God has in mind for them – core to the hierarchy of human values.
Moving forward with “environmental conversion,” Pope Francis employs a word characterizing his papacy: dialogue. This dialogue occurs on an international scale, on the natural and local scene. It emphasizes transparency in decision making, in politics, in economy and religious dialogue with science. In all of these formats, the key is transparency, openness and a commitment to reach resolutions that are in the best interests of each of us individually and as one human family.
Such conversion or change requires us to think of the preservation of that which gives life: air, water, fertile soil. We can do so by being responsible in our own situation but also by joining together in advocacy of those policies that will characterize us as grateful “stewards” so that all God so lovingly created might thrive.
We, in Iowa, have been especially blessed and been inspired by leaders who are able to parse the grammar of responsible stewardship. Farmer after farmer who visit with me, tell me that they are committed to leaving the soil and water for which they are responsible, in much better shape than they inherited it. Wind power has taken off in Iowa. It is now the number two state in the United States producing more such energy per capita than any other state. This development of renewable energy creates jobs and produces clear, breathable air while enabling us to experience reasonable benefits in our lifestyle.
We, in Iowa, also have the opportunity to raise the issue of environment to a high profile. This is due to the role Iowa enjoys in holding the first caucuses of the presidential electoral cycle. May we not squander this opportunity.
“Praise be to you” as an encyclical is not a political document, nor a scientific document, but rather a religious document which our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has developed to guide us in our moral life in order that we might be faithful to the scriptures and teachings of the Church in our times. May it inspire us to unite in generating hope and in building the Kingdom of God.
John Duy Huynh, who has taught at Dowling Catholic High School for the past six years, has been appointed by Bishop Richard Pates as the first director of an intiative to strengthen Catholic identity in the diocesan schools.
The intiative, called Faith Journey, works through ongoing faith formation that nurtures the personal and communal faith of the schools’ faculty and staff and builds stronger school communities of intentional disciples.
Two years ago, Bishop Pates visited with all the diocesan schools and learned that the staff was interested in ongoing growth in their faith. That effort was followed up with a program last year for educators called School of Faith. Ongoing faith formation for faculty and staff at the diocesan schools has now evolved into a program developed and directed by the Diocese of Des Moines.
“The outcome of my initial visits with our school personnel was a very strong desire for continuing growth in the Catholic faith both individually and as distinct school communities,” Bishop Pates said. “This desire has persisted. Such a sentiment is an encouraging positive sign as we seek to work out the logistics of Faith Journey.”
Huynh, a 2002 graduate of Dowling Catholic, looks forward to helping the diocese in this role.
“I am very excited about the opportunity," he said. "Faith Journey has the potential of deepening the faith relationship of our teachers and staff for their personal benefit but especially as it impacts their students and school communities. It is very much in line with the spirit Pope Francis is advocating.”
Huynh holds a BA in philosophy and an MA in theology from Loras College in Dubuque. He is currently a doctoral student at Barry University, in practical theology, with an emphasis in spiritual formation. Since 2009, he has taught courses in advanced apologetics, sacramental theology, Old and New Testament, morality, social justice, world religions, and Catholic Christianity at Dowling Catholic.
Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity, with the support of local Catholic churches, is building a home honoring Pope Francis. Bishop Pates blessed the ground and visited with volunteers and the family that will live in the three-bedroom ranch-style home once construction is completed. Here are the remarks of Bishop Pates.
Soy Muy Contento estar con ustedes!
I am delighted to be able to be with you on this very happy day. God is pleased. He could not have provided more beautiful weather. Today we bless the ground to mark the beginning of the Pope Francis House on Francis Street.
I can speak also on behalf of Pope Francis. As we know he is dedicated to economic justice, equality and peace! He also challenges us not only to undertake such activity in a generic sense or simply to speak platitudes but to do so in reality – helping people in particular circumstances.
That is why the Habitat for Humanity method fulfills the Pope’s vision. The new owners Jimmy and Zai will invest their own resources especially of a physical nature as primary partners in the building of this new home for themselves and their two children.
In actuating the vision of Pope Francis I am genuinely pleased by the participation of our parishes, both through physical labor and financial assistance. The contribution of each individual is valued and most important in building this new home.
I want to thank Habitat for Humanity, the Des Moines Chapter, for its openness to this opportunity and for engaging their renowned expertise in making this dream a reality.
Finally, a word of thanks is owed to the anonymous donor, who generously donated one-half of the cost for this new home thus setting in motion the participation of all of us to be challenged to provide half the cost and all the labor required. Our prayers are with this donor in gratitude for this initiative.
Sister Mary Nesta Ezeanya, who serves at St. Gregory Retreat Center in Adair, is celebrating her 25th anniversary of making her first vows as a member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary religious community.
Born in Nigeria, she knew early on that she wanted to be a religious woman and after sixth grade, went to a school for girls who were discerning a vocation to religious life.
At age 16, she became a postulate and worked in her homeland and Kenya. It was during her 1988-1990 novitiate that she “came to understand the person of Jesus and wanted to grow in that intimacy,” she said.
Though she was frightened initially of the challenges of religious life, she prayed and decided to go ahead with her first vow Nov. 29, 1990.
“Looking back, I’m so glad I made the decision to make my first vow,” she said.
She taught in school, attended the University of Nigeria and earned a degree in social work.
She taught school and worked with the poor and homeless in Nigeria, then was asked to go to Minnesota to the Sharing and Caring shelter for the poor, where she served the homeless for 10 years.
She remembered one case in particular of a woman who struggled with addiction and homelessness. The woman had no high school diploma, but when Sister Mary Nesta left Minnesota, the woman had married and earned a master’s degree.
“It’s always a very powerful experience” to witness such change, she said. And, she likes to be part of their journey and allow God to work through her.
“It’s part of who I am,” she said. “People struggle in life and I try to assist.”
By the time she was asked to come to Iowa in 2012, she had two master’s degrees, in social work and theology, and a certificate in spiritual direction.
At the St. Gregory Retreat Center, she works with women who struggle with depression, anxiety and other issues.
“I enjoy what I do and work with wonderful women who choose not to give up on themselves,” she said.
“I’m thankful to God for his blessings, good health and wonderful people and spiritual directors. It’s why I pursued a certificate in spiritual direction,” she said. “I help people discover their purpose in life and pursue that with a passion.”
“When I look back, I can’t believe it’s been 25 years,” she said. “My heart is full of gratitude for so many graces.”
The Vatican hosted a gathering April 28 on climate change and sustainable development.
The United Nations is looking for Pope Francis’s “spiritual and moral leadership,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Pope Francis is preparing an encyclical on the matter, which is expected to be released this summer.
He will address the United Nations in New York on Sept. 25, as world leaders gather to hammer out a sustainable development agreement that will be up for a vote at a December climate conference in Paris.
The encyclical “will become the Catholic Church’s white paper for Paris,” said Father Robert “Bud” Grant, a Des Moines diocesan priest, environmental theologian and professor at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.
“The value of it is on the grand scale. This is the Catholic Church planting a flag. This is the Catholic Church setting a precedent for other religions. This is the Catholic Church which, lets’ face it, is still a powerful geopolitical force,” he said.
The encyclical is expected to present ecology as the ultimate pro-life, pro-poor, pro-family issue.
“I tell my students, and I truly believe this, there are no more important issues than environmental issues,” said Father Grant. “Every other problem, social, economic, political conflict that we’re dealing with pales in comparison with the threats that we are facing environmentally.”
Pope Francis needs to address the issue for two reasons, he said.
The environment is the ultimate life issue because it affects current and future generations, he said.
It’s the ultimate social justice issue because the poor tend to bear the brunt of the effects of climate change, he said.
“There are three victims of ecological crisis: the marginalized, the future and Earth itself,” said Father Grant.
In the history of Catholic social teaching, starting with “Rerum Novarum,” the Church has focused on the rights of the poor with a focus on the idea that agriculture is designed for the common good, not only the profit of the person who owns the land, he said.
Father Grant, who held the miter of St. John Paul II during his Oct. 4, 1979 visit to Iowa, said environmental theology was born that day.
“His homily on that day, is still very much emphasizing as it obviously would, agriculture and the role of agriculture, the dignity of farming and the use of farming,” he said. “But it goes further, or at least it probes into this idea that the Earth is God’s, not ours, and we are not its owners but its stewards.”
“Once you have stepped across that line, you’ve struck a beautiful balance between what I call an anthropocentric ethic. The Earth is a resource to be distributed justly, and an ecocentric ethic. The earth is God’s creation and that alone demands responsibility for it.
“It’s Scriptural and deeply embedded in our tradition,” said Father Grant.
Pope Benedict XVI, dubbed the “green pope,” followed up by encouraging care for the environment.
Father Grant hopes Pope Francis addresses in his encyclical the intrinsic value in the Earth as God’s creation.
“Thomas Aquinas reminds us that the earth is one of the ways we know of the existence of God,” said Father Grant. “The earth is God’s garden. By wandering in it, we learn some things about the identity of God that are very real. There are traces of the Creator in creation. I just really, really love that. I hope that’s what he says.”
Speculating on what the encyclical could say, Father Grant added that Pope Francis could invite people to share in the suffering.
“Suffering is real. It’s already happening and it’s extensive,” he said. “We have to become aware of it and we have to choose to embrace more of the suffering, and share the cross. I call this idea ‘redistributive suffering.’ That’s what I hope he ultimately says.”
“Only religions, Christianity and uniquely Catholicism, can challenge the best that is in us to choose to suffer for the sake of others, even if we don’t really believe they deserve it,” said Father Grant. “It’s embedded in the Eucharist. It’s the crucifixion. It’s the essence of our faith.”
With international talks of mitigating climate change, and an upcoming encyclical from Pope Francis, individuals may ask, “What can I do?” to make a difference.
“What any of us do as individuals, in terms of the overall impact, it will be beyond negligible,” said Father Robert “Bud” Grant, a theologian, environmentalist and professor at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.
“The reason to do it is because it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “That’s core to my theology.”
“But communal action, especially as orchestrated by proper governmental channels can—and must—engage in order to make substantive choices that will help us mitigate and adapt to the new world in which we live and which we have, sadly, created,” he said. “That is what is at stake at the Paris summit next winter.
Parishes across the dioceses are reaching beyond traditional weekly bulletins and websites to appeal to parishioners and call them to action.
Corpus Christi Parish in Council Bluffs uses a blog, Twitter account and Facebook to provide regular updates to parishioners and the broader community. The parish will be starting an e-newsletter soon.
Ss. John and Paul Parish in Altoona has a weekly e-newsletter and uses Facebook pages for the parish, a teen group and the junior high youth ministry.
St. Boniface Parish in Waukee is tapping talent from within the parish community to communicate more visually through photography, social media and videography.
This is aside from launching a new website in each of the parishes.
In each case, a committee evolved that incorporates gifted parishioners volunteering their time.
Ss. John and Paul Parish has a committee of staff and volunteers, including a youth representative who looks at communication from a teenage perspective and offers feedback.
St. Boniface’s committee includes former Meredith magazine editor Marlen Kemmet, who coordinates communication for the parish, and up to 20 volunteers under the leadership Kemmet and Kayla Engebrecht.
Corpus Christi’s digital outreach committee includes about 10 people who contribute by taking small pieces of the work.
“It’s really a team effort to get it done,” said Christy Rhoades, of Corpus Christi Parish.
“I think there are a lot of parishioners who want to get involved, they just don’t know how to get involved,” she said. “If you can find someone and you know their strengths are photography, they can take professional pictures of your church, or if you know someone who does design work, they can make a banner or flier for you. It makes people feel like they belong in a way that extends beyond coming to Mass.”
With the help of volunteers, St. Boniface “has created all the things we did not have eight months ago” like a YouTube presence, said Kemmet.
The main obstacle to getting started was fear of having anything controversial posted, he said. The committee meets monthly to go over what will be posted so there are no surprises.
Sami Craig got involved in Ss. John and Paul committee as she was preparing for her confirmation. At age 16, she likes the parish bulletin, saying, “They are a good publication for those young and old, tech savvy or not.”
In the future though, she thinks parishes could better communicate with people using text messages or applications, commonly called apps.
“My advice for other parishes that are afraid or unsure of technology is to just try something,” she said. “Start with a small group, the youth or teen groups would be a good place to start, and implement whatever your ideas are.”
The Basilica of St. John in Des Moines has a Roku channel for those who’ve cut the cord from cable or satellite TV. The parish live streams its Sunday Mass on the Roku channel and its newly revised website.
“There’s so much that you could do it’s mindboggling,” said Rosemary Sloss, who plans to go to the workshop to see if the parish is on the right path and learn what more it can do.
Communication should make people aware of what’s going on and offer a call to action, Kemmet said.
“We’ve got to do things that make our parishioners feel successful,” he added, giving as examples pictures of award ceremonies, children dancing or youth feeding the needy.
There will be people who say, “Everybody knows,” but no, they don’t, he said.
“The first step is to become aware,” he said. “The second step is to become involved.”
To share what the parish has learned along the way, St. Boniface is cohosting with the St. Joseph Educational Center a one-day workshop called Digital Discipleship in a New Media Culture on June 19 from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. with lunch included. The workshop focuses on how parish staff and volunteers can energize parishes and share the Gospel. The keynote speaker is Scot Landry, author of “Transforming Parish Communications: Growing the Church through New Media.” A graduate of Harvard Business School, former chief operating officer of a software company, management consultant and brand manager, Landry established and grew a new media ministry in the Archdiocese of Boston before beginning an executive recruiting and consulting firm.
A free-will offering will be taken. To register go to sjeciowa.org or call 515-222-1092.
Join us for the annual Memorial Day Mass at Glendale Cemetery. Retired Bishop Joseph Charron will celebrate the Mass beginning at 10 a.m. If it rains, the Mass will be moved to St. Theresa Church in Des Moines.
This spring marks the first full season that the diocese has transitioned to celebrating confirmation for youth in high school.
Bishop Richard Pates announced in his 2010 pastoral letter that it was his desire to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation with high school youth.
“They are able to understand more completely the meaning of the sacrament and enter into the celebration of the sacrament more fully and thus lead to a more pastoral developmentally appropriate outcome,” he wrote.
Shortly after the pastoral letter came out, the diocese began assisting parishes with transitioning from programs that prepared eighth graders for the sacrament to programs that offer preparation for high school youth.
At that age, youth have a better sense of their talents and gifts and can tie confirmation’s call to mission with what they sense God is calling them to, their vocation, said John Gaffney, director of the diocesan Evangelization and Catechesis department.
In baptism, one receives the graces of entering the Christian family and the remission of sin, he said. In confirmation, one prepares for mission with the strength of the Holy Spirit.
“This is really the completion of the baptismal graces that began years ago,” Gaffney said. The Eucharist and reconciliation offer the nourishment, the strength to continue to live into lifelong formation.
Since parishes have made the transition, parishes have noticed more young people playing a more active role in parish activities.
“We have a growing number of communities that are seeing an increase in active participation in what the parish has to offer,” said Gaffney. Young people are more involved in liturgical ministries, helping with religious education programs and activities offered through the parishes such as Habitat for Humanity.
He’s also witnessed the seriousness of the youth as they prepare for reception of the sacrament through the retreats he’s organized.
“I have witnessed young people who are actively searching for what this faith means, for what being Catholic means for them,” said Gaffney. “They take it seriously and I have been inspired by that. They want to know how faith figures into the issues that they’re dealing with personally and in the world.”
When Kara and I were expecting our first child, I remember the instructor of our childbirth class telling us that after children we would never sleep again. The class would chuckle, and she would slowly shake her head, and repeat with more emphasis, "You will never sleep again." Three and a half years into parenthood, I’m terrified that she was right.
My mom always seems a bit pleased when I tell her about sleeping struggles. She reminds me that I was a terrible sleeper and that she would be up for hours with me almost every night. When I asked her what she did sitting up with me all night, she said she’d pray the rosary. Not one set of mysteries, but all of them. And not one rosary, but as many as it took. In fact, when I think of my childhood and my mother, when I think of sick kids, or road trips, or waiting for a sibling to come home, I think of my mom praying the rosary.
During this month of Mary I’ve been thinking a bit about my mom’s rosaries. I was a pretty terrible child and made a lot of bad choices, and yet somehow I’ve been so blessed with my faith, my family and my work. It’s really humbling to think of how God has provided for me. I’m convinced that so many of the blessings in my life came from the graces of those rosaries.
Growing up, the rosary was at the center of my family’s life, and now with my own family I strive to make the rosary a part of our lives, too. The family rosary is such a beautiful devotion to bring into the home.Iit’s simple but hard to put into practice. I hope that this month you’ll join me in trying to make it more central in your family life. If you’re wondering how to start, here are a few suggestions:
Start small: Maybe you don’t yet have time for a whole rosary, but start with a decade each day. What’s most important is consistent and intentionally times for prayer.
Pray as a family: Sometimes the kids aren’t as excited about praying together, and if you have young children, a rosary can be especially challenging. But get everyone involved. Like all habits, it’s hard at first but you will begin to treasure it!
Be patient: Praying with a three year old and an 18 month old is not always as serene as we’d hope. It’s something that we’re still figuring out, and I’m sure it’ll take more work and adjustments. But it’s important to us, so we keep trying. Prayer starts with a desire to pray, and if you have that you can sort the rest out.
It’s May. The month of commencement ceremonies and parties, honoring students who are crossing a “finish line” of sorts, earning their diplomas and moving on to new chapters in life.
In the whir of ceremonies, parties, and questions about ‘What’s next?’ for graduates, it’s natural to focus on the excitement of celebrations. Less often do we look at a graduate and ponder the long walk that preceded the short walk across the stage - the mundane routines and tedious effort that led the student to graduation day. Perhaps because our own story may not have been as challenging.
I’m lucky to know a young woman who will graduate this month from Dowling Catholic High School who has given me good reason to reflect on resolve that is deeper and stronger than what can be seen, even with a weekly glimpse.
Attend Sunday Mass at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines, and chances are, you will see Janefa James serving on the altar. Quiet and serious, Janefa, 18, is clearly a dependable right hand to St. Ambrose clergy, liturgists and Eucharistic ministers. She serves almost every Sunday and helps train new servers. Witness Janefa’s abiding involvement in Mass and you know you are seeing a young person of deep faith and commitment.
But the fleeting glance of Janefa at Mass does not fully capture the entire commitment – the lengths she goes to in order to serve.
Janefa is the oldest of five siblings, ranging in age from 18 to six years old. Born in South Sudan, Janefa arrived to the U.S. as a child with her mother, Rejoice. Janefa attended Holy Family School where she ran track and met teachers she admires to this day for their unwavering service to others, especially Janet Holmes and Mr. Robey. Throughout high school, Janefa has stayed active in track and at St. Ambrose.
Like many first-generation American families, Rejoice works long hours, nights and early mornings, to provide for her children. As Rejoice needs the family car for work, Janefa rides her bicycle several miles from the James’ home on Des Moines’ south side, through downtown to St. Ambrose to attend and serve Mass every Sunday. It’s not often you see a teen coming and going from church on bike. Rain or shine, regardless the season, Janefa doesn’t miss Mass.
Beyond involvement at St. Ambrose and school, Janefa holds a job and helps care for her siblings. This autumn, Janefa will become the first person in her family to attend college, setting out to pursue nursing or speech pathology.
As we celebrate with our graduates and think about who is that person, how did he or she arrive to this point, and who helped them get here, Janefa’s story inspires us to remember our connections. Janefa allowed herself to be inspired, shows her appreciation by giving back and, in turn, inspires the best in us. Happy graduation, to Janefa and all the graduates in our diocese. Your efforts, as much as your achievements, are recognized and appreciated.
Bishop Richard Pates is asking all parishes in the Diocese of Des Moines to have a special collection one of the next three weekends for disaster relief in Nepal following the April 25 7.8-magnitude earthquake and aftershocks that shook the nation.
"Pictures of the devastation caused by the earthquake and multiple aftershocks in Nepal are heartbreaking,” he said. “The death toll is rising each day and the suffering of our brothers and sisters affected by the earthquake is overwhelming.”
Tens of thousands of people need shelter and protection from the cold. Sapana Sharma, a Catholic Charities staff member from Council Bluffs, is visiting her family in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capitol. She said her family was not injured but they are staying outside because of concerns that their home is not safe. Markets are closed, leaving people without basic essentials.
To help the people of Nepal, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is asking dioceses across the country to have a special collection in support of emergency and rebuilding needs in Nepal. All funds collected will go to the bishops’ conference, which will send the funds to Catholic Relief Services.
“Catholic Relief Services has already begun to embark on a major emergency response to this disaster and will put your donations to work for extended relief efforts,” wrote Bishop Pates.
In addition to generous monetary contributions, Bishop Pates encourages prayerful support for the people of Nepal. “May God bless them with the strength and fortitude to face the difficult tasks ahead of rebuilding lives and communities.”
To make a gift online, go to the diocesan website and click on Giving, then Nepal Disaster Relief.
In a day and age when people more and more are tied to their mobile devices, how do we use new media to built community, strengthen relationships and spread the Good News? Check out the workshop Digital Discipleship in a New Media Culture, offered Friday, June 19 at St. Boniface Church in Waukee. The parish and the St. Joseph Educational Center are bringing nationally known speaker and author Scot Landry to central Iowa to share his experiences using new media and talk about what other dioceses and parishes are doing. Learn how to maximize websites, improve newsletters, increase social media success, find faith-enhancing digital content and more. Register and get more information at the St. Joseph Educational Center or call 515-222-1092.
Join us as we pray for those considering a call to serve God through ordained or consecrated life. This Sunday is World Day of Prayer for Vocations, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. Let us pray for young men and women; That God may give them the gift of understanding to discern their service in the Church, the priesthood, diaconate, or consecrated life; And for the gift of courage to follow his call.
Please keep in your prayers those who are considering what God wants them to do with their lives, particularly those considering ordained or consecrated life. This Sunday is World Day of Prayer for Vocations, or Good Shepherd Sunday. Our diocese has been blessed with a jump in the number of seminarians, from 7 just six years ago to 27 today.
Several individuals from the Diocese of Des Moines were honored and others elected to office at the annual Iowa Knights of Columbus convention in Coralville April 10-12.
Father Ken Halbur, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Creston, was named 2015 Diocesan Chaplain of the Year for the Diocese of Des Moines. A priest in each of the four Iowa dioceses was honored.
Deacon Ronald Kohn, of Holy Rosary Parish in Glenwood, was honored as 2015 Deacon of the Year for the state.
Several people were honored for their dedication to the principles of the Knights of Columbus. Honored as 2015 Grand Knight of the Year was Paul Martin, of St. Augustin Parish in Des Moines.
Several councils across the state were recognized for their works of charity in their parishes and communities.
In the Diocese of Des Moines, Council 12130, at Assumption Parish in Granger was honored as 2015 Community Program of the Year for its Christmas party for the homeless, and Council 5038 at Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Parish in Ankeny was honored as 2015 Culture of Life Program of the Year for its Raffle for Life.
New officers who were elected from the Diocese of Des Moines are: Jon Aldrich, of Altoona, as state deputy; Antonio Banuelos, of Pleasant Hill, as state secretary; Francis Schlueter, of Ankeny, as state treasurer; and Robert Douglas, of West Des Moines, as state advocate.
The 2015 class of men to be ordained to the priesthood has grown over last year with 595 to be ordained versus 477 who became priests last year. The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which gathers data for an annual survey for the U.S. bishops, says on average, the seminarians were about age 17 when they first considered a vocation to the priesthood. The average age for the Class of 2015 is 34, with 25 percent having been born outside of the United States. Half say they attended a Catholic elementary school. Our diocese will ordain two on June 5 at St. Ambrose Cathedral. They are Deacon Luis Alonso Mejia and Deacon Andrew Windschitl. The ordination begins at 7 p.m. and a reception follows across the street in the Catholic Pastoral Center. All are invited.
A number of priests in the Diocese of Des Moines are celebrating the anniversaries of their ordination to the priesthood.
Msgr. Frank Bognanno of Christ the King Parish in Des Moines will commemorate his 50th anniversary with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Richard Pates at Christ the King Parish on June 7 at 11 a.m. There will be a reception and open house in the parish hall at 4 p.m. that afternoon. Msgr. Bognanno was ordained on June 6, 1965 at Mt. St. Bernard Seminary in Dubuque.
Father James Freeman also celebrates his 50th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood this year, having been ordained June 6, 1965 by Bishop G. J. Biskup. He left the diocese in 1988 with permission to work in the Diocese of Tucson and retired from there in 2004.
Father Vince Rosonke of St. Boniface Parish in Waukee is celebrating his 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on Saturday, May 30 with a 5:30 p.m. Mass with a reception to follow in the St. Boniface Parish Hall. The come and go celebration is from 6:30-10:30 p.m. and will be “casual, fun, and a joyous celebration” with food, drinks music, dancing and a few surprises. There will be no formal receiving lines or assigned seating, but everyone is encouraged to attend. Father Rosonke was ordained on May 24, 1975 at Holy Spirit Parish in Creston.
Father David Fleming, of St. Pius X Parish in Urbandale, is celebrating his 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, having been ordained on July 27, 1990 at the St. Ambrose Cathedral.
Retired priest Father John Maier, who now resides in Leavenworth, Kansas, is celebrating his 25th anniversary with a private dinner of a few close friends and family. Father Maier was ordained on July 27, 1990 at the St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines.
The fourth annual Ministers of Compassion workshop is Saturday, April 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at St. Boniface Church in Waukee. Dr. David Nordstrom and Father Bob Aubrey will talk about the power of palliative care and its potential to improve quality of life: mind, body and spirit. Advance registration recommended. Contact the St. Joseph Educational Center at sjeciowa.org or call 515-222-1092.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to spread awareness and support local programs that help victims of violence. Catholic Charities has long had a program addressing the issue in the Council Bluffs region. The Phoenix House, Catholic Charities' shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, offers shelter, support, court and legal advocacy, crisis counseling and prevention education. Contact Catholic Charities to find out how you can be a part of this important outreach.
Beginning today, NBC television is broadcasting "AD: The Bible Continues," a mini-series that tells the story found in "The Acts of the Apostles" over 12 episodes. Washington, D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl was so inspired by the series he worked with his diocesan staff to use the series as a catechetical tool for parishes. Catechetical videos that put a Catholic perspective on the series will be available soon on the archdiocese's website. In addition, Michael Aquilina developed a Catholic companion guide to the series called "AD: Ministers and Martyrs: The Ultimate Guide to the Apostolic Age." Learn more about the early beginning of the Church following Jesus' death and resurrection using this mini-series.
For the third consecutive year, the Diocese of Des Moines has nominated someone for Catholic Extension's annual Lumen Christi Award, which honors a person or group whose service spreads the light of Christ and transforms lives in their community. We've nominated Irma Jaime Cruz, a catechist for more than 44 years. Irma heard God’s call at an early age. As the director of religious education at Our Lady of the Americas Parish in Des Moines, she oversees the largest Hispanic religious education program in the city. More than 600 students and their families are involved each year, which has led many to a deeper awareness and practice of their faith. The program has a 100 percent bilingual staff, which is essential for evangelization, as the Hispanic population can come to Christ in their native language. Irma walks with the people on their journey of faith, and her dedication to Christ and her deep desire to evangelize shines through everything she does and reflects in everyone she meets. Support her nomination by voting for her at Catholic Extension's Facebook page.
Our deacons are involved in so many ministries. Two deacon couples recently offered to volunteer their time to Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program. There, Deacon Chris Rohwer and his wife, Janice, and Deacon Gregg Erickson and his wife, Ava, will work along side Catholic Charities staff to reunite refugee families ith their loved ones. They'll offer transporation and services for a family arriving from Sudan via Egypt. By helping, the refugee family will be able to live with other family members who reside outside of the regular service area. Thank you, Deacons Rohwer and Erickson, for lending a helping hand to this important outreach in our community.
On Saturday evening, churches across central and southwest Iowa will be welcoming people into full communion with the Catholic Church. In all, 54 people who have never been baptized will enter the Church, each of them being baptized, confirmed and receiving their first Eucharist. Another 157, who have been baptized but have not received First Eucharist and/or been confirmed, will receive the sacraments of intitation so that they, too, come into full communion with the Church. If you've never been to an Easter Vigil service, consider it this week. It will be an unforgettable experience as we welcome the newest members of our faith community.
Join us at the annual diocesan gathering, Chrism Mass, this Thursday at 7 p.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral. Bishop Richard Pates will bless and consecrate the oils used in sacraments in our 80 parishes for the coming year. Do you know where your parish displays it's oils?
Six dioceses, organizations receive help in caring for the border children
More than $30,000 was collected late last summer from parishes in the Diocese of Des Moines to aid the women, children and vulnerable adults from Central American countries who were fleeing danger and extreme poverty in their homeland.
The appeal to parishioners brought contributions totaling $30,384.49 as of mid-January. Bishop Richard Pates, who had visited Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in the summer of 2014 on behalf of the Diocese of Des Moines, sent the donations to several organizations addressing the crisis.
Loretto Nazareth Hospitality Center, in El Paso, Texas, received $5,000. Des Moines native Sister Mary Beth Boesen shared the tremendous need of the families in her ministry to the border children.
Justice For Our Neighbors in Des Moines received $5,384.49. This local organization took the lead on addressing the needs of border children in the Des Moines metro area.
Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas received $5,000. JoAnn Mackey, a member of the diocesan Hispanic Pastoral Commission and former executive director of the Latino Festival in Des Moines has spent the past four months ministering to the children coming across the border in McAllen, Texas. She shared her experience with Nancy Galeazzi, executive director of Catholic Charities in the Des Moines diocese.
In addition, the following dioceses each received $5,000 for their effort to help the border children: Diocese of El Paso, Texas, Diocese of Tucson, Arizona, and the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas.
While addressing short-term needs, the Diocese of Des Moines said it was imperative to address the root causes of the mass influx of children, women and vulnerable adults by addressing the drug trade, which is a destructive force in these three countries, as well as the widespread violence and corruption emanating from the extraction/mining industry and the inequities originating from CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
Habitat for Humanity seeks volunteers, donors for Pope Francis House
Diocese supports partnership between parishes, schools & Habitat for Humanity
Bishop Richard Pates encourages parishes and schools in the Diocese of Des Moines to partner with Habitat for Humanity in its bid to build a home on Francis Avenue in Des Moines for a low-income family in honor of Pope Francis.
An anonymous donor has approached Habitat for Humanity in several cities across the country including Des Moines offering half the cost of a house, $60,000, for the building a home in honor of Pope Francis. In each case, the donor asked that the home-building effort includes Catholics with particular outreach to young people in high school or college.
“Habitat for Humanity has a substantial record of outstanding work helping the vulnerable across the world own a home. Last year, the organization worked with 28 families to move into their own house,” said Bishop Richard Pates. “We have a number of parishes and youth groups that contributed funds and volunteer hours to help build those homes. I encourage all Des Moines metro area parishes to consider being a part of this special project to honor Pope Francis. The Holy Father calls all of us to make serving the poor a prime priority.”
Habitat for Humanity needs contributions totaling $60,000 and 250 volunteers willing to measure, cut, paint, and hammer to build the three-bedroom, one bathroom ranch-style house for a family that has been selected.
The family that has been selected -- a mother, father and two young children – is expected to purchase the home this fall.
Bishop Pates will visit and bless the construction site on Wednesday, May 27 at 11:30 a.m.
The Catholic Circle of Faith, a collection of four parishes that have worked together on homes for Habitat for Humanity, have already agreed to be a part of this effort. They are: Sacred Heart Parish in West Des Moines, Ss. John and Paul Parish in Altoona, St. Francis Parish in West Des Moines and St. Pius X Parish in Urbandale.
“Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the Diocese of Des Moines and the local Catholic community to build a home in honor of Pope Francis,” said Lance Henning, Executive Director and President of Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity. “As a Christian organization, Habitat’s mission of putting God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope aligns well with the pope’s commitment to social justice and tangible service. We look forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones during this special build.”
Habitat for Humanity has established a webpage for the project that offers the opportunity for online donations and for registering to volunteer, as well as links to photos and updates about the Pope Francis House (http://gdmhabitat.donorpages.com/thepopefrancishouse/).
We are blessed to have 94 deacons serving our parishes in the Diocese of Des Moines! They do everything from witnessing marriages, celebrating baptisms and preaching at Mass, to helping the homeless, feeding the hungry and assisting people in need. Just last summer, Bishop Richard Pates ordained 14 new permanent deacons who will be serving God's people throughout central and southwest Iowa, and a new class has begun formation. Your Annual Diocesan Appeal gift is used to support the ongoing training and education of these deacons. As you consider your contribution to the Annual Diocesan Appeal, think of all the deacons serving the people of God in our diocese. Please be generous as you make your gift. You can complete a pledge card that should have arrived in the mail with a letter from Bishop Richard Pates, or you can click here and make your gift online now. We thank you for your generosity and for supporting the ministries and outreach efforts of the Diocese of Des Moines!
Bishop Richard Pates explains in this video why we all are invited to make a gift to the Annual Diocesan Appeal. "We are blessed to live in a growing Catholic community with tremendous opportunities to serve one another," he said. "The Annual Diocesan Appeal serves to assist your local parish by providing support services such as financial guidance, technology support, training for individuals in parish ministry, professional development for school staff and formation activities for you, to name a few." Your ADA gift heps support 27 retired priests, 27 seminarians studying for priesthood, 17 Catholic schools with more than 6,300 students, nearly 13,000 youth in religious education programs and more. See the centerfold in last month's edition of The Catholic Mirror to see how the ADA affects your parish and faith community. You can complete a pledge card that came in the mail, or you can click here and go online to make your gift today! Thank you for your generosity!
With your Annual Diocesan Appeal gift, you help 27 retired priests who've given their lives to serving the people of central and southwest Iowa. These priests, now in their golden years, receive medical care and retirement income with the help of your contribution to the ADA. Our retired priests have been with our families in good times and bad as we journey with Christ. Bishop Richard Pates sent a letter inviting families to offer gifts for the ADA. You could use the pledge card that was enclosed in the letter, or you could click here and make an online contribution to the Annual Diocesan Appeal. We thank you for your generous gift!
In the last six years, the number of young men discerning a vocation to the priesthood has skyrocketed from 7 to 27! We are truly thankful for the blessing of our seminarians. With this blessing comes a responsibility to educate and form them in seminaries for priesthood. This is no small cost. As you consider your gift to the Annual Diocesan Appeal, please keep in mind our future priests. The cost to support the seminarians in their discernment differs. The diocese offers some financial support for college seminarians and pays for the total cost of those in major seminary, a price tag that could range from $30,000 to $45,000 per year per seminarian depending on the program. The seminarians are grateful for your support. Check out the story in the last edition of the Catholic Mirror about seminarian Mark McGreary, who says he wishes he had entered the seminary sooner. A former TV ad salesman, Mark says he had a conversion experience that opened his eyes to Christ. Please be generous in your ADA gift and help Mark and the other seminarians on their journey to priesthood. You can complete a pledge card that should have arrived in the mail or you can click here and make your contribution online right now. Thank you!
The diocese is partnering with St. Francis Parish to offer an evening for families with children or young adults with special needs on April 10. This is a great opportunity to relax, build community and feel supported. Parents can enjoy a social, wine tasting and hear from Dr. Daniel Earle of Glen Haven Counseling Resources. Meanwhile, professional and trained volunteers will take care of the children and young adults, including those with special needs. You need to register by March 27 if you’re thinking of coming. Join us for a respite and let us be your anchor. Contact St. Francis Parish or call Adam Storey, the diocesan director of the Marriage & Family Life Office at 237-5056 for more information.
The Vatican wants to know what you think of marriage and family as it prepares for an Ordinary Synod this fall. We invite you to fill out a survey by clicking here. Share with us your hopes, dreams and concerns about marriage and family. Responses will be sent to the U.S. bishops' conference on March 15 so don't wait. Pope Francis advises that we do some reading before addressing the questions. Read the summary document, called Relatio Synodi, that was produced at last year's Extraordinary Synod. The questions we're asking you to answer will often refer to the Relatio Synodi. Many thanks for your time and help!
Today is Ash Wednesday, which kicks off the Lenten season. This is a significant day in the Catholic Church year beginning a period of forty days of prayer, fasting and charity. At services, people traditionally are marked with ashes of burnt palm branches as a sign of their recognition of their human frailty as well as sinfulness and need for repentance in their lifelong journey of conversion. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (April 3) are days of fasting within the Church for those between the ages of 18 and 59. They may eat only one full meal and two other meals consisting of substantially less food. There should be no food taken between meals. Anyone whose health is threatened by fasting is exempted. Catholics age 14 and older also abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays of Lent.
Signing with ashes will be held throughout the diocese on Ash Wednesday. Anyone may call their local Catholic church for times. Ashes will be distributed today at St. Ambrose Cathedral, at 6th and High Streets in Des Moines, during the 12:10 p.m. Mass. Bishop Richard Pates will be the celebrant of the Mass. Attendance at services and being signed with ashes is open to anyone who desires it, regardless of whether they are a member of the Catholic Church.
The people of diocesan parishes and schools are encouraged to support the CRS Rice Bowl effort, formerly called Operation Rice Bowl, during the Lenten season. The Rice Bowl helps us live in solidarity with the poor and vulnerable around the world. Twenty-five percent of the donations raised through the Rice Bowl effort stay in the Diocese of Des Moines to assist with local people in need. The other 75 percent supports people who live in poverty through Catholic Relief Services programs in more than 100 countries around the world.
Also during the Lenten season, the 17 schools in the Diocese of Des Moines are focusing on a project to raise funds for a Catholic seminary in Nigeria. The project, called “Building the Kingdom,” honors the four Nigerian priests of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit who serve in the Des Moines diocese. They are: Father Felix Onuora, Father Anthony Adibe, Father Emmanuel Agwuoke and Father Remi Okere.
Treat your Valentine to a gift that will have a positive effect on your relationship, your family and your life. Get tickets for your husband, sons, father or special man in your life for the Iowa Catholic Men's Conference: Faith for the Journey, which is slated for March 7 at St. Francis Parish in West Des Moines. This is the third year for the conference and it's growing each year. Last year, hundreds of men gathered for inspiring, faith-filled encouragement for living the Catholic faith.In addition to a top-notch group of speakers and Mass with Bishop Richard Pates, a number of sessions will be in Spanish so the entire Catholic community of men can come together and grow in Christ. Get tickets by clicking here or check with your parish.
The Lenten season is a good time to explore the retreat centers here in the Diocese of Des Moines. We have three: the Creighton University Retreat Center in Griswold, the St. Thomas More Center in Panora, and the Emmaus House in Des Moines. Each provides a serene setting and retreats that help us grow closer to Christ.
The Creighton University Retreat Center offers retreats and spiritual direction based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, several 30-day directed retreats or private retreats, weekend retreats for men, women and couples, facilities for large or small conferences and parish confirmation retreats. The center is set in 153 wooded acres teeming with wildlife, song birds, miles of hiking trails and a quiet setting. for more information, call 712-778-2466 or email email@example.com. Website is creighton.edu/ministry/retreatcenter/
The St. Thomas More Center, home of Catholic Youth Camp, serves the diocese by offering retreats and a facility for youth and young adults. New this year is Charis, a retreat for young Adults. This quiet setting, is on Lake Panorama, in the north central part of the diocese. For more information, call 515-309-1936, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to stmcenter.com.
Emmaus House is a retreat center in the midst of the Sherman Hill neighborhood of Des Moines. Near downtown, it offers an oasis of quiet in the midst of the busyness of daily life. The model for the ministry at Emmaus House is the disciples' encounger with the Risen Christ on the road to Emmaus in St. Luke's gospel. Spiritual directors are available for spiritual direction, directed retreats and to serve as a resource for days of reflection and renewal both at the house and other locations. Eucharist is celebrated at the house every Tuesday and Friday at noon and all are welcome to participate. For more informaiton, call 515-282-4839, email Emmaus_House@yahoo.com or go to emmaushousedm.com.
Ghana Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu, of the Diocese of Konongo-Mampong, visited Bishop Richard Pates and the Diocese of Des Moines this past weekend. Our diocese has three priests originally from Ghana ministering here. They are: Father Rancis Amoako, spiritual director at the St. Gregory Retreat Center in Bayard, Father Mark Owusu, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish and the Drake Newman Community, and Father Dominic Yamoah, pastor of three parishes in the south central part of the diocese -- St. Clare Parish in Clarinda, Sacred Heart Parish in Bedford and St. Joseph Parish in Villisca.
Throughout this year, we are celebrating the Year for Consecrated Life. Each issue of The Catholic Mirror has had a story on a different religious community that has served the Diocese of Des Moines. This Sunday, in celebration of this special year, there will be a Mass honoring those in consecrated life who serve our diocese. They will be honored at the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday at St. Ambrose Cathedral. Join us in thanking these men and women for answering their vocational call to religious life and for serving the people of God in southwest Iowa.
Four Iowa bishops support Education Savings Accounts
The four Iowa Catholic bishops urge state lawmakers to adopt legislation that enacts Education Savings Accounts, a tool that allows parents to choose the best and most suitable education for their children regardless of economic standing.
Through ESAs, the state would deposit funds each year in an account that parents of nonpublic school children could access for tuition, fees and tutoring. The funds deposited in the account would be the average state foundation aid per pupil. Schools are typically funded with state aid, local property taxes and federal funds.
The bishops, through the Iowa Catholic Conference, issued a statement urging support for ESAs at the start of Catholic Schools Week, which began Jan. 25.
“The Iowa Catholic Conference, with the support of thousands of Iowans, asks the legislature to enact an ESA program during the 2015 legislative session,” the bishops wrote. “This innovative idea would further level the playing field for parents who lack the resources to choose freely their children’s education setting or who are struggling to keep their children in the school of their choice.”
Iowa is a leader in supporting education choice. For example, the state allows for “open enrollment” for some public school parents, provides the tuition tax credit and offers state-funded preschool. In 2006, lawmakers enacted legislation that established school tuition organizations. Named the Catholic Tuition Organization in the Diocese of Des Moines, this organization accepts donations and assists families that need financial help with tuition so they can choose Catholic schools for their children. This landmark legislation in Iowa was instrumental in allowing parents to choose a school that reflects the convictions of their families. Thanks to the CTO, families can choose top-notch schools with high academic achievement while having their children in a faith-filled educational environment.
“The Diocese of Des Moines and I personally support strong public schools,” wrote Bishop Richard Pates in his monthly column in The Catholic Mirror newspaper. “At the same time, we advocate parental choice in education. Also, in the present environment, we do not want our Catholic schools to become preserves for the elite or wealthy. They should be realistically accessible to all.”
The four bishops signing the statement are: Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels, Davenport Bishop Martin Amos, Sioux City Bishop R. Walker Nickless and Bishop Pates.
“The state should respect and support the right of parents to choose the most appropriate education for their children and, as far as possible, make such choosing fair and unimpeded,” the bishops said. “Education Savings Accounts will help give parents the freedom to make a real choice in education.
Pope Francis granted Howard Fitzgerald’s request for a dispensation from the priesthood and the obligation of celibacy on Jan. 19 following a credible allegation that came to the attention of the Diocese of Des Moines last year regarding a decades-old case of sexual abuse.
“I personally met with Howard Fitzgerald and notified him of the Holy Father’s decision to grant his request for laicization. His laicization occurred at the moment of this notification,” said Bishop Pates. “I sent a memo to priests of the diocese and then left for several meetings out of town for the duration of the week. Now that I have returned to Des Moines, I would like to share further information with the people of the Diocese of Des Moines.”
Fitzgerald was placed on indefinite administrative leave last June and could not function publicly as a priest after the diocesan Allegation Review Committee deemed an allegation to be credible. Details of the allegation have not been released at the insistence of the victim. A press release was issued June 30, 2014, shortly after the Allegation Review Committee transmitted its recommendation to Bishop Richard Pates. All parishes in the diocese were notified of the situation, in particular those which he served.
Fitzgerald voluntarily petitioned Pope Francis to release him from the priesthood and sacred celibacy. The diocese has been advised by Fitzgerald’s counselor that he is no threat to broader society. He will be granted three months separation compensation and will have the opportunity to work at a secular job until retirement. He will have access to Social Security and retirement benefits of the diocese in which he is vested. He has indicated that he will be residing with family. Anyone wishing to contact Mr. Fitzgerald should do so through the Catholic Pastoral Center and the communication will be forwarded to him.
After the diocese learned of the allegation, the victim was provided the services of the diocesan Victim Assistance Advocate. Local law enforcement where the alleged abuse occurred and the Allegation Review Committee were immediately informed.
Bishop Pates has apologized to the victim and encourages anyone who may have been sexually abused by clergy to contact diocesan Victim Assistance Advocate Sherry Knox. She is a staff member at Polk County Victim Services. She assists victims through the complaint process and in seeking support and counseling services. Knox can be reached at 515-286-2028 or email@example.com.
Bishop Pates said it is a top priority of the Diocese of Des Moines to provide a safe environment for children and to comply with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a document approved by the U.S. bishops in 2002 that offers a comprehensive set of guidelines on reporting sexual abuse, accountability, reports to a national board and mandatory education programs in parishes and schools.
Consejero sobre Asistencia de Victimas El Consejero sobre Asistencia de Víctimas es un empleado de Polk County Victim Services. Ella ayuda a víctimas de abuso sexual por parte del clero durante el proceso de la queja y buscando servicios de apoyo y consejería. Pueden comunicarse al 515-286-2028 o en firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Pius X Church, in Urbandale, is hosting an educational forum on a broken immigration system on Tuesday, Jan. 27 from 6:30-8 p.m. Join Catholic Charities Social Justice Consortium for an evening addressing the state of the immigration system in our country and the Church’s viewpoint. Local experts will help explore the topic and discuss how the system can move forward. Speakers include: Bishop Richard Pates, Lori Chesser, Tom Chapman, and Tom Carney. For more information, go to www.CatholicCharitiesDM.org or call Ken Bresnan at 515-237-5089.
If you know of someone who would like sign language interpretation at Mass, consider having them come to the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Catherine of Siena Parish near Drake University in Des Moines. The parish offers weekly sign language interpretation. For more information, contact Peggy Chicoine at email@example.com.
There's something for everyone going on this weekend! Join us Saturday at 9 a.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral for the Midwest Mass for Life celebrated by Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels and Bishop Pates. Then head over to the west steps of the capitol, where we'll join Iowa Right to Life for the third annual Midwest March for Life around the capitol to the Iowa Supreme Court building. We can warm up at the luncheon that follows at the Iowa Events Center, and learn more at breakout sessions after lunch. For more information, go to Iowa Right to Life's website. Sunday welcomes the Iowa Institute for Social Action at Ss. John & Paul Parish in Altoona, featuring Catholic Relief Services President and CEO Dr. Carolyn Woo. The institute continues on Monday -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- with Kathie Obradovich, political columnist for the Des Moines Register. She'll talk about the political landscape at the state and federal level. Contact the Iowa Catholic Conference for details on the institute.
Bishop Richard Pates is one of 100 Christian leaders around the country challenging the presidential candidates to appear on camera in a video stating how they propose to provide help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad.
Christian Leaders Challenge Presidential Candidates
to Focus on Ending Hunger, Poverty
Washington, D.C., January 15, 2015 – As President Obama prepares to present his plan for his final two years in office in the annual State of the Union address next week, a group of Christian leaders is already looking ahead to what the next president may do to address hunger and poverty.
The group of 100 Christian leaders around the country is challenging the presidential candidates to appear on camera in a video stating how they propose to provide help and opportunity to hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad.
"We are praying for a president who will make ending hunger and poverty a top priority of his or her administration. Are you that leader?" a statement from the group asks. The full statement is available at www.circleofprotection.us.
The leaders, convened by the Circle of Protection, represent a diverse array of Christian denominations, churches, colleges, and agencies across the country. They will disseminate the videos throughout their networks and memberships in order to raise hunger and poverty as an election issue.
"We will be calling on people of faith to examine presidential candidates to see if they have a heart for poor and hungry people. We want to know how each candidate proposes to fulfill the mandate to those who govern to "give deliverance to the needy" (Psalm 72), the leaders said in their statement released today.
Bishop Richard Pates, a board member of Bread for the World, stated: “Pope Francis has drawn attention to the plight of the poor going unnoticed in a culture focused on the individual and materialism. The Circle of Protection brings to the forefront in the United States the respect and assistance which every person is deserving of, especially so in history’s wealthiest country.”
According to the latest U.S. Census data, 49 million Americans are at risk of hunger, while 45 million live in poverty. One in five children lives in poverty. That is 15 million children, 5 million of them under age 6.
The challenge to candidates was issued today during a press conference organized by the Circle of Protection. Speakers included Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World; Galen Carey, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals; Rev. Sèkinah Hamlin, director of the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative; Rev. Carlos Malavè, executive director of Christian Churches Together; Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA; and Rev. Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners.
The Midwest Mass for Life preceeds the Midwest March for Life this year. Join us on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 9 a.m. for Mass at St. Ambrose Cathedral celebrated by Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels and Bishop Richard Pates. Then head on over to the west steps of the Capitol, where we'll join Iowa Right to Life and others for the third annual Midwest March for Life, beginning at 11 a.m. Following the march, there will be a luncheon and workshops at the Iowa Event Center. Go to Iowa Right to Life to register.
Bishop Richard Pates shares the following Christmas message: I extend to all in our diocesan community heartfelt, best wishes for a Merry Christmas and abundant blessings in 2015. We are blessed to have a vital, vibrant Church in the Diocese of Des Moines. As we move forward, inspired especially by Pope Francis, may we continue to emphasize our call to be evangelizers. We are the Body of Christ and our attentive care to render mercy, extend warm welcome, and assure inclusion in our communities, especially to those who are hurting, enables Christ to be born again and again.
The annual Mass for Life is kicking off a weekend in January of events addressing a number of different life and dignity issues. The 2015 Mass for Life will be celebrated on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 9 a.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral with Dubuque Archbishop Michael Jackels and Bishop Richard Pates. After Mass, the group is invited to join others at the west steps of the state Capitol for the third annual Midwest March for Life, sponsored by Iowa Right to Life. A luncheon follows the march at the Iowa Events Center, where there will be a number of speakers/breakout sessions and a youth track. On Sunday, Jan. 18, the Iowa Institute for Social Action begins its two-day conference. The keynote speaker Sunday is Catholic Relief Services President Dr. Carolyn Woo. Monday's keynote speaker is Des Moines Register political columnist Kathie Obradovich, who will talk about the political landscape in Iowa and Washington, D.C. The social action gathering has added a youth track featuring poet and author Julia Dinsmore. The conference is sponsored by the Iowa Catholic Conference and the four dioceses of Iowa.
It's that time of year when we star to think about tax benefits available to us through charitable gifts. Opportunities abound for gifts to parishes or schools. The tax year ends at midnight on Dec. 31. In order for donations to be considered a tax-deductible charitable donation this year, the gift must be received and/or postmarked before midnight on Dec. 31. The most convenient, secure and expedient way to ensure that a year-end gift is received on time is to make it online before midnight on Dec. 31. Gifts to the diocese can be made online here.
Donors interested in learning more about gifts of stock, grain, planned gifts, or ways to earn tax credits should contact the diocesan Development Office for complimentary information on how to benefit the diocese or local parishes or schools.
Dec. 12 - 6-6:30 p.m.- Rosary; 6:45 p.m. - A play of the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe apparitions; 7:30 p.m. procession; 8 p.m. Mass in Spanish followed by dancers in the parish hall celebrating with tamales, Mexican bread and chocolate.
Our Lady of the Americas, Des Moines
Dec. 11 - 4:45 p.m. rosary; 5:30 p.m. daily Mass; 6:30 p.m. variety of dances; 7:30 p.m. play of the apparitions; 8:15 p.m. danza Juan Diego; 10 p.m. procession to St. Ambrose Cathedral; 11 p.m. novena and midnight Mass at St. Ambrose Cathedral.
Dec. 12 - Rosary before 5:30 p.m. bilingual Mass; 7:30 p.m. Mass in Spanish with Danza Juan Diego after Mass.
St. Ambrose Cathedral
Dec. 12 - Midnight Mass with Bishop Richard Pates
Sacred Heart, West Des Moines
Dec. 12 - 5:30 p.m. bilingual rosary; 6:30 p.m. novena and procession; 7 p.m. Mass; 8-9:30 p.m. traditional Mexican dancers, hot chocolate and bread.
St. Mary, Red Oak
Dec. 13 - 7 p.m. Day of Recollection in Spanish (church)
Dec. 14 - 1 p.m. Mass in Spanish. After Mass, there will be a celebration in parish hall.
St. Patrick, Lenox
Dec. 8 - 5:30 p.m. Mass; reception to follow.
St. Michael, Harlan
Dec. 21 - 6 p.m. Holy Hour, reconciliation, rosary and consecration of each family to Our Lady. 7 p.m. Spanish Mass, reception with meal to follow in parish center.
St. Mary, Shenandoah
Dec. 12 - Mass at 5:30 p.m. On separate day prior to Mass there will be an ecumenical community parade by the Hispanic community, followed by a potluck supper at the First Methodist Church. Contact the parish for details.
Want to grow closer in your marriage? Then join St. Mary of Nazareth for a three part series entitled Three Become One: Growing in unity through prayer. In this series Dr. Matt Halbach and Adam Storey will help couples see the importance of prayer in their marriage and find simple and accessible ways to grow in prayer as a couple. The series will be held on Jan 15 and 28 from 6:30-8 p.m. at St Mary of Nazareth, with a date night the week of Jan 18-24. The cost is $20 per couple and scholarships are available. Snacks and childcare will be provided at no cost. To register contact Bridget Brass at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 515-276-7589. Whether your prayer life is thriving or whether you’ve never prayed together in your marriage, this workshop is for you!
We wish you and your family a very happy and peaceful Thanksgiving Day! Bishop Pates is thankful for Pope Francis. "I am particularly grateful this year for Pope Francis and the light, the hope, the joy and the inspiration he provides for the human family," said Bishop Pates.
Lord, we thank you
for the goodness of our people
and for the spirit of justice
that fills this nation.
We thank you for the beauty and fullness of the
land and the challenge of the cities.
We thank you for our work and our rest,
for one another, and for our homes.
We thank you, Lord:
accept our thanksgiving on this day.
We pray and give thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Shereen Shojaat, a Dowling Catholic High School alumna and World Food Prize intern, wrote the following paper that argues healthcare is a human right and, through the lens of liberation theology, one can better understand and address conditions that prevent people all over the world from enjoying good health care. Shojaat's paper was part of a final exam in a program at Notre Dame University in which she participated in, the Eck Institute for Global Health graduate program.
2 May 2014
Discuss critically the ways in which ONE of the following social justice theorists is
important for the implementation of health care, explaining clearly which approach they use
and why (e.g Human Rights, Procedural (i.e. John Rawls), Capabilities or a combination),
and drawing on ONE or TWO specific case studies at a national and/or local level in order to
illustrate your answer: PAUL FARMER
Paul Farmer, co-founder and chief strategist of Partners Health or PIH, brings his ever powering prospect to the international discussion regarding healthcare and development that “the idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that's wrong with the world.” (Partners in Health. 2014). With this viewpoint at the center, Paul Farmer, his fellow PIH colleagues, and other likeminded individuals throughout the world share the virtue that health is a human right. When implementation of healthcare is considered in this context, Paul Farmer, as a social justice theorist utilizes the human rights approach and in particular liberation theology. The human rights approach aims to consider what factors, such as social, political, cultural, and economic, strengthen or hinder the opportunity to live healthily. More specifically, the human rights approach to health encompasses three interconnected principles concerning the characteristics of health including the solidarity of political, socioeconomic, and civil rights, consistently engaging with individuals most vulnerable to violations of human rights, and creating responsibility for freedoms and protections (London. 2008). In addition, Farmer thoughtfully examines and advocates for an individuals need for conversion and morality for global health development by liberation theology (Deane-Drummond. 2014).The Universal Declaration on Human Rights fully recognizes that all members of society have an inherent dignity and right to equality, which is the fundamental element for justice, freedom, and peace throughout the world. Health as a human right is further addressed under article 25 and undoubtedly claims every individual has right to health and well-being accomplished through attainment of clothing, housing, medical care, social services, food, and security (United Nations. 2014).
In order to contest medicine and public health disparities, Paul Farmer thoughtfully demonstrates how liberation theology can reconcile and advance healthcare through three vital components including a preferential option for the poor, structural violence, and accompaniment. Farmer first considers that “The poor have the right to have rights.” (In Company of the Poor, 2013). Generally poverty sufferers are sicker and more diseased than affluent individuals, leading to premature death in many instances due to deadly pathogenic exposures, lack of healthcare access, or both. Therefore, those attentive to health need to make a “preferential option for the poor,” by laboring and advocating for these individuals in the medical realm (Farmer, 1995). If healthcare systems, as well as foundations, governments, non-governmental organizations, and educational institutions, made a preferential option for the poor, much of the world’s marginalized would not experience continual hardship (Farmer. 2013).
As the human rights approach explores how structured social powers lead to the marginalization of people throughout society, it reveals the outstanding importance of combating structural forces and violence to progress healthcare (Deane-Drummond. 2014). Farmer builds upon the human rights approach with liberation theology and integrates the importance of the role structural violence has in the advancement of medicine and healthcare. As structural violence puts disproportionate amounts of individuals and populations in harmful circumstances due particular societal social structures, Farmer and other liberation theologians seek to lessen these structures through providing a basic human right: health. Since political and economic powerhouses and groups (structural) have a setup that causes harm and injury to individuals, usually the less powerful or marginalized, healthcare workers have a growing obligation to understand structural violence and act to adjust these structures aims. Numerous current public health interventions and medical developments are stagnant as they ignore social determinants of diseases. A disparity that perpetuates this is due to medical personnel not being trained on applicable structural interventions. Therefore, Farmer advocates that medical and public health professionals must push for incorporating structural interventions, in combination with clinical interventions, to properly account for the determinants, distribution, and outcomes of disease (Farmer et al. 2006). Farmer calls for an interdisciplinary approach to medical advancement, as global health is considered by many as “a collection of problems,” and not a holistic discipline. Global health, in the eyes of Farmer and his colleagues, will become a holistic discipline with incorporation of anthropology, sociology, history, and political economy, as such re-socializing disciplines will better account for the structural violence barriers that inhibit global health advancement (Farmer et al. 2013). Once the world realizes that the creation of just institutions will prosper with the destruction of unjust institutions and that allowing the poor to have abundant opportunity is a human right, then we can eliminate the basis of structural violence and create structures that embody health as human right (Farmer. 2013).
Finally, Farmer acknowledges accompaniment, in order to make solidarity functional in society. Accompaniment involves a level of trust, faith, and honesty while simultaneously realizing the real-world challenges, the existence and devastation associated with power and privilege, and therefore, acknowledging and focusing on the marginalized “while walking with them.” One central tenant for Farmer, “From Aid to Accompaniment,” urges a social movement that revolutionizes how countries think about development (Farmer & Gutierrez. 2013). When thinking critically about accompaniment in healthcare, Farmer relates chronic disease and poverty to this idea. Medical professionals throughout the world often question why their patients miss appointments or fail to comply with recommended treatments and thus, blame health problems on the patient. However, Farmer proposes that medical professionals instead of inquiring why the patients don’t do certain things or follow stringent recommendations, should inquire how they can accompany the patients through the life journey, on their journey to recovery, and on their journey to less suffering (Farmer. 2013).
The deliverance of AIDs care in the United States, as Farmer suggests, may be utilized as a case that demonstrates the human rights approach, in conjunction with liberation theology. Estimates indicate that more than 636,000 individuals have AIDS in the United States and 15,529 individuals die each year as a result with the most common form of transmission due to unprotected sex (CDC. 2013). As understanding the social determinants and arrangements of unprotected sex and behavioral patterns are imperative for AIDS treatment, many clinicians in the United States forget to focus on the risk behaviors of individuals and have contrasting understandings on the social nature of AIDS. AIDS in the United States unjustifiably impacts those in poverty. Gender inequality and race are additional social factors that have undeniable associations with AIDS development. Therefore, the question is raised on how can clinicians use the medical knowledge about the disease and identify why and how the poor, racially different, and gender different individuals in America are most affected. The reasoning for the repetitive HIV infections leading to AIDS development include a variety of factors including availability of post exposure prophylaxis, malnourishment, immune system deficiency, risk for or co-infection of tuberculosis, and the availability of opportunistic infection prophylaxis as well as the availability of antiretroviral therapy. The human rights approach would inform that this lack of availability should cease to exist, as every AIDS patients has a right to health and consequential treatment. Risk for HIV infection and the aligned social forces have significantly directed diagnosis, disease staging, and treatment outcomes. More specifically, a study conducted on the HIV population of Baltimore, Maryland found that blacks were less associated with receiving ART treatment, suggesting a discrepancy in healthcare delivery. African Americans lacking insurance had the highest mortality rate, further demonstrating how racism and poverty marginalize an individual’s right to healthcare. The resulting interventions improved access to healthcare and community-based healthcare and in turn, the racial and socio-economic burdens to treatment vanished (Farmer et al. 2006). A preferential option for the poor, or in this case the marginalized African Americans, was granted, by creating interventions that target those suffering most from HIV/AIDS. It’s through the recognition by these interventionists and policymakers in Baltimore (that race and poverty influenced AIDS in this population) that structural violence was lessened and African Americans received their human right of health. Lastly, the African Americans as the worst sufferers of AIDs were accompanied, through continual support of healthcare staff who applied a mindset that unified and aimed to reduce AIDS in Baltimore cohesively. The Baltimore case shows that targeting what contributes most to an individual’s suffering has monumental benefits and restores health as a human right to the marginalized. Ultimately, through this case and Paul Farmer’s transformative perspective on the human rights approach as well as liberation theology, healthcare will be implemented in a way that is just and dignifying for all.
Centers for Disease Control. (2014). HIV/AIDS. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/behavior/index.html.
Deane-Drummond, C. (2014). Global perspectives on social justice. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from https://sakailogin.nd.edu/xsl-portal/site/a84504e0-d086-4304-9d35-2f6ec01b3504/page/e07da897-0923-4e52-a926-a9a5a4496cf8.
ANSWER ONE QUESTION ONLY FROM THIS SECTION. Do not use the same case
studies as you used for section A. (See also qualification above about use of the case studies
you have personally or in a group exercise have already covered in other assessments)
3. Discuss the potential impact of liberation theology on global health care ethics.
Through the application of moral value to issues concerning health, global health ethics encompasses a wide scope of the world’s most concerning health-related disparities including natural disasters, pandemics, and the underlying root cause of poor health perpetuation: poverty (Stapleton et al, 2014). Ethicist Lisa Cahill provides a solid discussion and foundation for global ethics by presenting how theological and philosophical approaches are incorporated to finding a moral agreement across cultures and countries throughout the world. Concepts such as, solidarity emerging in various global situations and the common ideal failing due to economic disparity, showcases how integrating religious thought in global ethics is essential (Deane-Drummond. 2014).
A religious thought, like liberation theology, demonstrates the positive potential influence on global health care ethics. Building on praxis with faith at the center, liberation theology dives into discerning how current “policies, practices, and structures” lead to the marginalization of countless individuals and successively suggest new theoretical theories and transformed praxis. Founding father of liberation theology, Gustavo Gutierrez, explains that through truly understanding that we all have the moral obligation to relay the message, “God loves you,” to those who suffer from poverty and oppression. The marginalized of society must be liberated from the sins of social injustice, as they often suffer from the direct structure of violence in which they have no role. (Farmer & Gutierrez. 2013). The outstanding poverty lies with structural barriers, including lack of nutrition, lack of clean water access, and lack of sanitation, and these barriers negatively influence a person’s health. With respect to healthcare deliverance and global health ethics, public health therefore needs to not only include health interventions, antibiotic therapies, or immunizations, but generate the conditions for sustainable health (Cochrane. 2006). By first creating conditions for the sufficient health among the poor, we liberate their capacities to live a life where health barriers don’t mask their inherent dignity. Further, the a fundamental principle offered by liberation theology, “preferential option for the poor,” displays how we are all called by the gospel to emanate God’s universal love to the most vulnerable of the world and work to break the structures that marginalize them. As liberation theology and Christians place much significance on the concept that life is a gift from God, accompaniment is then necessary to alleviate premature death and suffering, due to ill health. Health in this realm encompasses all aspects of the human experience and death resulting from insufficient resources or income is a horrendous injustice.
Liberation theology offers salvation and liberation for the sin of injustice cultivated through a renewed life with Jesus Christ. Through consciousness raising and assuaging oppressive structures, there can be a collective push to offering humane living conditions and a more fruitful life promised by Christ. It’s also imperative to consider that those most vulnerable don’t all suffer from similar experiences or situations and through including all backgrounds and traditions, we can cohesively discern and emanate God’s salvation (De La Torre. 2013). The idea of structural sin, or the sin of selfishness, exhibits how humanity is disenfranchised and thus, many are prohibited from making their own decisions or choices. This is largely attributed to the social structures that exist to maximize the powerful and affluent of society, leaving those with little resources disadvantaged and most vulnerable to structural sin. Liberation theology calls us to understand that by excluding ourselves from participating in acting to reduce suffering, we are augmenting structural sin and allowing for salvation to be withheld from the marginalized. Since suffering ensues as a result of illness, global health ethics should refer to liberation theology’s stance on suffering and aim to provide healthcare that abolishes suffering and limits the capacity for healthcare institutions propagation of health disparity.
An illustration of structural sin and social injustice comes from a case study on access to health services and a medical laboratory installment project in Kenya’s marginalized populations, particularly the indigenous population. The goal of increasing access to health services for the marginalized have begun by project implementation focusing on the health sector, laboratory improvements, and AIDS. However, the methods of implementation and subsequent results further expose and marginalize the communities’ health, as monitoring and evaluations found. These communities suffer from transportation barriers to the major hospitals, which are far distances from their homes. Transportation is a structural barrier that leaves the vulnerable at an injustice, as the right to access of health is lessened because the structural power didn’t account for distance in the implementation of the healthcare project. Project services haven’t been fully disclosed to the population and therefore the population is highly unaware that health services exist for them to utilize. Without informing the vulnerable population on the available services, we further disenfranchise them, as it doesn’t allow for them to make a decision whether to utilize the health services. In addition, nearby laboratories are producing hazardous wastes with virtually no method of sufficient waste disposal or sewage, polluting the vulnerable communities and increasing their risk for environmental health consequences. By failing to allocate an infrastructure that abstains from purposeful environmental pollution, conditions can’t be created that alleviate suffering and the structural sin that the vulnerable population experiences. It’s through such examples that we understand how vulnerable groups are subject to structural sin and oppressed from others neglect to address the structural barriers that hinder health access and the right to health (EAPHLN. 2009).
Until we sit, walk, and stand ever tall with those that are marginalized, accompanying them in their suffering will be a mere unrealistic picture. With the minimal capability to surpass their oppression, in combination with lack of resources, those in poverty must live to survive. In most cases, the majority of their days are filled with allocating the next meal for their families, the next water source, or where to dispose of waste. Structural barriers, proliferate structural sin, and hence, deny the marginalized their inherent dignity, a right to health, and an opportunity to live in the capacity in which they were called by God.
How may liberation theology and global health ethics intersect to acquire solutions to mitigate the suffering caused by poor health outcomes? In order for global health ethics to properly account for disease disparity, a global state of mind must be developed by healthcare professionals. Through making a “preferential option for the poor,” liberation theology addresses the need to eliminate the denial of proficient health services and by doing so, health outcomes will significantly develop. Thus, solving health barriers paves the path for improving other areas of one’s life and social justice is brought to the optimal forefront (Farmer and Gutierrez. 2013). Expanding on the current ideology that only political and civil factors contribute to human rights, through the realization of the contributions social, economic, and cultural factors make to liberating the marginalized capacities, will the basic health needs that the vulnerable inherently deserve be met. (Benatar et al. 2003)
Benatar, S. , Daar, A. , & Singer, P. (2003). Global health ethics: The rationale for mutual caring. International Affairs, 79(1), 107-138.
Cochrane, J. (2006). Religion, public health and a church for the 21st century. International Review of Mission, 95(376/377), 59-72.
De La Torre, M. (2013). Liberation Theology for Armchair Theologians. Westminster: John Knox Press.
The diocese is hosting a workshop raising disability awareness. Parish leadership from priests to business managers, secretaries, youth ministers, catechists and musicians are invited to the workshop that discusses inclusion and integration of persons with disabilities. The workshop will be the morning of Thursday, Dec. 4 at All Saints Church in Stuart. It features Dr. Nancy Thompson, program director fo rthe National Catholic Paternship on Disability, the coordinator of special needs ministry at St. Francis and contributions from the parents of a child with a disability. Join us to learn how we can be aware of the gifts and contributions our parishioners with disabilities can offer to our parishes. Register by contacting Sherri Simmer at the diocese at 515-237-5058.
Dr. Luvern Gubbels dedicated his life – nearly 50 years of his career – attending to children, parents, bishops and dioceses by working in and promoting Catholic education.
After serving nearly a third of his career with the people of the Diocese of Des Moines, the diocesan Schools Superintendent Dr. Gubbels announced he will retire at the end of the school year in June 2015.
“My first response to Dr. Gubbels, when he told me of his retirement plans, was one of gratitude,” said Bishop Richard Pates. “He has served generously and capably for19 years in the diocese and has helped to guide our schools through many challenges. Our schools remain strong with a solid Catholic identity and outstanding academic achievement. Dr. Gubbels has played an instrumental role in reaching such a status.”
Dr. Gubbels accomplished much during his years in the Diocese of Des Moines. He facilitated the creation of standards, benchmarks and grade/course level expectations for all curriculum areas, facilitated the creation and implementation of a standards-based reporting system, created a schools marketing committee worked with diocesan and local boards of education and school boards, represented the accredited nonpublic school administrators for Heartland AEA, served on the Polk County Empowerment Board and was a member of the Iowa Religious Media board of directors. He serves on the board of Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education.
He has been a strong advocate for financial aid for families that want to send their children to Catholic schools. Dr. Gubbels has supported the financial aid programs Project HOPE and the Catholic Tuition Organization, and has advocated for Iowa ACE, which lobbies state legislators for funding for nonpublic school families.
A product of Catholic schools, Dr. Gubbels followed his passion for Catholic education. After graduating from St. John Vianney Seminary in Elkhorn, Neb., he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Conception Seminary in Conception, Mo. and continued at the seminary before discerning that priesthood was not his vocation.
He began his career teaching at his hometown school in Randolph, Nebraska at St. Francis de Chantel Catholic Grade School. He also taught at Archbishop Rummel High School in Omaha before earning a master’s degree in administration and a specialist degree in education from the University of Nebraska – Omaha. He earned his doctorate in administration, curriculum and administration from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He served as principal of Holy Name School (pre-K- 12) and St. Robert Bellarmine Grade School, then was the coordinator for Catholic Southwest School, all in Omaha. He served as the director of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Winona, Minn. before coming to Des Moines.
In retirement, Dr. Gubbels plans to find ways to continue to serve in Catholic education on a voluntary basis in Omaha.
Bishop Pates is establishing a search committee that will advise him regarding the selection of Dr. Gubbels’ successor as superintendent of schools.
Tomorrow is election day. Visit www.faithfulcitizenship.org to explore how you can love your neighbors by advocating as a faithful citizen on behalf of those who are poor and vulnerable. Make sure you vote tomorrow, Nov. 4!
In their statement "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," the U.S. Catholic bishops apply Catholic teaching to many important issues affecting human life and dignity. As Pope Francis reminds us, “The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.”
The Iowa Department of Education announced Friday that the Des Moines Public Schools will partner with the Diocese of Des Moines to pilot a comprehensive language and literacy development framework for English Language Learners at two public schools (Carver Elementary and Hiatt Middle School) and six nonpublic schools (Christ the King, St. Anthony, Holy Family, St. Theresa, St. Augustin, and Holy Trinity). The project will serve English Language Learners in a variety of ways, from one-on-one instruction to the general education setting, and will include professional development training for teachers. The project will emphasize intensive vocabulary instruction using a variety of classroom activities, as well as providing regular, structured opportunities to develop written language skills.
The partnership is the result of a grant from the state legislature to three school districts including Des Moines Public Schools.
The number of Iowa students participating in English Language Learner programs has more than doubled since 2000, according to the Iowa Department of Education. A total of 25,275 English Language Learners enrolled in Iowa’s public and nonpublic schools during the 2013-14 school year. English Language Learners make up about 5 percent of Iowa’s total school enrollment.
Iowa also faces a significant gap in reading achievement between students who do and do not speak English as their native language, the department said. About 42 percent of English Language Learners in fourth grade were proficient on the state reading test during the 2013-14 school year, compared to 78 percent of native English speakers.
In their statement "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," the U.S. Catholic bishops urge Catholics to form their consciences through being open to truth, studying Scripture and Church teaching, examining facts and background information, and prayerful reflection (no. 18). Visit www.faithfulcitizenship.org to learn about the steps you can take to form your conscience and to watch videos, download podcasts, and access other great resources on conscience formation for faithful citizens.
Bishop Richard Pates has called the year beginning Oct. 19 to be the Year of Marriage & Family in the Diocese of Des Moines to celebrate and enrich marriages and focus on the needs of families, the foundation of our parishes, called the “domestic Church.”
More than half of the diocese’s parishes have already named representatives, or parish ambassadors, who will spread the word of diocesan events related to this special year and who will encourage parish-based events focusing on marriage and family.
The timing of the Year of Marriage & Family in the Diocese of Des Moines is perfect, given the year will be bookended by two major events at the Vatican that also focus on marriage and family. Preceding the diocesan special year is the Oct. 5-19 Extraordinary Synod, a meeting of Pope Francis, bishops, clergy and laypeople where challenges of marriage and family life will be discussed. At the end of the local Year of Marriage & Family, a meeting of bishops is expected to be held at the Vatican where proposals will be offered to Pope Francis for pastorally applying Church teaching in areas of marriage and family.
Just prior to the launch of the Year of Marriage & Family, the diocese hosted a pregnancy and infant loss retreat facilitated by Immaculate Hope Ministries. This retreat, held last weekend, was for couples who have experienced any type of pregnancy or infant loss and a chance for spouses to open the door to communication about their loss.
The official launch of the Year of Marriage & Family comes Sunday, Oct. 19 with a
2 p.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Pates at St. Ambrose Cathedral, 607 High St. in Des Moines. All are invited. The Mass will include a renewal of vows and an anniversary blessing for those celebrating a milestone anniversary. Certificates of blessing are available for couples with a milestone anniversary. Contact Adam Storey, diocesan director of Marriage & Family Life at 515-237-5056 or email@example.com. Immediately after Mass, there will be a free carnival-themed gathering for families at the Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave. All are invited. At the celebration there will be information about various family and marriage ministries active in the diocese and related to upcoming events.
Several opportunities for couples to strengthen their marriages will be available throughout the year. Childcare will be provided for families with young children at these events.
Two marriage enrichment daylong retreats are already planned: Oct. 25 in Osceola and Oct. 26 in Greenfield. Contact Adam Storey for details.
Watch the diocesan website www.dmdiocese.org under Year of Marriage & Family for additional events.
Bishop Richard Pates explains in the fall edition of Catholic Extension magazine that the Diocese of Des Moines is a mission diocese with regard to Hispanic initiatives. Thanks to the help of Catholic Extension, our diocese has been able to employ Mayra Moriel de Banuelos, coordinator of Hispanic Ministry, and Luis Salinas Mendoza, coordinator of Hispanic Youth Ministry. They have begun a Spanish-language RCIA program, a lay ministry program, held an Encuentro (retreat) for Spanish speaking Catholics, begun a Spanish-language radio show, held youth retreats and made seminary visits with Hispanic youth. In addition, they are helping parishes and diocesan staff become more culturally conscious. See the full column by Bishop Pates here on page 38.
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
A safe environment audit recently completed covering 2013-2014 has found the Diocese of Des Moines in compliance with the requirements of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Bishop Richard Pates received a letter dated Sept. 22 from StoneBridge Business Partners of Rochester, New York, stating the diocese was in compliance with the safe environment requirements. The information will be forwarded to the Secretariat of Youth and Child Protection for use in a 2014 audit report.
“We are grateful for the conscientious work of many people who understand that having a safe environment in our parishes and schools for children is a top priority,” said Bishop Pates. “I thank all of the staff and volunteers who take the time to complete the safe environment training and background checks and, in particular, Sister Jude Fitzpatrick and her associates at the Pastoral Center.”
The diocese hopes to implement a new online background screening process in October that should significantly simplify the process and eliminate some of the delays encountered in its current process for performing safe environment background checks.
The diocese relies on the efforts of all those at the parish and school level to make sure staff and volunteers who should have a background check and complete Virtus safe environment training do so.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was created in 2002 by the U.S. bishops following reports of abuse of minors by clergy.
The Diocese of Des Moines has had a policy addressing sexual abuse of minors by clergy since 1988. After the charter was created, a new diocesan policy put more emphasis on the needs of victims and put programs in place to prevent opportunities for abuse.
In their statement "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," the U.S. Catholic bishops apply Catholic teaching to many important issues affecting human life and dignity. One issue is the “continuing destruction of unborn children through abortion and other threats to the lives and dignity of others who are vulnerable, sick, or unwanted” (Introductory Note). Visit www.faithfulcitizenship.org to read the statement and access helpful resources.
This fall we have 28 seminarians studying for the Diocese of Des Moines. These men are discerning if they are called by God to be priests of Jesus Christ in our diocese.
To introduce these men, I would like to share some facts about the group. Out of the 28 seminarians, 14 graduated from the two Catholic high schools in our diocese. This shows that the Catholic high schools are providing a culture of vocations. Out of the 28 men, only 5 were born outside the United States. Of these 5; two graduated high school here in Iowa. Three countries are represented in these 5; South Sudan, Mexico and El Salvador. Out of the 28 seminarians, 16 joined the diocese without a college degree.
Two of our seminarians came to us with advanced degrees. The seminary is broken into three sections. College seminary is where men receive education for an undergraduate degree in Philosophy. If a man comes to us with an undergraduate degree, he spends two years in a Pre-Theology program to learn philosophy and receive human and spiritual formation before entering major seminary. The last four years of education for the seminarian is called major seminary. The men receive an education toward a Master’s degree in Theology. Out of the 28 seminarians, 12 are in college seminary, 4 in Pre-Theology and 12 in major seminary. The Diocese of Des Moines is blessed to have these quality men studying and discerning serving the faithful of the diocese.
The Holy Spirit has been working in our midst to bring these young men to this point. We give thanks to God for all of the men and women of our diocese who are in formation. We thank you for your prayers and support. Together we are creating a culture of
vocations in the diocese. Thank you!
In their statement "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," the U.S. Catholic bishops apply Catholic teaching to many important issues affecting human life and dignity. As Pope Francis reminds us, “The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.” Visit www.faithfulcitizenship.org to read the statement and access helpful resources.
A bridge is an important structure. It helps people and vehicles to get to one side to another in a safe and timely manner. My position as Director of Seminarians has been called a bridge in two ways: A bridge between the seminarians and the Bishop and a bridge between the Bishop and the seminaries. I am to walk with the seminarians as they discern God’s call in their life, I share their progress with the Bishop but I also share the Bishop’s insights with them as well. This open bridge allows the seminarians and the Church to discern God’s call. The Director of Seminarians keeps both the Bishop and the seminaries informed about the seminarians or other important formation matters. Good communication between the Bishop and the seminaries helps the Church to form holy vocations. It is my hope that I help the seminarians safely discern their vocations and assist with the communication between the Bishop and seminaries in a timely manner. Please pray for me that I can be a good bridge.
Join Christians of all ages and denominations for prayer and song as we show we are united in the love of Jesus Christ. Participants will walk, sing, and pray along the Gray's Lake Trail this Sunday from 2-4 p.m. For more information, go to Facebook and look up “Prayer Walk for Jesus.”
The Prengnacy and Infant Loss Masses celebrated by Bishop Richard Pates in Council Bluffs and Des Moines drew many people suffering with the pain of a pregnancy or infant loss. Some people were mourning recent losses and others mourned loss experienced decades ago. The Diocese of Des Moines is taking the next step in offering healing opportunities through a retreat scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 4. The daylong retreat will be at St. Pius X Parish in Urbandale and will be facilitated by Immaculate Hope Retreats. The retreat will be led by Nathan and RyAnne Carr, who experienced the loss of an unborn child just weeks before RyAnne was due. They'll talk about how men and women grieve differently, and couples in the Bible whoe experienced loss. Lunch and snacks will be provided during the retreat. There is no cost to the retreat. Contact Immaculate Hope Retreats to register.
This is it! This is the big weekend for the third Christ Our Life Catholic Regional Conference! Don't have a ticket? You can get one online or at the door for this two-day, faith-filled event. Check out the schedule of speakers, ticket information, location and more at the website. See you there!
Bishop Richard Pates is expected to lead a pilgrimage for peace to Ramallah today, where he hopes to meet with Palestinian officials. After prayer, the 18 bishops on the journey to the Holy Land will head to Jerusalem. Yesterday, the group toured the Old City of Jerusalem including the Western Wall and Dome of the Rock. The bishops prayed for peace at the Western Wall. They celebrated Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes and ended their day in Nazareth.
Bishop Richard Pates and the 17 bishops on a prayer pilgrimage for peace in the Holy Land visited Gaza yesterday. Hear Bishop's reflection on the days' journey. Today, the bishops will tour the Old City of Jerusalem including the Western Wall and Dome of the Rock. At the Western Wall they will place prayers for peace. They'll go to Galilee, lunch at the Mount of Beatitudes and visit the site of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. The bishops will celebrate Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus taught "Blessed are the peacemakers..."
Bishop Richard Pates and the 17 bishops on a prayer pilgrimage for peace with him in the Holy Land will celebrate Mass with Palestinian Christians today. Bishop Pates serves as the chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee for International Justice and Peace. In that role, he has advocated for peace around the world.
Bishop's prayer pilgrimage for peace through the Holy Land brings him to the Church of the Flagellation, Via Dolorosa, where he and the 17 bishops traveling with him will pray for all victims of violence. An ecumenical prayer service for peace will be held at a Lutheran church involving Catholic, Armenian Apostolic, Lutheran and Anglican representatives.
Continuing his peace pilgrimage today, Bishop Richard Pates will tour East Jerusalem including the Mount of Olives, pray with Jews and Christians and have dinner with the U.S. Consul General Michael Ratney. Bishop Pates is leading a pilgrimage with 17 other U.S. bishops through the Holy Land to pray for peace. Bishop sent us some thoughts on his first day of the trip yesterday. Listen here. Check out his video of today's activities.
Today, Bishop Richard Pates and the 17 Catholic bishops on pilgrimage with him in the Holy Land will tour the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which commemorates the place of Jesus' agony, death and resurrection. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, declared the site to be Calvary, and the first church was built starting in 326. The bishops will dedicate their prayer pilgrimage for peace and entrust the pilgrimage to God's care. Bishop just sent us an update on his first day. Listen here.
Bishop Richard Pates boards a plane for Tel Aviv today as he begins a prayer pilgrimage for peace with 17 other Catholic bishops from around the United States. Bishop Pates, who serves as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee for International Justice and Peace, is leading the pilgrimage to pray for peace with Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, to see the work of Catholic Relief Services, and to talk with Israelis and Palestinians.
Bishop Richard Pates is organizing a local interfaith prayer service for peace this Sunday, Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Ambrose, 607 High St. in Des Moines.
The prayer service will focus on the children who have been affected by conflicts in:
Latin America, especially El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
Africa, especially South Sudan and the Central African Republic
Middle East, especially Israel, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan
Bishop Pates, in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for International Peace and Justice, has been a leader in calling for peace across the world. Just this past summer, he visited El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, South Sudan and the Central African Republic in solidarity with the Catholic Church in those countries and learned firsthand of the devastating effects of conflict and war in communities and families. Bishop Pates encouraged bishops across the United States to encourage their parishes to pray for peace last weekend.
At the local prayer service, religious leaders and local ethnic music ensembles have been invited to assist in the preparation and leadership of the service. Special music will be offered by the Heartland Chamber Choir, a Des Moines-area youth choir, and musicians from local ethnic and cultural groups.
For more information, contact Kyle Lechtenberg, director of the Diocese of Des Moines’ Worship Office at 515-237-5046 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tune in to "In the Heartland With Bishop Pates" radio show this Friday at 10 a.m. to hear international humanitarian leader Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow and Tony Melendez, a man born without arms who played his guitary for St. John Paul II. They and several other amazing speakers will be presenting at the Christ Our Life Catholic Regional Conference Sept. 20-21 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Tune in to the radio show online or on the radio dial through Iowa Catholic Radio or Spirit Catholic Radio Network. Then buy your tickets for the Christ Our Life conference in your parish or by going on line to ChristOurLifeIowa.com.
It’s not too late to get your tickets for the third Christ Our Life Regional Catholic Conference Sept. 20-21 at Wells Fargo Arena.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to hear real-life stories of struggle and conversion that will inspire each of us to look closer at our own relationships with God,” said Bishop Richard Pates. “These world-renowned speakers will share their faith journeys through which they have found their own unique ways of doing God’s will. I’m confident each of us who attends the Christ Our Life conference will reflect on how we are instruments of God’s love.”
Thousands of people are expected to pray with New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan and warmly welcome back to central Iowa Mary’s Meals founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, genocide survivor and author Immaculee Ilibagiza, and retreat master and author Father Larry Richards.
Former Miss America Angela Perez Baraquio Grey will share her family’s struggle with mental illness, and former model Mario St. Francis Herrera will explain why he left the fast-track party life. Mark Hart will share his knowledge of scripture with humor and relevance while Tom Peterson will explain how a life-altering conversion led him to use his media skills to boost Catholic evangelization.
Also coming to the heartland is Tony Melendez, a Nicaraguan American guitar player who was born without arms. Returning to Des Moines is musician and storyteller Steve Angrisano, who has inspired people at the 2011 diocesan Centennial Celebration and the last Christ Our Life conference.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students/youth, and $15 for seminarians. Tickets afford attendees the opportunity to come and go at will throughout the entire event. They are available in parishes or by going online to ChristOurLifeIowa.com. For additional ticket information, email tickets@ChristOurLifeIowa.com.
Our Lady's Immaculate Heart and St. Luke Parishes in Ankeny are hosting a St. Monica Mass for the intention of those who have left the Church on Wednesday, Aug. 27. Last year, more than 200 people attended! This is an opportunity for those who are praying hard for their loved ones to come back to the Church to gather together with the same intention. St. Monica, through her prayer, converted her husband and mother-in-law to the Catholic Church. Thanks to her prayers, her son also changed his ways and eventually became St. Augustine. Mass will be at Our Lady's Immaculate Heart, 501 E. 1st St. in Ankeny beginning at 6:30 p.m. Food, fellowsip and the sharing of a personal story will follow. Helpful resources will also be available. All are invited.
Join us in celebrating rural life and stewardship of the land this Sunday, Aug. 17 at 2 p.m. at the farm of Tom and Amy Doud near Stuart, Iowa. Take I-80 to the Stuart exit and go south to 110th St. Then go east three miles to get to the farm. This is a great way to honor the many people whose roots are in farming. Come out and enjoy a great summer day on the farm!
Msgr. Gerald Stessman will celebrate Mass for the holy day of obligation (Assumption of Mary) on Friday, Aug. 15 at the Iowa State Fair in Pioneer Hall beginning at 7:30 a.m. He will also celebrate Mass on the last day of the fair, Sunday, Aug. 17, at 7:15 a.m. in Pioneer Hall.
The Brewing Faith speaker series continues tomorrow night beginning at 6:30 at Raccoon River Brewing Co., 200 10th St. in Des Moines. This is an event for young adults 21+ (and the young at heart) to gather after work for dinner, drinks and discussion. Join the Novos Young Adults group in the River Room to get the fun & food/drink orders rolling. A short talk will begin after dinner, followed by Q&A and table discussion. For more information, contact Tessa Roberts at 515-237-5098 or visit Novos Young Adults on Facebook.
Bishop Richard Pates, the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee of International Justice and Peace asked the U.S. bishops to invite the people of their dioceses to pray for peace in Iraq this Sunday, Aug. 17. Bishop Pates made the request Aug. 6, sending the bishops the text of a prayer written by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako.
Bishop Pates recounted the struggles of Christians and others in Iraq who have faced the destruction, burning and looting of churches, homes and businesses and, under threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) to join their extremist brand of Islam, have fled for their lives. Accordingly, he urged Catholics to let their elected representatives know of their concern that humanitarian assistance reach Christian and other religious minorities who are suffering in Iraq, Syria and other countries.
Bishop Pates also noted Pope Francis’ calls for peace in Iraq and his observation that “violence generates more violence; dialogue is the only path to peace.”
The full text of Patriarch Sako’s prayer for peace follows:
The plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courageto continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
Msgr. Gerald Stessman will celebrate Mass at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday at 7:15 a.m. at Pioneer Hall. He will also celebrate Mass next Sunday, Aug. 17, at the same place and time. Msgr. Stessman will offer Mass on the holy day of obligation, the Assumption of Mary on Aug. 15, at 7:30 a.m. in Pioneer Hall at the Iowa State Fair.
Young adults who will be between the ages of 18 and 35 by July 19, 2016 are invited to join Bishop Pates on a pilgrimage to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day, a gathering of more than 3 million young adults celebrating the Catholic faith with Pope Francis. We will be walking and praying in the footsteps of St. John Paul II, St. Faustina and St. Maximilian Kolbe. The diocese welcomes individuals within and outside the Des Moines diocese. Stipulations apply for families of minors who wish to join the pilgrimage. Online registration and more information is available at www.dmdiocese.org/wyd. Registration is requested by Oct. 1 for appropriate planning.
Did you know St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Student Center (on the Drake Campus) is the home of the Catholic Deaf Community? Sign language is available every Sunday at the 10:30 a.m. Mass. St. Catherine’s is the only Catholic parish in the state to offer sign language interpreters at Mass every Sunday. For more information please contact Peggy Chicoine at email@example.com.
The Christ Our Life Catholic Regional Conference is getting closer. Tickets may be purchased online by going to the website clicking on “Purchase Tickets.” Tickets are also available in parishes. Adult all-weekend ticket passes, which allow attendees to come and go throughout the weekend, are $25 for adults and $15 for students/youth. Volunteers' cost is $15.
Bishop Richard Pates sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to seek a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Bishop Pates serves as the chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace. Click here to read the letter.
Bishop Richard Pates, along with the bishops from the other three Iowa dioceses, issued a statement through the Iowa Catholic Conference on the situation of children and families fleeing war and violence in Central America, arriving at the southern border of the United States. The statement is as follows:
"A November 2013 report from the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee on Migration alerted us to the ongoing increase in migration of unaccompanied children across the border. More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border since the beginning of the year.
"The report found a “perfect storm” of reasons leading to this phenomenon, including an absence of economic opportunities, a lack of access to education, and a desire to reunify with family in the United States. One cause has played a decisive role in recent years: extreme violence in the countries of origin and a corresponding breakdown of the rule of law. This violence has resulted in part because of the drug trade driven by users in the United States.
"We appreciate government officials for responding as best they can to this crisis and ask them to make sure that legal services are available to unaccompanied children. Children without family in the U.S. are at risk of being sent back to an unsafe situation. The best interests of these children should be a priority.
In a recent statement for World Refugee Day, Pope Francis said “Jesus was a refugee” and called upon Catholics and others to “alleviate their suffering in a concrete way.” We are responding the best we can through our Catholic Charities organizations and ask the government to do the same."
Bishop Pates, who is traveling in El Salvador on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent to us his reaction on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this week on religious liberty. Bishop said:
"I join in the broad consortium of ecumenical, business and constitutional advocates in expressing appreciation for the decision of the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. At stake is recognition for the application of the First Amendment and the guarantee of Religious Freedom.
“Yet in judicial process in conjunction with the HHS mandate are approximately 60 cases which deal with the notion that religious freedom is exercised not only in freedom of worship but expressing one's faith in action. The principal case currently applicable is that of the Little Sisters of the Poor in insisting that the dedicated service of these women to the elderly poor qualifies for protection in the exercise of religious liberty.
“The Catholic Church has strongly advocated for health care as a human right but to be implemented without imposing practices that are contrary to long standing religious beliefs."
“Me junto con un consorcio grande de defensores ecuménicos, empresarios y constitucionales en expresar la apreciación por la decisión de la corte suprema en el caso de Hobby Lobby. En juego está el reconocimiento de la aplicación de la primera enmienda de la constitución y la garantía de libertad religiosa.
“De todas maneras en el proceso judicial sobre el mandato del departamento de servicios humanos hay aproximadamente 60 casos que tratan con la idea de que la libertad religiosa esta expresada no solamente en la libertad de culto sino también en la expresión de la fe en acción de cada uno. El caso principal más aplicable actualmente es el de las Hermanitas de los Pobres que insiste que el servicio dedicado de estas mujeres hacia los ancianos pobres califica para la protección del ejercicio de la libertad religiosa.
“La iglesia católica ha advocado fuertemente por la salud como un derecho humano, pero debe estar implementada sin imponer prácticas que son contrarias a las creencias religiosas tradicionales.”
Bishop Richard Pates has placed Father Howard Fitzgerald on indefinite administrative leave following a determination by the diocesan Allegation Review Committee that an allegation of a decades-old incident of sexual abuse of a minor is credible.
While on administrative leave, Father Fitzgerald cannot function publicly as a priest. Bishop Pates has asked him to refrain from wearing the clerical garb.
The matter is being forwarded to the Vatican.
Bishop Pates has apologized to the victim, who asked for anonymity. The diocese will honor the request.
“It is a top priority that we address all credible allegations of sexual abuse in the manner outlined by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. In addition, the diocese continues to do all it can to ensure we create a safe environment for children and all vulnerable individuals in our churches and schools,” said Bishop Pates.
After learning of the allegation, the victim was provided the services of the Victim Assistance Advocate of the Diocese of Des Moines. Local law enforcement where the alleged abuse occurred and the Allegation Review Committee were informed.
The matter was studied by the Allegation Review Committee, which has among its members a judge, a licensed clinical social worker, a police detective, an attorney, a priest and a permanent deacon. During the committee’s investigation, Bishop Pates had asked Father Fitzgerald to step aside from his parish responsibilities at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianola and Immaculate Conception Parish in St. Marys and at Simpson College.
Bishop Pates will celebrate the Masses this weekend, July 5-6, at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianola and Immaculate Conception in St. Marys. Mass times are: Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas; Sunday 8 a.m. at Immaculate Conception and 10:15 a.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas.
In 2002, the U.S. bishops created the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which offers a comprehensive set of guidelines on reporting sexual abuse, accountability, reports to a national board and mandatory education programs in parishes and schools.
As of January, 14,416 people in the Diocese of Des Moines had undergone training and background checks designed to help create a safe environment for children and young people. To learn more about the Virtus training, go to www.dmdiocese.org/virtus.cfm.
Quoting a 2010 column which he wrote for “The Catholic Mirror,” Bishop Pates reaffirmed the Church’s commitment to do all it can to protect children in matters of sexual misconduct.
“The bottom line in all of this is that the Catholic Church cares about children – all children – and wants to protect them. Jesus had a special place in his heart for them and the Church can be no less loving. That’s why abuse of children by priests, the overwhelming majority of whom are dedicated, caring people, is a great embarrassment and causes pain for victims, their families and all the church’s members.”
The Diocese of Des Moines encourages victims of sexual abuse by clergy and their families to contact the diocesan Victim Assistance Advocate, Sherry Knox. She is a staff member at Polk County Victim Services. She assists victims through the complaint process and in seeking support and counseling services. She can be reached at 515-286-2028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consejero sobre Asistencia de Victimas El Consejero sobre Asistencia de Víctimas es un empleado de Polk County Victim Services. Ella ayuda a víctimas de abuso sexual por parte del clero durante el proceso de la queja y buscando servicios de apoyo y consejería. Pueden comunicarse al 515-286-2028 o en email@example.com.
Father Fitzgerald has served at the following places:
St. Albert High School, Council Bluffs
St. Pius X Church, Urbandale
Pastoral Team serving: St. Mary, Panama; St. Mary, Portsmouth; and
St. Boniface, Westphalia
St. Peter and St. Francis Worship Center, Council Bluffs
Holy Spirit, Creston; and St. Edward, Afton
St. Patrick, Dunlap; and Sacred Heart, Woodbine
St. Michael, Harlan
Ss. John & Paul, Altoona
St. Joseph, Earling; and St. Peter, Defiance
St. Patrick, Dunlap; Holy Family, Mondamin; Sacred Heart, Woodbine
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Glenwood
St. Thomas Aquinas, Indianola; and Immaculate Conception, St. Marys
El Obispo actúa en acusación de abuso
Un sacerdote tiene licencia indefinida durante el proceso
Monseñor Richard Pates ha dado a Padre Howard FitzGerald una licencia administrativa indefinida después de una determinación por el Allegation Review Committee de la diócesis que una acusación de hace una década del abuso sexual a un menor de edad es creíble.
Mientras tiene la licencia, el Padre Fitzgerald no puede funcionar públicamente como sacerdote. Monseñor Pates le ha pedido que no use ropa clerical.
El asunto ha sido mandado al Vaticano.
Monseñor Pates ha pedido perdón de la víctima, quien pidió anonimidad. La diócesis honrará su petición.
“Es una prioridad importante que tratemos con todas las acusaciones creíbles del abuso sexual en la manera requerida por el Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. También, la diócesis continua haciendo todo la que puede para crear un ambiente seguro para los niños y todos los individuos vulnerables en nuestras iglesias y escuelas,” dijo Monseñor Pates.
Después de que la diócesis averiguó de la acusación, la víctima estaba proveído con los servicios del Victim Assistance Advocate of the Diocese of Des Moines. La diócesis también informó a la policía donde el abuso presunto ocurrió y al Allegation Review Committee.
El Allegation Review Committee, que incluye entre sus miembros un juez, un trabajador social licenciado, un detective de la policía, un abogado, un sacerdote y un diácono permanente, estudió el asunto. Durante la investigación, Monseñor Pates había pedido a Padre Fitzgerald dejar sus responsabilidades en las parroquias de St. Thomas Aquinas en Indianola y Immaculate Conception en St. Mary’s y también en Simpson College.
Monseñor Pates celebrará las misas este fin de semana, el 5-6 de julio, en la parroquia de St. Thomas y Immaculate Conception en St. Mary’s. Las horas de las misas son: 5:30 p.m. el sábado en St. Thomas Aquinas; 8 a.m. el domingo en Immaculate Conception; y 10:15 a.m. en St. Thomas Aquinas.
En 2002, los obispos de EEUU crearon el Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, que ofrece un conjunto exhaustivo de directrices en el reporte de abusos sexuales, la responsabilidad, los reportes a una mesa directiva nacional y programas educativos obligatorios en las parroquias y escuelas.
Hasta enero, 14,416 personas en la Diocese of Des Moines habían tenido entrenamiento y chequeos de antecedentes designados a ayudar a crear un ambiente seguro para los niños y jóvenes. Para averiguar más sobre el entrenamiento de Virtus, vaya a www.dmdiocese.org-virtus.cfm.
Citando una columna de 2010 que escribió Monseñor Pates para The Catholic Mirror, el reafirmó el compromiso de la iglesia a hacer todo lo posible para proteger a los niños de la mala conducta sexual.
“Lo importante en todo esto es que la Iglesia Católica se preocupa por los niños – todos los niños – y quiere protegerlos. Jesús tuvo un lugar especial en su corazón para ellos y la iglesia no puede hacer menos. Eso es porque el abuso de niños por los sacerdotes, la mayoría grande de los cuales son personas dedicadas y bondadosas, es una vergüenza y causa del dolor para las víctimas, sus familias y todos los miembros de la iglesia.”
The Diocese of Des Moines pide a las víctimas de abuso sexual por el clero y a sus familias de contactar el Victim Assistance Advocate de The Diocese of Des Moines, Sherry Knox. Ella es una empleada del Polk County Victim Services. Ella asiste a las víctimas en el proceso de reclamos y en buscar apoyo y servicios de consejería. Se puede comunicar con ella llamando al 515 286-2028 o escribiendo a firstname.lastname@example.org.
Padre Fitzgerald ha estado en los lugares siguientes:
St. Albert High School, Council Bluffs
St. Pius X Church, Urbandale
Pastoral team para St. Mary, Panama; St. Mary, Portsmouth; and St. Boniface, Westphalia
St. Peter and St. Francis Worship Center, Council Bluffs
Holy Spirit, Creston; and St. Edward, Afton
St. Patrick, Dunlap; and Sacred Heart, Woodbine
St. Michael, Harlan
Ss. John and Paul, Altoona
St. Joseph, Earing; and St. Peter, Defiance
St. Patrick, Dunlap; Holy Family, Mandarin; Sacred Heart, Woodbine
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Glenwood
St. Thomas Aquinas, Indianola; and Immaculate Conception, St. Mary’s
If you will be between the ages of 18 and 35 by July 19, 2016, consider joining Bishop Pates on a pilgrimage to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day, a gathering of more than 3 million young adults celebrating the Catholic faith with Pope Francis. We will be walking and praying in the footsteps of St. John Paul II, St. Faustina and St. Maximilian Kolbe. The diocese welcomes individuals within and outside the Des Moines diocese. Stipulations apply for families of minors who wish to join the pilgrimage. For questions or registration information, contact Tessa Schealler at 515-237-5098 or email@example.com, or visit www.dmdiocese.org/wyd.
Bishop Richard Pates announced four Diocese of Des Moines appointments, all of which are effective July 1, 2014.
Father David Fleming has been appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Des Moines. This position, codified in the Church’s Canon Law, is filled by an ordained member of the clergy who assists the Bishop in the governing of the diocese. Father Fleming will serve as Vicar General while continuing in his role as pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Urbandale and diocesan exorcist.
A graduate of Dowling Catholic High School, he attended Grand View University, the University of Northern Iowa, St. Ambrose University in Davenport and completed his theology studies at North American College in Rome.
Father Fleming was ordained in 1990 and has served in administration and parish ministry. He has served St. Augustin and St. Ambrose Parishes in Des Moines, Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Parish in Ankeny, All Saints Parish in Stuart and St. Patrick Parish in Council Bluffs prior to being appointed pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Urbandale in 2012. He also has served as diocesan Director of Vocations and Chancellor of the Diocese of Des Moines.
Jason Kurth will undertake additional responsibility in the new role of Co-Chancellor of the Diocese of Des Moines. He has a B.A. degree in history from the University of Northern Iowa. In addition, he holds an M.Div degree from Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. In 2013, he was awarded a master’s degree in Church Management from Villanova University. As Co-Chancellor, he will assist with special projects as designated by the Bishop and serve as a resource in parish and diocesan planning efforts.
Laura Hofstrand, who has been a member of the diocesan staff since August, 2008, has been appointed Accounting Manager. She is originally from Mason City. She obtained a B.A. in accounting from Iowa State University and last year completed an MBA at ISU. In her new position, she will: be the lead auditor for internal control reviews at parishes and schools; manage the diocesan payroll, cash receipt and disbursement processes; and assist with supervisory duties.
John “Duy” Huynh has been appointed as Vocation Specialist for the Diocese of Des Moines. He will undertake this role while remaining a full-time theology teacher at Dowling Catholic High School.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in theology from Loras College in Dubuque. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Barry University at Miami Shores, Fla. He will provide assistance to the Office of Vocations in coordination with Bishop and the Vocations Team.
Have you seen the article Bishop Pates penned for America magazine? In it, he addresses the moral implications of military action. "This review of the church's engagement with U.S. policy in Iraq is meant to help ensure that the moral obligations and limits on our nation’s conduct in the world will not again be ignored," he wrote. Check out the full article.
Join us in marking the third occasion of the Fortnight for Freedom with prayer for religious liberty and the freedom to serve. We're gathering on Sunday, June 22 at St. Ambrose Cathedral at 2 p.m. for a holy hour, a keynote address in English and Spanish by Omar Gutierrez of the Archdiocese of Omaha, and a reception.
A big thank you to everyone to helped make Fairway Fathers golf outing a big success! We appreciate all the help from the parishes, the Knights of Columbus and others who gave their time to help those who are interested in a vocation to priesthood this valuable opportunity to have fun and visit with priests in a relaxed setting. It's a great opportunity for young men to talk to our diocesan priests about what their vocation has been like. If you're interested in information about a vocation to priesthood, or you'd like information on upcoming events, contact the diocesan Vocations Office or call 515-237-5050.
We're having summertime fun while lending a hand to help others. Bishop Richard Pates threw out the first pitch at the June 5 Catholic Charities at the Iowa Cubs game. Proceeds from skyboxese, ticket sales and an auction will be used by Catholic Charities help those in need. Sister Jude Fitzpatrick was in charge of the hotdog gun for a while.
Two days later, on Saturday, June 7, 15 priests and some Iowa Knights of Columbus formed a team to compete in the Plane Pull for Special Olympics. The White Collar Crew team pulled a Boeing 757 for 15 feet. Check out Father Ray Higgins giving it his all as they pulled-off the feat in the pouring rain.
Calling all young men, 16 years or older, who are interested in learning more about the priesthood. We invite you to golf (or mini-golf) for free with Bishop Richard Pates, priests and seminarians of our diocese on Monday, June 16 at Blank Golf Course in Des Moines. This is a great opportunity to ask what it's like to be a priest in a relaxed environment. Shotgun start is at 9 a.m. and the mini-golf challenge is at noon. A reception, awards and bbq lunch is at 1 p.m. We have spots available for those who want to support the event and join us on the course. The cost is $85 per person, which includes green and cart fees, snacks and lunch. All proceeds will benefit our diocesan seminarians. If you want to support our seminarians but you're not a golfer, don't worry! You can join Father Dan Kirby for free at the mini-golf area at noon and then join us for the reception and lunch at 1 p.m. Please register by June 9 by completing this form. You can also email us here or call us at 515-237-5014.
We have until Tuesday to step up to the plate and get tickets for Catholic Charities Night at the Iowa Cubs on Thursday, June 5. Proceeds from ticket sales made by Tuesday help those who come to Catholic Charities seeking assistance. Sponsored by Mercy Medical Center, the event raises enough funds to support Catholic Charities' St. Mary Family Center food and clothing pantry in Des Moines for about six months. Click here for your ticket options and to learn more about how you can have fun at Principal Park while helping people in need at the same time.
There are only three weeks left until the June 5 Catholic Charities Night at the Iowa Cubs. Bring family and friends for a fun night out at the ballpark. Enjoy the silent auction, fireworks and baseball while knowing that proceeds from your ticket sales benefit those who come to Catholic Charities seeking a helping hand. More than 25,000 people last year sought help from Catholic Charities. Ticket options range from $5 and $10 to $20 with a pre-game meal, $75 for the Bishop's reception and $2,000 for a skybox. Dont' forget the raffle tickets: $20 each or 3 for $50 can win you a 50-inch TV or new lawn mower! Get tickets online by clicking here. You can also email or call Ken Bresnan at 515-237-5089.
After the kidnapping of 276 school girls in Nigeria, Bishop Richard Pates urged the U.S. government to work with Nigeria and faith-based groups to build social cohesion and end violence. Bishop Pates, who chairs the U.S. bishops' Commitee on International Justice and Peace, sent a letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rice encouraging the United States to work both with the government of Nigeria and faith-based institutions.
“The Church in Nigeria has called for continuous dialogue among political, military and religious leaders to end the violence, complemented by effective police and military action that brings perpetrators of violence to justice while respecting human and civil rights,” wrote Bishop Pates. Referring to both Christian and Muslim faith-based institutions, he said, “Their efforts will be crucial in counteracting the extremist religious views espoused by Boko Haram.”
Bishop Pates has also written to Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, to express the U.S. bishops’ solidarity. He added that he was encouraged by the efforts of the U.S. government to help Nigeria bring the perpetrators to justice.
The diocese's Finance Department is looking for volunteers with experience in internal controls, auditing or accounting to help provide assistance to parishes in implementing good business practices. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops asked all dioceses to provide such assistance. Two years ago, Bishop Richard Pates approved a three-year plan to employ a set of internal controls and verification at all parishes. Since then, the diocese has issued a parish resource manual, held quarterly business office forums, offered self-assessment surveys and conducted a peer review process. The next step, says diocesan Director of Finance Paul Carlson, is to introduce professional, onsite reviews at each parish and school. If you can volunteer for this effort, contact Christie Rice or Paul Carlson. The diocesan Finance Department will provide refresher training if needed.
This year, World Day of Prayer for Vocations falls on the same day as Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11. In thanksgiving to mothers for their willingness to pray for vocations and for encouraging their children to consider where God is calling them, Bishop Richard Pates is inviting all the faithful to a holy hour for vocations at St. Augustin Parish on Mother's Day at 3 p.m. with diocesan Vocations Director Father Joe Pins. The Diocese of Des Moines currently has 21 seminarians. We pray that parents will encourage their children to remain open to discerning whether God calls them to priesthood or consecrated life.
The Annual Diocesan Appeal kicks off in parishes this weekend. The ADA supports the bishop and ministries of the Diocese of Des Moines. The appeal provides more than 60 percent of diocesan operating revenue on an annual basis. The remainder of the operating revenue is generated through grants, fees and endowment earnings. Please be generous in your parish's ADA. The funds support a range of ministries from seminarian formation to bishop's work, from Hispanic Ministry and resources for religious education programs to assistance for our Catholic schools and human resource guidance for parishes. For more information on the ADA, click here.
Sister Helen Prejean, known for her work against capital punishment, will be at Drake University’s Sheslow Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Tuesday to talk about capital punishment. The lecture is free and open to the public. Her visit supports the Des Moines Metro Opera’s production of “Dead Man Walking” which runs June 28-July 19.
Local artist William Fultz is making available prints of two pictures he created of the newly canonized Saint Pope John Paul II and Saint Pope John XXIII. The image of Pope John Paul II was created after Fultz attended the pope's visit to Living History Farms in 1979. The image of Pope John XXIII was created for a friend, the late Msgr. Michael Schwarte. To see the images and place your order, contact St. Francis of Assisi Parish in West Des Moines at 515-223-4577.
How are you continuing your faith journey during this Easter season? Seminarian Reed Flood recently traveled on a mission trip to Kingston, Jamaica and what he experienced has changed his perspective. We're posting his journal entries in a series each day this week to help us pray and reflect on how we can be Christ's light to others.
When the high-pitched ringing of morning bells woke me on day 4, I couldn’t help but cling to my mattress for a few extra minutes of sleep. I was exhausted! I began to rattle off excuses for missing Morning Prayer; I couldn’t serve the poor if I wasn’t rested, missing one Holy Hour wouldn’t affect me, this stiff and squeaky bunk is much too comfortable! Throughout all my incessant whining, a solid conviction rang out in the depths of my heart, “You Need This Prayer.” I rolled off the mattress and trudged to the chapel.
Reaching the chapel felt like a miniature victory. I surveyed the lethargic group of seminarians and noticed we were all suffering from fatigue. Despite the severe drowsiness, we finished our 2 hours of prayer and began to head upstairs for breakfast. As I was leaving the chapel, a fellow seminarian patted me on the back and whispered, “Let’s go save the world.” He then turned and trotted up the staircase. Looking back on it, I’m not exactly sure what he meant. We weren’t saving the world, we were in Kingston, Jamaica. We were worn down seminarians who hadn’t shaved for days (we looked scrappy). We certainly didn’t look like superheroes, and we definitely didn’t feel like saving the w
orld. However, after hearing his words, a small seed of energy began to sprout in my heart. It grew and intensified as I ascended the staircase. Finally, when I reached the top step, the tiny seed had blossomed into an outpouring of confidence. I blinked away the drowsiness from my eyes and drew in a deep breath. I was ready to serve.
After breakfast we piled into the truck and began our familiar route through the slums. Before long, the driver parked the truck outside a rusty looking compound and shouted, “Faith Center!” This was my destination for the day. We hopped down from the truck and walked through the gates.
Faith Center was a compound for grown men with disabilities. Like Bethlehem, I would be helping people with disfigurements and severe mental disorders. This time, however, I wouldn’t be working with teenagers or cute babies; I’d be working with grown men.
As I walked into the Faith Center, I could immediately tell this center had the worst conditions of them all. Everything was outdoors! Their eating area floor was covered with dirt and their sleeping quarters looked filthy and cramped. The brothers led me and another seminarian to a pile of grimy mattresses which were lying in the sun. He handed us a bucket of soapy water with two wash rags and asked us if we’d help clean the mattresses. We scrubbed down the gritty, smelly mattresses as best we could.
Unlike Bethlehem, the residents in the Faith Center did not wear diapers so cleaning the mattresses was extra challenging. We scrubbed nearly 60 mattresses until the water in our bucket began to turn murky. Finally, we heard the ringing of bells for lunch. For the first time all week, I rejoiced at the sound of those bells. I told myself I wasn’t hungry after what I had just done, but my growling stomach quickly changed my mind. Before eating, I made sure to wash my hands…twice.
We ate rice and beans alongside the Missionaries of the Poor. We pondered how these brothers could serve the poor each and every day; cleaning dirty mattresses, changing diapers, and performing many other difficult (and at times, disgusting) works of charity. It appeared to be such a monotonous and miserable life! One seminarian in our group finally got the courage to ask a brother, “Is this work fun for you?” The brother put down his fork and looked at him with a gentle grin, “The work is not fun, no.” We seminarians stared at each other perplexed. The brother continued, “Doing God’s will is not always easy, correct? What is God’s will? It is to love, yes? Is loving easy? People may think so, but love can be very painful.” We were doing our best to think up with answers to his many questions.
The brother didn’t wait for our reply, “Look at the cross! Was Jesus having fun when he was nailed to the cross?” This time he waited for us. I looked to my fellow seminarian and then back to the brother, “No….” I cautiously stammered. “Exactly! He wasn’t having fun! But here’s the beautiful thing; although he wasn’t having fun, he was dying joyfully!” I thought briefly about this interesting paradox –a man dying joyfully. Meanwhile, the brother was gaining momentum, “Jesus died joyfully on the cross because he knew he was fulfilling his Father’s will. He knew he was saving you from death by dying on the cross. He was joyful because he knew he was loving you!” As the brother spoke, I could see his face light up with enchantment. It seemed as if his entire body was glowing with delight. This is when the brother informed us of their creed; “Joyful Service with Christ on the Cross.” I could see the brothers at the Missionary of the Poor desire to love more than anything. The brothers wanted to love like Christ, so they gave up everything, even their own lives, to love those with nothing. I could now see the paradox. This brother, after giving up everything, truly possessed everything! He gave up his whole life to love Christ in the Poor. He gave up his life to love God.
I left the meal a changed man. I could see all the attachments in my own life which were preventing me from loving God. I realized that one day, all my material attachments would be gone. Was I allowing myself to give up everything –my love for God– for nothing? A man tossed a Frisbee in my direction. I looked up to see a hunched over Jamaican man wearing a large T-shirt. He hobbled over to me and smiled. I picked up the disc and joined the man for nearly an hour of toss-and-catch. Several other men began to take interest in our game. A boy named Jason hesitantly walked over. Jason had a tremendous growth which completely masked one half of his face. One eye was angled upwards and his mouth could hardly open. I lowered the disc and asked if he cared to join us. He began to smile and gave a gentle head nod. I played Frisbee with my two new friends until the bus arrived to pick us up. Throughout the rest of the evening, I couldn’t refrain from thinking about the words spoken by the brother, “Joyful Service with Christ on the Cross.”
As crawled into my mosquito netted bunk, I paused to recount all the events of the day. Love isn’t always fun. I clenched my mattress and remembered the struggle of waking up for Holy Hour in the morning. When times are challenging and we begin to slip into darkness and doubt, a simple whisper from a friend can rekindle our inner flame, “Let’s go save the world.”
From my discussion with the brother, I learned that giving up my life for another person is the greatest love on earth. I began to drift off into sleep, but not before remembering what the brothers had taught me. True love is not always easy, in fact it can feel like being nailed to a cross. Yet, this is the love that matters. This is the love that brings the most abundant joy, and this is the love our Father has for us all.
How are you continuing your faith journey during this Easter season? Seminarian Reed Flood recently traveled on a mission trip to Kingston, Jamaica and what he experienced has changed his perspective. We're posting his journal entries in a series each day this week to help us pray and reflect on how we can be Christ's light to others.
After witnessing the astounding joy within the walls of Bethlehem, I questioned the appearance of true beauty. Is there truly something more beautiful than what I can see and touch? Is beauty physical, or was it hidden within the souls of the children and brothers in Bethlehem? I pondered these questions as we drove to Mass at the local parish for day 3 of the mission trip. As it just so happened, the church was located directly above the Bethlehem center I had served at the previous day. Coincidence?
As we drove through the gates, I noticed an enormous crowd of Jamaicans congregating to the chapel upstairs. It appeared as if the entire neighborhood would be joining us for Mass! I stepped off the truck and was immediately greeted by a grey-haired, jolly Jamaican man bearing a massive grin. He reached out his hand and introduced himself, “My name’s Junior man, I’m 46 years old. It’s great to see you man!” (It’s true, Jamaicans use “man” in nearly every sentence).
I grabbed his hand, and immediately a surge of delight flooded through my entire body. “Welcome to Jamaica man!” Although we only spoke for a few minutes, we became like two childhood friends; laughing, shaking hands, and patting each other on the back. Eventually, the time had come for Mass to start so I bid him farewell and returned to our group. It was only later when I discovered that Junior had contracted the AIDS virus earlier in life. He was living as a patient at one of the centers. Yet after our joyful encounter, his ailment didn’t degrade my view of him in the slightest. It wasn’t Junior’s disease which defined him, it was his inner joy.
We continued into the chapel and dipped our fingers into the conch-shell holy water bowl by the entrance (a clever idea in my opinion). We were invited to sit towards the front with the children from the Missionaries of the Poor centers. Sure enough, the boy who held my hat from the day before sat next to me. When he saw my face, his eyes lit up and he began clapping his hands. I couldn’t help but reach out and grasp his little fingers.
In the United States, we refer to the mass as a celebration. Well, in Jamaica, they literally “celebrate” during mass. The celebration began with a progression of guitar, keyboard, and of course the bongos! People sang loudly, clapped their hands, and I’m pretty sure I saw some Jamaican ladies dancing. When the priest asked for the gifts to be brought forward, people didn’t pass around baskets for pocket change. Instead, members of the congregation stood up and brought forward their own baskets! Each basket was overflowing with fresh fruits, house supplies, and homegrown vegetables. What a sight! I personally enjoyed the Eucharistic hymn “Roll over the Ocean.”
The priest on stage began dancing and pointing to the Host singing, “It’s Christ! It’s Christ! It’s Christ who builds community!” I’ll admit, I wasn’t used to all the holding hands and dancing, but I’m incredibly grateful for experiencing beautiful celebration in an entirely new and refreshing light. After the two hour service, the priest invited us up for a blessing and bid us farewell. As we loaded into the truck, I noticed a man waving and running toward us. It was Junior! When I looked at Junior, I saw through the sickness and realized I was gazing into the eyes of Christ. He put on a big Jamaican grin and shouted, “God bless ya man!” Once again, my heart leapt with delight.
We returned to the compound, slightly worn out from the vibrant celebration. We spent the afternoon napping and collecting our energy. The brothers had challenged the seminarians to a game of football later that evening, so we’d need as much rest as possible. Of course, when I say “football” I mean soccer. A game I hadn’t played since the second grade. I played American football all my entire life and I considered myself a pretty decent ball player. Unfortunately, tackling and blocking will get you nowhere in Jamaican football.
Regardless, I laced up my tennis shoes and jumped into the truck. We drove through the city until we reached a massive open lot where numerous small Jamaican children were running wildly and kicking soccer balls. We parked the truck on the corner of one field and hopped onto the grass (what was left of the grass). The field primary consisted of dirt, rocks, and shards of rusty metal. Despite the rough terrain, the brothers tossed the ball onto the field and began playing. Some weren’t even wearing shoes! In the end, the brothers outscored us 5-2, and the seminarians returned to the compound beaten and sunburnt. In spite of the beat down, I enjoyed every minute of the fast paced action.
After the amusing day of worship and play, I retired to my mosquito netted bunk and thanked God for this brief hiatus amidst the strenuous rushing and volunteering. Starting on Monday, we’d begin serving full days at the centers. The work load would increase and so would our prayer. I knew a demanding week lay ahead, but deep down I could still sense Junior’s delightful energy stirring somewhere within me from when we shook hands. My soul tingled when I thought of holding the twisted fingers of the boy with the hat. Through these encounters, I could see God grasping my hand and leading me deeper into His hidden abundance of warm joy. I knew He’d provide the energy. I knew He’d provide the joy. Most importantly, I knew I’d see him face-to-face in the days to come.
Father, thank you for giving me rest when I ask for it. I appreciate your beauty in its abounding variety. I pray Lord that I may full participate in the beautiful plan you’ve laid out for me. Help me to see your face in my companions. Take me by the hand and lead me into your arms so I may rest in warm embrace. Amen.
In honor of the canonizations of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, Bishop Richard Pates will celebrate a Mass on Sunday, April 27, at St. Patrick Church at Irish Settlement. This is the oldest church in the Diocese of Des Moines and the only church visited by Pope John Paul II during his historic visit to Iowa in 1979. After visiting the parish, the pontiff flew to Living History Farms,w here he celebrated an outdoor Mass for thousands of people. After the Mass on Sunday, Bishop Pates will go to Christ the King Church on Des Moines' south side, where he will celebrate Mass in honor of Divine Mercy Sunday, a devotion instituted by Pope John Paul II.
How are you continuing your faith journey during this Easter season? Seminarian Reed Flood recently traveled on a mission trip to Kingston, Jamaica and what he experienced has changed his perspective. We're posting his journal entries in a series each day this week to help us pray and reflect on how we can be Christ's light to others.
At 5:45 a.m., we were stirred from our sleep by the high-pitched ringing of small church bells. After untangling myself from the obnoxious mosquito netting, I rolled out of my bunk and began to dress myself for morning prayer.
Our seminarian trip leader divided us into our service groups. My first assignment was Bethlehem; the children’s center.
A truck pulled into the compound and blared its horn. It was time. We anxiously piled into the back of a gated truck bed.
As the truck driver pulled up to the last center, he shouted, “Bethlehem!” I made the sign of the cross and entered through the rusty gates with my group.
The very first thing I noticed was the smell. The place reeked. It had a bitter stench which reminded me of a petting zoo.
Secondly, I could hear wailing and high-pitched shrills resonating throughout the whole center.
A kind-faced brother from Africa welcomed us and ushered us into a room. My fear and anxiety from the frightful arrival began to melt away.
“There’s a difference between pretty and beautiful,” he said. He motioned toward the door. “Pretty does not live here. You will not find it.”
He turned back to us, “But beauty, true beauty thrives here.”
He went on to explain how it was the job of the Missionaries of the Poor to live as Christ for the children at the Bethlehem center.
“We are Christ to the children, but we also encounter Christ in the children. This is where our happiness comes from,” he said. After hearing this wisdom, I was ready to see Christ.
Within minutes of walking into the boys’ room, I was handed a diaper and directed to a bed where a naked, deformed teenager was sitting. They had just rinsed him off in the showers and he was shivering from the cold. I had never put on a diaper before, but I could feel Christ within me reaching out to help this struggling boy.
I did my best putting on the diaper and then clothed him with a tattered shirt and old swim trunks. I continued this procedure for the next 30 minutes, clothing disfigured children and young adults, anywhere from 8 to 26 years old. Their arms were like toothpicks, frozen in a bent shape which made dressing them a challenge.
While helping one boy, I noticed his eyes glance up to my old favorite fishing hat I was wearing. He strained to reach the camouflage ball-cap with his twisted fingers. Noticing his effort, I took off the hat and placed it on the boys head.
His face sprung to life! His big brown eyes opened wide and an enormous smile spread across his face. He peered into my eyes and began to clap his little hands wildly.
He reached up, grasped the hat off his head, and pulled it in close to his chest. He moved jaws in a speaking motion, but no words came out. Yet, I could understand him clearly.
The boy’s external display of joy mirrored my internal gratification for seeing his delight.
I stepped back and thanked God for letting me see pure joy in this child. The warm feeling in my heart flooded through my entire body. It felt like God was giving me a big warm hug.
After serving all the children, we played with them. Each reaction was the same as the boy with the hat. No matter how disabled they were, no matter how much they drooled, and no matter how much they flailed, each child’s face lit up with joy!
I felt like a parent watching their newborn son playing for the first time. The warmth from my heart rose to my eyes and I had to blink away the joyful tears.
The brother was right. True beauty lives here.
After a couple hours we left the center. As I walked out, I could no longer detect the harsh smells from before. I now realized the loud screams were really just boisterous laughter coming from the children.
When I first entered the center, I thought I was descending into the pit of hell. Yet after witnessing the innocent joy in the children and experiencing God’s encompassing love, I now realized I had just received a very real taste of heaven.
How are you continuing your faith journey during this Easter season? Seminarian Reed Flood recently traveled on a mission trip to Kingston, Jamaica and what he experienced has changed his perspective. We're posting his journal entries in a series each day this week to help us pray and reflect on how we can be Christ's light to others.
After spending the whole night jamming my backpack full of clothes, sunscreen, and bars of soap (requested by the Missionaries of the Poor), we seminarians departed from St. John Vianney Seminary at 4:00 in the morning. We reached the airport and succeeded to board our flight to Miami, Florida. Upon arrival, we were met with a two hour layover. We seminarians filled this break with typical seminarian activities; playing cards and hacky sack. Finally, the time had come to board our flight to Kingston. We eagerly filed into our narrow seats and patiently waited for the hour-long flight to bring us to our destination.
Finally, we arrived in Kingston! As we stepped outside the Kingston airport, we were welcomed by a humid wall of sunny, 80 degree weather. Following the subzero temperatures and artic-like conditions of St. Paul, Minnesota, I felt quite comfortable in Jamaica! While waiting for the bus to take us to the Missionaries of the Poor, we played more hacky sack and drank from fresh coconuts we purchased from a friendly Jamaican vendor across the street. I could hardly understand the thick Jamaican dialect of the joyful woman who sold it to us, but the coconuts cost a mere $2! I wasn’t complaining. Additionally, a gorgeous view of the towering mountains caught everyone’s attention and took our breath away. It was paradise! After an hour in Kingston, I determined this trip was going to be just like a vacation. It had sunny weather, beautiful views, friendly Jamaicans, and cheap coconuts! However, my brief assumption of a week in paradise would soon be turned upside down.
The brothers arrived at the airport and packed us into a large Toyota van. I clenched the seat cushion in front of me as we sailed down the left side of the road. I determined traffic laws in Jamaica were replaced by car honks, as opposing drivers carelessly careened by us while blaring their horns. The roads became filthier and riddled with litter as we approached the city. We spotted goats wandering aimlessly through the streets as well as several Jamaican men taking uncomfortable naps on the concrete sidewalk. The houses we passed by began to appear less and less structured, until the “buildings” were nothing more than plywood and sheet metal hammered together. I wondered how any human being could ever inhabit one of these rusty shanties. Just then, a half-naked and sad-looking toddler wandered out from one of the shacks. It took our breath away.
After an eye-opening journey into the city, we reached the Missionaries of the Poor compound. Massive concrete walls surrounded the building, protecting it from the dangerous outside slums. We pulled up to the gate and blared our car horn (car honking is the secondary language in Jamaica). Sure enough, a brother dressed in a white robe with a blue sash opened the large gate and we entered the compound. Strangely, the inside of the compound appeared to be a stark contrast to the rundown city. It was quite beautiful! The brightly painted building stood out against the grey streets, while various flowered shrubs brought life to our safe-haven within the walls. It was an oasis in the desert.
It wasn’t long before we joined the brothers for evening prayer, Stations of the Cross, and a rosary. After leaving prayer, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, they pray a lot!” Yet as I laid down in the upper bunk of my mosquito netted bed, while listening to the blaring car horns, dog barks, and miscellaneous screams coming from the city, I couldn’t help but reflect on the necessity of prayer in this environment. I didn’t know what to expect for tomorrow, our first day of service, but I knew prayer was essential. As it turns out, our prayer would prove more vital than I could ever imagine in the days to come.
Father, help me to see through the masks which hide the suffering around us. Protect me from ignorance, so I may better recognize the poor and needy. Fill my heart with love, so I may share it with those who need it most. You are my refuge and my oasis in this world of death. Let me seek you out Lord, and walk with you in this journey of life. Am
The Diocese of Des Moines is working on reinvigorating Project Rachel, a confidential Catholic outreach ministry offering hope and healing to woen and men hurting from past abortions. It is made up of dedicated volunteers, trained counselors and experienced priests. We are currently looking for a lead volunteer to ehlp us organize other volunteers. Thsi is not a huge time commitment. If you have an interest and would like to know more, contact Ken Bresnan at 515-237-5089.
Diocesan and Catholic Charities offices at the Catholic Pastoral Center, 601 Grand Ave., in Des Moines will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday in celebration of Easter. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, April 22.
You are invited to the annual diocesan gathering, Chrism Mass, this Friday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines. This is a joyful liturgy near the end of the penitential season of Lent as we celebrate our baptismal call to participate in the ministry of Jesus. It's a beautiful celebration of the pastoral and sacramental life of the diocese. Bishop Pates will preside with the priests of the diocese concelebrating. The oils for the sacraments are blessed and taken to the parishes for use throughout the year. And, priests will renew their commitment to their ministry. Representatives of various ethic and cultural groups will be present at the liturgy.
It's going to be a busy day this Saturday in West Des Moines as youth gather for the Youth 2000 retreat at Dowling Catholic High School and men gather for the Iowa Catholic Men's Conference at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in West Des Moines. The Iowa Catholic Men's Conference is a one-day, all-day event beginning at 8 a.m. and concluding with 4:30 p.m. Mass. The youth retreat lasts all weekend with a welcome at 7 p.m. on Friday, talks, prayer and music on Saturday and a closing Mass on Sunday.
Bishop Richard Pates will attend both by offering 8 a.m. morning prayer and a 4:30 p.m. closing Mass at the men's conference. On Sunday, when the Youth 2000 retreat closes, he will celebrate a concluding 10:30 a.m. Mass at Dowling Catholic.
Check out our newest video supporting "The Light is On For You" effort. In it, Father Ken Gross talks about the significance of reconciliation and why we should consider taking part in the sacrament, particularly during this sesaon of Lent.
Bishop Richard Pates is leading an interfaith prayer service tonight at 7:30 at St. Ambrose Cathedral to pray for peace in South Sudan. Please come join us in lighting a candle for those who have been lost and pray for peace for this young nation.
The Light is On For You! Have you heard about it? The U.S. bishops want you to take part in the healing sacrament of reconciliation, particularly during this season of Lent. Check out this video, in which Bishop Richard Pates, Msgr. Frank Bognanno and Father Christopher Pisut explain the benefits of the sacrament.
Don't be nervous if you haven't been there for a while. We've got some resource information for you on the sacrament, also called penance or confession, Click here to find what Pope Francis has said about reconciliation, a guide for what to do and say, a model for examining your conscience and more resources. En espanol.
Bishop Richard Pates, in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, along with the president of the southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, urged the U.S. Senate to act quickly to address a “growing crisis of religious minorities” in the Near East and South Central Asia. They asked that there be a vote on S. 653, a bill to establish a Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities. Read the full text of their letter here.
Ash Wednesday kicks off the Lenten season. This is a significant day in the Catholic Church year beginning a period of forty days of prayer, fasting and charity which prepares the faithful and newcomers to the faith to celebrate Easter with renewed hearts. At services, people traditionally are marked with ashes of burnt palm branches as a sign of their recognition of their human frailty as well as sinfulness and need for repentance in their lifelong journey of conversion.
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (April 18) are days of fasting within the Church for those between the ages of 18 and 59. They may eat only one full meal and two other meals consisting of substantially less food. There should be no food taken between meals. Anyone whose health is threatened by fasting is exempted. Catholics age 14 and older also abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays of Lent.
Signing with ashes will be held throughout the diocese on Ash Wednesday. Anyone may call their local Catholic church for times. Ashes will be distributed at St. Ambrose Cathedral, at 6th and High Streets in Des Moines, on Wednesday during the 12:10 p.m. Mass. Bishop Richard Pates will be the celebrant of the Mass. Attendance at services and being signed with ashes is open to anyone who desires it, regardless of whether they are a member of the Catholic Church.
Father George Komo became a U.S. citizen last Friday! Congratulations! Originally from Kenya, Father Komo was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Des Moines in 2009. Check out this video in which Father talks about becoming a U.S. citizen.
The ParishSOFT training session that was scheduled for today, Tuesday, Feb. 18, will be postponed. This was an additional session on the Connect Now Family Suite to accommodate individuals who could not make it to the Business Office Forum held earlier this month. More information and a rescheduled date will be forthcoming. Contact April Young with questions at 515-237-5028.
Have you recently lost a spouse through death, divorce or separation? You can find help, support and guidance from others who also experienced this kind of loss. Beginning Experience is a group that invites you to their gatherings on Friday evenings March 28, April 4 and April 11 at St. Boniface Church in Waukee from 7-8:30 p.m. The group shares in the healing process. They support each other on the journey to find new hope. For more information, contact Father Bob Shoemann at 515-418-1938 or Mike Jensen at 515-230-1626 or Marla Williams at 515-710-4471. A retreat is planned for April 25-27 at the St. Thomas More Center near Panora.
The annual Rally for Life is Monday, Feb. 17, an features one of the country's leading thinkers in bioengineering, Wesley J. Smith. He will be addressing end-of-life issues and euthanasia.
"As technology and medical care advances, pertinent questions arise about the intersection of health care and our faith, which calls us to respect life until natural death," said Nancy Galeazzi, executive director of Catholic Charities, one of the sponsors of the event.
This educational seminar begins at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony Parish, 15 Indianola Road in Des Moines. During lunch, there will be training on how to lobby legislators. At 1 p.m., the group will lobby state legislators at the Capitol and at 3 p.m. there will be a rally at the Capitol.
If you're coming and want to have lunch, please register with Greg Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 515-263-3495 ext. 18.
The Rally for LIfe is sponsored by Catholic Charities, Council of Catholic Women, Iowa Catholic Conference, Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, Iowans for LIFE, Iowa Right to Life, Knights of Columbus, Mercy Medical Center, St. Jude Hospice, Teen Pact and The Family Leader.
The Business Office Forum planned for Thursday, Feb. 6 at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Atlantic has been postponed to the snow date, Thursday, Feb. 13. The schedule for the day will remain the same, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and going until noon. RESVP to April Young at email@example.com or call 515-237-5028 if you plan to attend.
The St. Joseph Educational Center has rescheduled tonight's event at St. John the Apostle Parish in Norwalk, "Having a Contemplative Heart in a Busy World" due to storm warnings for today and this evening. The gathering will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Bishop Richard Pates, in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry about injustice he observed during a solidarity visit with other bishops in the Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem. You can read the letter here.
Many from the Diocese of Des Moines joined a huge crowd in our nation's capitol for the annual March for Life, celebrating life and praying for an end to abortion. Bishop Richard Pates, Fathers Joseph Pins, Guthrie Dolan and others were united in calling for respect for life from conception to natural death.
Catholic Youth Camp registration opens up this Sunday. At its core, CYC is about discipleship. We gather youth from around the diocese and beyond to experience the love of God in word and action. Activities range from swimming, climbing and horseback riding to field games, archery and more. Get more information at www.stmcenter.com. You an also call 515-309-1936 or email us.
Get your tickets now for the Iowa Catholic Men's Conference March 29 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in West Des Moines. They have a great lineup of speakers coming including Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Mario St. Francis, Matt Fradd and Tom Peterson. Two of the speakers are bilingual and will give talks in Spanish. To learn more, visit the conference's website and watch for stories in your diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Mirror.
Singer/songwriter Steve Angrisano has been to the Diocese of Des Moines many times for retreats and the diocesan Centennial Celebration. When he learned his friend Mary Green, director of adult faith formation at Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Parish in Ankeny, had been diagnosed with angiosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer, he was inspired by her and dedicated a song on his newest album to her.
"It's an Easter song called 'Alleluia, Love is Alive,'" Angrisano said. "It's just such a hope-filled song. As we went to record, I just had Mary in my mind -- the passion she was living every day, even in the face of so much. I think Mary is a living example of hope in Christ." Check out the new song on iTunes or on Angrisano's new CD, "A New Day."
Catholic Youth Camp is looking for counselors for this summer. We rely on the help of more than 20 different volunteers who change on a weekly basis to serve more than 1,500 campers who will come to the St. Thomas More Center over 11 weeks this summer. The summer position is more than a job. It's a ministry. You have the chance to work as a missionary to the young church here in central Iowa. CYC is looking for young adults who have a solid prayer life, a commitment to growing in their own faith and who have a passion for sharing that faith with others. This is not just another recreational camp -- it's CYC. For more information, email the St. Thomas More Center or call 515-309-1936.
Bishop Richard Pates is traveling to Egypt and the Holy Land in the Middle East for a solidary visit on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He will return Friday, Jan. 17. Bishop Pates is the chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace.
During this Year of Marriage & Family we have an opportunity for you to grow closer in your marriage. Join us at St. Mary of Nazareth for a three-part series entitled “Three Become One: Growing in unity through prayer!” In this series, Dr. Matt Halbach and Adam Storey will help couples see the importance of prayer in their marriage and find simple and accessible ways to grow in prayer as a couple. The series will be held on Jan 15 and 29 from 6:30-8 p.m. at St Mary of Nazareth, with a date night the week of Jan 18-24. The cost is $20 per couple and scholarships are available. Snacks and childcare will be provided at no cost. To register contact Bridget Brass at 515-276-7589.
Tomorrow, Dec. 20, is the deadline for submitting your responses to the Vatican's questionnaire on marriage and family life. In response to the Holy Father's call, the Des Moines diocese has made avaialable to all Catholics an opportunity to respond to preparatory documents for a 2014 synod called "Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization." The Diocese of Des Moines has posted the documents on our website in English and Spanish. For more information or to complete the questionnaire using SurveyMonkey, click here. Please consider completing the survey and return to the Diocese of Des Moines by Dec. 20. Be aware that there are organizations that are disseminating a questionnaire in which the questions have been changed. To get the questions directly as they came from Pope Francis, use the form on our diocesan website.
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:
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.
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!
Happy Thanksgiving! Bishop Richard Pates is scheduled to celebrate Mass on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, at St. Ambrose Cathedral at 9:30 a.m. The Catholic Pastoral Center will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the holiday. This includes all diocesan offices and Catholic Charities.
Check out lots of pictures on our diocesan Facebook page from Sunday's two big celebrations. St. Peter Vietnamese Catholic Community on Des Moines' east side celebrated its fifth anniversary, and west of Des Moines, the Hispanic community gathered for Encuentro Diocesano at St. Francis of Assisi Church, where about 800 people came together for a daylong conference on faith and family.
The Diocese of Des Moines is asking all of its parishes to hold a special collection this weekend or any weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas to help with relief efforts following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Funds will be used to support Catholic Relief Services for immediate response to emergency needs as food, water, shelter and medical care. Funds will also be given to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to forward to the Church in the Philippines for long-term needs to rebuild after the widespread destruction. Please send all funds to the Diocse of Des Moines, which will expedite the distribution to the agencies providing aid. You can give online, in your parish's special collection, or by sending a check to the Diocese of Des Moines at 601 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309. Please note on checks that the funds are for the Philippines. "This tragedy occurs as we Americans prepare for Thanksgiving," said Bishop Richard Pates. "May we, who have been recipients of abundant blessings, be agents of God in sharing our blessings with those in critical need in the Philippines by generously supporting this special collection."
Congratulations to Deacon Michael Weitl, originally of St. Patrick Parish in Audubon, who was ordained ot the transitional diaconate at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome on Oct. 3. He is studying for the priesthood for Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario, Canada. A graduate of Creighton University, Deacon Weitl did missionary work in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. He has worked with hospice and nursing home patients and he worked in soup kitchens in Canada. He was ordained by Cardinal James Harvey, archpriest of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. He is in his fourth and final year studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and is expected to be ordained a priest on June 21, 2014.
Please keep in your prayers Father Art McCann, whose funeral is this morning at 11 a.m. at St. Theresa Church in Des Moines. Burial is at 3 p.m. at Calvary Cemetery in Creston. A retired priest of the diocese, Father McCann had been a teacher, parish priest and hospital chaplain. May Father Art McCann enjoy thefullness of life with the Risen Savior forever.
The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Memorial Mass will be Monday at Holy Trinity Church in Des Moines beginning at 7 p.m. The Mass last year brought a great deal of comfort to Michelle Herbst, of St. Francis Parish, who has suffered miscarriages. "One of my fears was that my children were alone," prior to going to the Mass, she said. Afterward, though, "I felt profoundly that my children aren't alone. They are embraced by God, jesus and the Holy Spirit." To learn more about the Mass, contact Adam Storey, Marriage and Family Life director for the diocese by email or call 515-237-5056.
Check out our photos from this week's visit of Cardinal Peter Turkson. Cardinal Turkson will be the guest of Bishop Richard Pates' weekly radio show airing tomorrow at 10 a.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio and Spirit Catholic Radio Network. Here is a copy of Cardinal Turkson's address at the World Food Prize luncheon.
Bishop Richard Pates will be honored with the Local Spirit Award on Oct. 25 by Spirit Catholic Radio for his weekly radio show "In the Heartland With Bishop Pates." Bishop's show airs on Spirit Catholic Radio Network in much of Nebraska and western Iowa and on Iowa Catholic Radio in central Iowa. His show features local, national and internationally known guests. This Friday's show, for example, featured John Carr and John Allen, who is internationally known for his commentary on the Church. In a few weeks, Bishop Pates will have Cardinal Peter Turkson in the studio for his show. Tune in on Fridays at 10 a.m. in central Iowa on 1150 AM/88.5 FM/94.5 FM or, in western Iowa, at 102.7 FM.
John Allen Jr., writer for the National Catholic Reporter, and John Carr, of Harvard University's Institute of Politics will be guests on "In the Heartland With Bishop Pates" radio show this Friday at 10 a.m. Carr set up the Vatican bureau of NCR in 2000 and has written several books on Catholicism. His latest book, "The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution," came out just this past Tuesday. Carr served the US bishops for more than 20 years working on social justice, peace and development. He retired last year to accept a residential fellowship on religion and politics at Harvard University. He is a Washington correspondent for "America" magazine, offering analysis and commentary on issues. You can hear Bishop Pates talk with Allen and Carr this Friday at 10 a.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio (1150 AM/88.5 FM/94.5 FM) or Spirit Catholic Radio Network (102.7 FM).
The pope who visited Iowa, Pope John Paul II, will be canonized a saint on Divine Mercy Sunday next year, according to news reports. Pope Francis announced on Monday, Sept. 30, that the day of canonization for Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, who began the Second Vatican Council, will be April 27, 2014. See this story for more details.
Bishop Richard Pates, in his role as chair of the US bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, sent a letter to National Security Adviser Susan Rice reiterating a call to lift the US embargo on Cuba. "More engagement will help the people of Cuba achieve greater freedom, human rights and religious liberty," he wrote. Read the whole letter here.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, is coming to Des Moines next month for the World Food Prize. There will be a couple of opportunities for the public to see him. On Wednesday, Oct. 16, he will present the Newman Lecture at Sheslow Auditorium on Drake University's Campus. His topic will be the "Vocation of the Business Leader." A document produced by his council, also called "Vocation of the Business Leader" speaks to social justice issues of respecting the principles of human dignity and the common good. Cardinal Turkson wrote: "The transformative developments of our era -- globalization, communications technologies and financialisation -- produce problems alongside their benefits: inequality, economic dislocation, information overload, financial instability and many other pressures leading away from serving the common good. Business leaders who are guided by ethical social principles, lived through virtues and illuminated for Christians by the Gospel, can, nonetheless, succeed and contribute to the common good." Register to see him at the Newman Lecture because seating is limited. Go to http://www.stcatherinedrake.org/ to register.
Another opportunity to see Cardinal Turkson will be at an interfaith prayer service on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at St. Ambrose Cathedral beginning at 8 p.m. This event is open to the public.
Can't make it to these events? Then listen to "In the Heartland With Bishop Pates" radio show on Friday, Oct. 18 on Iowa Catholic Radio to hear Bishop Pates talk with Cardinal Turkson. The show begins at 10 a.m. You can hear the show on 1150AM, 88.5 FM or 94.5 FM in central Iowa or 102.5 FM in western Iowa.
Don't forget to register for the upcoming workshop for all those who minister to adults throughout the diocese. "Stirring the Fire of Faith: From Spark to Flame" features nationally acclaimed speakers and faith formation practitioners Dr. Gerard Baumbach and Charity Sister Maureen Shaughnessy on Saturday, Oct. 12 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines. A free-will offering will be taken. Lunch is provided. To register, go to the St. Joseph Educational Center or call 515-222-1092. Register by Oct. 9.
We have 20 seminarians -- truly a blessing -- and we pray the number will continue to increase. With this blessing comes the need for support so we can continue providing for their educational needs. The diocesan-wide Special Collection for Seminarians will be this weekend. Registered parishioners have received a letter and brochure in the mail from Bishop Pates. Gifts to the collection support the education and formation costs associated with seminarians, which continually rise. Your gift to this important appeal makes the difference for our faith leaders of tomorrow by providing necessary educational funding. Please experience the joy of giving and join us as we work together to continue God's work. You can return your gift in the collection basket, mail it to the diocese or go online. If you make a gift online, please designate the Seminarian Annual Collection.
The Year of Faith event scheduled for tonight at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in West Des Moines has been cancelled. The parish lost power after a wave of severe storms swept through the area. The event featured Dr. Murphy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The gathering with Dr. Murphy held earlier today was held as planned.
Congratulations to seven individuals who received the highest honor given to a lay person by the Holy Father. The honor, called the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross, was given to the individuals last Sunday by Bishop Richard Pates. Receiving the honor were: Donald and Charlene Lamberti, of Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Parish and St. Luke Parish in Ankeny, Jon and Constance "Candy" Narmi of St. Patrick Parish in Council Bluffs, Florence Roth of St. Pius X Parish in Urbandale and Nancy "Nan" Krause, of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in West Des Moines. William "Bill" Krause was honored posthumously. Read more in this month's edition of The Catholic Mirror.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, is coming to Des Moines in mid-October for events related to the World Food Prize. While in town, he will deliver the Newman Lecture on the vocation of a business professional at Sheslow Auditorium and lead an interfaith prayer service at St. Ambrose Cathedral. Watch for your edition of The Catholic Mirror coming this weekend for details.
If you missed the prayer service for peace in Syria and Egypt this past Saturday, you still have an opportunity to hear what Bishop Richard Pates had to say. Bishop, who chairs the U.S. bishops' Committee for International Justice and Peace, spoke at the beginning of the prayer service at St. Ambrose Cathedral sharing his thoughts on the need for prayer and advocacy. Thanks to Rodger Routh, we have video of Bishop's remarks. Hear what he said and continue your prayers for peace.
Celebrate the Year of Faith with us on Thursday, Sept. 19 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in West Des Moines. Dr. Peter Murphy will offer insightful and practical ways to make the catechism more alive in our families, schools and parishes. Dr. Murphy is the executive director of the U.S. bishops' Department of Evangelization and Catechesis. This is a great opportunity for parents, teachers, catechists, youth ministers, RCIA teams and adult faith formation teams. We begin at 6:30 p.m. Childcare will be provided, though we ask that you register your children so we have the appropriate number of care providers and age-appropriate activities prepared. You can call 515-237-5058 to register your children.
Check out photos on our Facebook page of the prayer service for peace in Syria and Egypt on Saturday night at St. Ambrose Cathedral: www.facebook.com/dmdiocese. We're having an ecumenical prayer service for peace on Sunday, Sept. 15 at St. Ambrose Cathedral at 3 p.m. Come join us.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 usccb.org/news/2-13-160.cfm.
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.'"
Bishop Richard Pates, in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday urging him to work with other governments to obtain a ceasefire in Syria and create "a future for all Syrians, one that respects human rights and religious freedom." The same day he sent the letter, Pope Francis met with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the Vatican, where the pope urged dialogue and negotiation as the only option to end the conflict and violence. Read more here.
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Bishop Richard Pates paraphrased Pope Francis in urging "peace, dialogue and reconcilation" in Egypt. "To that end, we urge the United States to work with the inteernational community to support efforts by Egyptians to strengthen public order and the rule of law and to build an inclusive democracy respectful of human rights and religious freedom." Of particular concern is the scapegoating of Christians, who have been blamed for the current unrest in the country. Bishop Pates called on the United States " to preserve and even increase humanitarian and economic assistance. Poor and vulnerable Egyptians shoudl not pay the price of the political turmoil and violence gripping their nation."
Iowa Catholic Radio will pay tribute to Father Bob Hoefler, who passed away recently, during a special broadcast this Monday from noon to 1 p.m. called "Remembering Fr. Bob." Family and friends will share memories of Father Bob live from St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines. The show will be rebroadcast on Monday, Sept. 2 at 7 a.m. Tune in at 1150 AM/ 88.5 FM/ 94.5 FM or http://www.iowacatholicradio.com.
Bishop Richard Pates, who is among the four Iowa bishops issuing a statement today through the Iowa Catholic Conference urging immigration reform, said issues of justice, human dignity and the rule of law must override political considerations that could derail progress on immigration reform. He said: "The question of reforming our immigration system is before us. In determining how we proceed, we must reflect on the longstanding teachings of the Catholic Church. This is a very critical time as we look at reform in terms of justice, human dignity and the rule of law. We must put these issues above political considerations and look at options that serve the common good of the American people."
The following is the statement Iowa bishops released today on immigration reform.
Once again, Congress is considering the reform of our country's broken immigration system.
Many immigrants have been forced to leave their homes and countries in order to provide even for the most basic needs of themselves and their families. The desperation fo their circumstances does not correspond to the inordinate length of time (sometimes over 15 years) required to wait in line for the present system to process a visa request.
We believe that those already here, for the sake of family unity and being humane, should receive special consideration that would include eventual citizenship. We support measures that help secure our border but respect human rights and human life. We need a system that is humane for workers and fair to employers.
While Catholics may disagree within the limits of justice on the specific approach to reforming the immigration system, we must agree as a people of faith to live out the scriptural commandment to "welcome the stranger" and defend the God-given dignity of every person.
We urge all Iowans to remember their history as immigrants as we work together towards a fair and compassionate resolution of this problem. We encourage members of the Catholic community to contact their members of Congress this month, especially in the House of Representatives, in support of immigration reform legislation consistent with the principles of justice. One easy way to do this is to visit www.justiceforimmigrants.org and send a message to your member of Congress to encourage him to move the process forward.
Most Rev. Michael Jackels, Archbishop of Dubuque
Most Rev. R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City
Thursday is the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, a holy day of obligation. See your local parish for Mass times. Bishop Richard Pates will be celebrating Mass on Thursday at 12:10 p.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral.
Iowa Catholic Radio will carry the funeral Mass this morning of Father Bob Hoefler. Tune in to iowacatholicradio.com or 1150AM, 88.5FM or 94.5 FM. The funeral begins at Francis Church in West Des Moines at 10 a.m.
Please keep in your prayers Father Bob Hoefler, who passed away early this morning. Even as we mourn his death, we celebrate with gratitude the gift of his life and priesthood in service of the people of God in this diocese. May he now experience the fullness of new life with our God. Details regarding funeral services will be forthcoming when arrangements can be made.
A young adult group, Novos on High, is organizing another "Brewing Faith" event for Friday, Aug. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Raccoon River Brewing Co., 200 10th St. in Des Moines. Similar to "Theology on Tap," this event is an opportunity for young adults to get to know other young Catholics and priests, and the nuts and bolts of the Catholic faith in a more relaxed settting. Place food and drink orders and hear a short talk on the living power of the sacraments followed by questions and discussion. For more information on this or other events for young adults in their 20s and 30s, contact Tessa or check out the Facebook page for Novos on High.
Two diocesan priests set up a tent in the midst of cornfields along the path thousands of bicyclists traveled to their overnight stop in Perry on the annual RAGBRAI ride across the state. Fathers Zach Kautzky, chaplain at Dowling Catholic High School, and Father Chris Reising, pastor of Our Lady of the Americas Parish, offered the sacrament of reconciliation. About 25 cyclists took advantage of the opportunity on Monday afternoon. They parked their bikes and walked down narrow, dirt road to talk, receive absolution and a blessing. One rider told Father Kautzky the rest of his RAGBRAI ride would be lighter after receiving the sacrament.
This past Sunday, St. John Parish in Adel said goodbye to seminarian Trevor Chicoine, who is heading to Rome to continue his studies for priesthood. The parish had "adopted" the seminarian, who said their pastor, Father Wayne Gubbels, first sparked his interest in considering a vocation call to the priesthood. Revor just graduated from St. Pius X Seminary at Loras College in Dubuque. Bishop Richard Pates asked him to study at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Read more about Trevor and his next formation experience here.http://www.iowalivingmagazines.com/2013/07/03/calling-to-rome/
Council Bluffs is hosting a marriage enrichment workshop called Encountering God's Plan for Marriage at St. Patrick Parish, 223 Harmony Road. The workshop will unpack God's invitation to joy and our response through the Theology of the Body. The workshop will be held in two sessions: Aug. 3 and 10 from 9 a.m. - noon. Snacks and childcare will be available. Couples can attend one or both sessions and should RSVP to Adam Storey at the Marriage and Family Life Office.
Bishop Richard Pates is encouraging parishes to consider taking part in a dynamic parish-wide program called Good News People that will be kicking off this fall. Good News People invites Catholics to new ways of understanding their faith, themselves and the needs of the world around them. The intent is to familiarize participants with the biblical witness of Jesus, awaken the call to discipleship that resounds within each participant and explore the richness of the Catholic faith to inspire new passion for and engagement in the Church's mission. Watch for it in your parish this fall.
Bishop Richard Pates has been all over the world in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace. In June, he traveled to Peru and Columbia in a visit of solidarity. In Columbia, he met with bishops, members of the Church's social ministry, U.S. Embassy officials and visited Ciudad Bolivar, a low-income district on the south side of Bogota. In Peru, he spent a day in an Amazonian indigenous community and met with Church officials. Bishop Pates told Catholic News Service that in both countries, discussion focused on conflicts between communities and mining minerals. While mining has boosted the economy, environmental issues and other issues can cause problems with local communities. Currently, Bishop Pates is on a trip to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and South Sudan.
-- Catholic News Service contributed to this report.
Only a few days remain to register for the Hearts on Fire retreat coming to Christ the King in Des Moines this Friday and Saturday, July 12 & 13. Four Jesuits will be on hand to offer practical ways to connect our faith with our daily life, insights on how the deepest desires of our hearts lead us to the heart of Christ and an introduction to the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. As one registrant said, "I am looking forward to the Hearts on Fire retreat as time set aside this summer to reflect on where I am in deepening my relationship with God. I am also drawn to the Jesuit charism and want to learn ways to incorporate the spiritual exercises in my daily life." The retreat is open to young adult Catholics age 18-29. There is a suggested donation of $20. Go to this page for more information and to register. Contact April Young at email@example.com with questions.
A couple of parishes and the diocese are planning local events for the national Fortnight for Freedom, calling attention to issues related to religious liberty. The Diocese of Des Moines will hold an Independence Celebration: Pray for Life, Marriage and Religious Liberty on July 7 at St. Ambrose Cathedral with 10:30 a.m. Mass, 11:30 a.m. update, holy hour and reception. Holy Trinity Parish in Des Moines is planning Eucharistic adoration on July 4 beginning at 9 a.m. for an hour. Corpus Christi Parish, Queen of Apostles site, in Council Bluffs is planning a benefit movie night June 27 at 6:30 p.m. Prior to the start of the movie, a free will donation will be taken for the KC Disaster Fund for Oklahoma tornado victims and an update on the national Fortnight for Freedom will be offered.
Guess who will be the guest on Bishop's radio show this Friday. Hint: She's a Harvard University law professor, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, serves on the U.S. Commission on Religious Liberty and was just named by Pope Francis to the five-person commission to review the activities and mission of the Vatican bank. That's right, Mary Ann Glendon will be the guest on "In the Heartland With Bishop Pates" this Friday at 10 a.m. In central Iowa, tune in Friday, July 5, at 10 a.m. to Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150AM, 88.5FM or 94.5FM. On the west side of the diocese, tune in to Spirit Catholic Radio Network, 102.7 FM. The focus of the show will be religious liberty, given that the Fortnight for Freedom will have just ended July 4 and the local diocesan event is scheduled for Sunday at St. Ambrose Cathedral.
Bishop Richard Pates visited seven western Iowa parishes recently on the Bluebird Bus tour, recording interviews for his weekly radio show. This past Friday's show aired from Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Atlantic. Hear a replay of the show Sunday at 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. and again Monday at 2 p.m. on Iowa Catholic Radio, 1150 AM, 88.1 FM or 94.5 FM. Thank you to Spirit Catholic Radio Network and Iowa Catholic Radio for making the Bluebird Bus tour a success!
Father Garry Culver, 77, died Thursday. The funeral and burial will be in Florida. At a later date, there will be a memorial Mass for him in Des Moines.
Father Culver had attended St. Augustin School, Dowling Catholic High School, Loras College and Mount Saint Bernard Seminary. He was ordained a priest on May 31, 1964 at St. Ambrose Cathedral. Father Culver served in the following parishes: St. John and St. Theresa in Des Moines, St. Mary in Panama, St. Pius X in Urbandale, St. Patrick in Audubon, Holy Trinity in Exira, St. Peter in Defiance, St. Patrick in Perry, St. John in Greenfield, St. Anne in Logan, Holy Family in Mondamin and Sacred Heart in West Des Moines. He studied Canon law and served the diocese in the Tribunal beginning in 1989. He also served as a teacher at Dowling Catholic High School. He retired in 2000.
Please pray for Father and his family. May he now rest in God's eternal peace.
Bishop Richard Pates supports the statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued after the U.S. Supreme Court today announced its decisions on two cases regarding marriage. One case involved California's Proposition 8 and the other was on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA. Read the USCCB statement here.http://www.usccb.org/news/2013/13-126.cfm
Iowa's faith leaders, immigrant community, people of faith and all those who seek just and humane immigration reform are joining together this Thursday, June 27, for a call to action on immigration reform. Gather at 7 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1548 8th St. in Des Moines. The call to action meeting is sponsored by a number of organizations including American Friends Service Committee, Center for Social Ministries, Des Moines Area Ecumenical Committee for Peace, Iowa Citizens Action Network, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, and more. Two people from the diocese serve on the planning committee. They are diocesan Worship Director Kyle Lechtenberg and Hispanic Ministry Coordinator Mayra Moriel de Banuelos. For more information, call Kathleen at 515-274-4851 ext. 22.
Monsignor Frank Bognanno, pastor of Christ the King Parish in Des Moines, addressed issues surrounding marriage in today's Des Moines Register. He says "the Bible remains, first and foremost, a religious text, God's revelation to humankind." Over time, God reveals his divine plan of salvation. Msgr. Bognanno wrote: "The individual teachings of Scripture (including the various depictions of marriage) must be interpreted in terms of the whole trajectory of Scripture, toward God's full revelation in Christ."
The U.S. bishops plan to hold a second Fortnight For Freedom this summer, June 21-July 4, as a way of praying, learning and taking action on the issue of religious liberty. Locally, the Diocese of Des Moines will have an "Independence Celebration: Pray for life, marriage and religious liberty" on Sunday, July 7 beginning with 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Ambrose Cathedral (6th and High Street in downtown Des Moines). Following Mass at 11:30 a.m. there will be a religious liberty update and call to action, followed by holy hour beginning at 11:45 a.m. The event concludes with a reception at 1 p.m. across the street at the Catholic Pastoral Center (6th and Grand Avenue). Check here for more information on the Fortnight for Freedom and the local celebration.
We ask your prayers for Monsignor Joseph McDonnell, who passed away on Saturday, June 8 at Mercy Hospice. As we mourn his passing, we also celebrate the gift of his life and ministry in the Diocese of Des Moines.
All services will be held at St. Pius Church in Urbandale. The funeral will also be broadcast live on Iowa Catholic Radio: 1150 AM, 88.5FM and 94.5FM or can be streamed at www.iowacatholicradio.com. The schedule is as follows:
3:00 pm - Rosary
4:00 – 7:00 pm - Visitation
7:00 pm – Vigil
10:00 am – Funeral
Followed by burial at Glendale Cemetery
May Monsignor now enjoy the fullness of peace and new life with our God.
Bishop Pates had a column in the Washington Post this week in which he raises questions about the morality of using drones. Here you can read the column. Bishop said, "The use of attack drones should be inseparable from the question of whether it promotes peace and security around the world."
The Diocese of Des Moines invites you to the ordination of Deacons Fabián Moncada, Ross Parker and Adam Westphal on Friday, June 7 at 7 p.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral. Check out this YouTube invitation.
Pope Francis has asked that, in celebration of this Year of Faith, the worldwide Catholic Church join him in celebrating a Holy Hour on Sunday, June 2, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus, also known as Corpus Christi Sunday. St. Ambrose Cathedral will conclude its regularly scheduled 10:30 a.m. Mass that day with a procession to the St. Anne Chapel followed by a Holy Hour. Bishop Richard Pates will conduct a Holy Hour at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Glenwood at 3 p.m.. Check with your parish to find out when its Holy Hour is scheduled.
Friday is the last day to register for the annual Fairway Fathers event, bringing young men interested in the priesthood together with priests of the diocese for some golfing fun and good conversation. This is a great opportunity for young men 16 and older to ask our priests about their vocation story and what it's really like to be a priest. Fairway Fathers will be Monday, June 17 at Blank Golf Course in Des Moines. For more information or to register, go to the Vocations Office's website or call 515-237-5014.
Today, May 24, has been observed as World Day of Prayer for the Church in China by the Universal Church, a observance established in 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI. In a letter he sent to the Catholic Church in China, he expressed fraternal closeness with the faithful, acknowledged their suffering and offered some guidelines regarding the Church and evangelization in China. In his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop Richard Pates sent a letter to all U.S. bishops asking them to encourage prayer today for the people in China. A prayer of intention that may be used today or at this weekend's Masses is "The Church in China, that the Lord may help the Church in China persevere in fidelity to the Gospel and grow in unity."
The Boy Scouts of America have posted online a statement saying its national council "approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone." The Diocese of Des Moines statement on this change in policy is as follows.
Boy Scout organizations within the Diocese of Des Moines that are supported by Catholic churches and schools will be guided by a single diocesan policy in accord with the teaching of the Catholic Church. This teaching is derived from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
"The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2358)
"Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2359).
It is the practice of the Boy Scouts to insist on chastity in all of its events and programs which the Church obviously supports and advocates.
The Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem will hold their annual meeting and investiture in Des Moines on Sept. 20-23. The event is expected to draw about 650 people from the Northern Lieutenancy, which includes Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. The event will be at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown, with the overflow hotel being the Hyatt Place/Des Moines. The Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem support the works of the patriarch in the Holy Land.
While you’re out grocery shopping this week, why not pick up a container of juice for homeless kids? Six out of 10 residents at the St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter are kids, and they need and appreciate juice. You can assist Catholic Charities and its homeless shelter by lending a helping hand. The shelter is at 1535 11th St. in Des Moines, 515-282-1235.
Sister Pat Scherer, who worked for 35 years settling refugees in the Des Moines metro area, was honored recently with a gift of $1,000 given to St. Ambrose Refugee Ministry program in her name. She was honored as a finalist in the 2013 Lumen Christi Award through Catholic Extension. Bishop Richard Pates had nominated Sister Pat for the honor in light of her many years of dedicated assistance to refugees. She was one of 41 nominations.
This weekend is the annual Catholic Communication Campaign special collection. The campaign provides content the way you need it -- in podcasts, on websites and on social media sites -- and always with the New Evangelization in mind. Please be generous in this week's collection and support this important work. Half of your donations stay in our diocese to support our communication needs.
Remember Theology on Tap, when you could grab some food, a drink and have a good conversation about faith in a relaxing atmosphere? A new version, called Brewing Faith, will be tomorrow, May 17, in the River Room at Raccoon River Brewing Co. in Des Moines. Father Chris Reising, pastor of Our Lady of the Americas parish, will present "There's Something About Mary." Come at 6:30 pm for food/drinks. The talk begins once the food is served, about 7 pm. Discussion and socializing follows. For more information, contact Tessa.
Fifty eight people completed one of several components of the JustFaith program in the Des Moines diocese, bringing to a total of 367 who have graduated from the program since it was first brought to the diocese in 2002. Recently, 27 people graduated from the JustFaith social justice formation program; 22 completed the Engaging Spirituality program which focuses on both social justice and spirituality; and nine graduated from the J-Walking high school component of JustFaith. JustFaith is coordinated in the diocese by the Center for Social Ministry, a nonprofit organization that serves as a member of the Catholic Charities Social Justice Consortium.
As Catholics, we dedicate the month of May to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Join author Sister Mary Christine Athans, BVM, as she shares her humor, research and reflections surrounding our Blessed Mother. It's an evening that will bring us to a greater appreciation of Mary in the life of Jesus. This Year of Faith event will be on May 22 at 6 pm at St. Theresa Parish in Des Moines. There will be a socil with beverages, fruit and finger sandwiches beginning at 6 pm wtih Sr. Athans beginning her presentation at 6:30 pm. This faith-sharing event is free and childcare is provided. For more information, pelase contact Sherri Simmer at 515-237-5058 or email her.
Friends of Father Tom DeCarlo wish to invite his diocesan friends to his 70th birthday party on May 25 at 6:30 p.m. for a rigatoni dinner at Crhist the King Parish Hall, 5711 SW 9th St. Cost is $5 per person/free-will donation at the door.
The four bishops of Iowa penned a letter to the editor that appeared in Friday's Des Moines Register addressing health care. The bishops say they are grateful the governor and state legislature are talking about how to make health care coverage available to low-income Iowans. The issue is urgent. The bishops say about a quarter-million Iowans lack health care. "We call upon our political leaders to set aside partisan concerns and consider this issue with prudence and a commitment to the common good -- especially since the current limited IowaCare program is expiring," they said. You can read the entire letter here. It is signed by Dubuque Archbshop Jerome Hanus, OSB, Sioux City Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Davenport Bishop Martin Amos and Des Moines Bishop Richard Pates.
The Archdiocese of Dubuque invites us to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Postville immigration raid tomorrow, May 10, at Cedar Rapids. It begins at noon with a remembrance ritual at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. AT 12:30 pm there will be a Walk for Justice to Immaculate Conception Church, where there will be an interfaith prayer and a call for immigration reform. For more information, call Sister Mary McCauley, BVM, at 563-583-8989 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May is traditionally the month of Mary. This May, the diocese is offering a study guide to accompany Immaculee Ilibagiza's book "Our Lady of Kibeho." The study guide is available on the dicoesan website here. The book speaks of the experience of the people of Rwanda as they encounter an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the name Mother the Word. The book tells the story of the three visionaries, Alphonsine, Anathalie and Marie-Claire, and the lives that were touched through the messages they shared with the world. This is a good book for small groups to read together, for families to read and discuss or for your personal reflection. The book is available for sale on Amazon or by typing "Our Lady of Kibeho" in the search bar.
Bishop Richard Pates, in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, has been busy this week. He penned a letter to National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon about the recent kidnapping of the Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox archbishops of Aleppo. Their driver was murdered and the two archbishops were kidnapped while they were on a humanitarian mission to help Syrians fleeing for the border.
Bishop Pates also wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry about conflict in Mali. "Armed conflict is subsiding and the northern provinces are returning to Malian control, although violent attacks and banditry continue..." Bishop Pates wrote. He offers several suggested solutions.
It's time to order your tickets for Catholic Charities Night at the Iowa Cubs on June 6 at Principal Park. Tickets are available through parishes, by phone at 515-237-5089 or online at Catholic Charities. Special ticket blocks are available for groups and a limited number of themed skyboxes are also available. This is a great opportunity to have fun while knowing that you're lending a helping hand to those in need.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to spread awareness and support local programs working to help victims of violence. During the month of April, our good friends at St. Jude Hospice have offered to match dollar for dollar every gift given to Catholic Charities Phoenix House GROW Fund up to $5,000. Donations will support the domestic violence shelter and sexual absue program in Council Bluffs and surrounding area. The program includes shelter to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, court and legal adovcacy, crisis counseling and prevention education. Call 515-237-5078 to make a donation to the GROW Fund or go to Catholic Charities and click on "Donate."
Bishop Richard Pates, in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, sent a letter on Monday to the U.S. House urging a "Circle of Protection" around the poor and vulnerable.
Joined by Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire, chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Pates said both he and Bishop Blaire had been consistent on supporting a reduction in the federal deficit. However, both said "... a just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts to programs that help people live in a manner worthy of their human dignity." They went on to say, "This will include raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly."
To look at decisions with moral criteria, one must consider whether the decisions threaten human life and dignity, how they affect "the least of these" (Matthew 25), and that they promote the common good of all, "especially ordinary workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times."
Bishops Pates and Blaire concluded their letter saying, "The moral measure of this budget debate is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how those who are jobless, hungry, homeless and poor are treated. Their voices are too often missing but they have the most compelling moral claim on our consciences and our common resources."
On Sunday, May 5, the St. Thomas More Center, home of Catholic Youth Camp, in Panora will host a Catholic Family Day for all families. Come for a day of cultural celebration. Bishop Richard Pates will be celebrating 11 a.m. Mass, followed by a day of fun and faith. Tours of camp will be provided and some of the summer fun activities will be available to play: soccer, mini-golf, Gaga ball, kick ball and archery. There will be an opportunity for parents to ask questions about CYC. Lunch is provided by the diocesan Hispanic community. A free-will donation is appreciated.
El Centro Santo Tomas More, hogar de Campamentos Católicos para Jóvenes en Panora, Iowa será la sede para el Día Familiar Católico. El evento familiar es el día 5 de Mayo, será una celebración cultural. El Obispo Richard Pates oficiará la Misa a las 11AM, después tendremos eventos de diversión y de fe. Se estará ofreciendo una guía del campamento y algunas de las actividades de verano estarán disponibles para todos como futbol, mini-golf, Gaga ball, kick ball, Tiro de arco. Habrá oportunidad para que los padres de familia hagan preguntas sobre el Campamento Católico para jóvenes 2013. La comunidad Hispana de la diócesis proveerá la comida. Donativos voluntarios serán muy apreciados. ¡Venga con la familia a un gran día de campo!
Patrocinado por St Thomas More y Ministerio Hispano
This Sunday -- commonly k nown as Good Shepherd Sunday -- is the 50th World Day of Prayer for vocations. The theme, "Vocations as a sign of hope founded in faith" underscorees the hope that vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life bring to the entire Catholic Church.
"The Church's basic mission is to preach the Gospel and help build a civilization of love in our world today," said St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson, chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. "We need good, holy priests and dedicated men and women committed to the consecrated life to help build the Kingdom of God here and now. Therefore, we want a stronger culture of vocations in our own nation to help each Catholic realize that we all have a responsibility to invite young people to consider if God is calling them to the priesthood or consecrated life."
Have you been thinking about a vocation to the priesthood? Contact Father Joe Pins at 515-237-5050.
The Diocesan Council of Catholic Women is having its annual convetnion this Saturday at Ss. Peter & Paul Parish in Atlantic with the theme "Be the Voice of Christ as a Catholic Woman." Contact Eileen O'Connor at email@example.com for more information.
Bishop Richard Pates congratulates Dubuque Archbishop Jerome G. Hanus, OSB on his retirement after having served northeast Iowa for nearly 19 years. Bishop Pates also congratulates Archbishop-designate Michael O. Jackels, of Wichita, Kansas, on his appointment by Pope Francis to the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
"Archbishop Hanus has served with a great pastoral heart and as an attentive administrator during these years of significant transition both in the Archdiocese of Dubuque and the state of Iowa," said Bishop Pates. "We salute the archbishop who very much looks forward to this well-deserved retirement."
Bishop Pates also offers congratulations to Bishop Jackels, who has served as the bishop of Wichita since April 4, 2005. "The Diocese of Des Moines extends a heartfelt welcome to Archbishop-designate Jackels. As metropolitan of the Dubuque Province, we look forward to his leadership and service in the vibrant faith communities of Iowa."
Spread the word: A Bella Vita dinner for single women ages 16-35 who want to learn more about religious life with Dominican sisters from Ann Arbor, Michigan will be on Thursday, April 11. Holy hour is at 5 p.m. with dinner and discussion from 6-8 p.m at Christ the King Church, 5711 SW 9th St. in Des Moines. Reservations are due by this Monday, April 8. Email your reservation to the diocesan Vocations Office or call 515-237-5014.
Did you hear? Pope Francis confirmed on Palm Sunday that he's planning to be in Brazil for World Youth Day. The Diocese of Des Moines has organized a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The pilgrim group is forming now and is open to young adults (18 and older). Join Bishop Pates, seminarians of the diocese and other young adults this July 16-30 for World Youth Day. Registration space is limited. For more information and registration materials, contact Jason Kurth at 515-237-5061 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bishop Pates, in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, joined Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire, who heads the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development in urging Congress to address the moral and human dimensions of the federal budget and protect the poor.
"The moral measure of this budget debate is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how those who are jobless, hungry, homeless or poor are treated," the bishops said in a March 18 letter to Congress. "Their voices are too often missing, but they have the most compelling moral claim on our consciences and our common resources. The bishops stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that reduces future deficits, protects poor and vulnerable people, advances the common good and promotes human life and dignity."
Statement of Bishop Richard Pates on the occasion of the election of Pope Francis: The Diocese of Des Moines joins the Church and the world in jubiliation with the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio who has taken the name of Pope Francis I. Pope Francis has served as Archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998. His election signals the universality of the Church as an Argentinian and South American now follows in succession of a Polish and then German Pope. Pope Francis studied chemistry before entering the seminary. He thus brings the background of a scientist to bear molding that interest with an Ignation spirituality and an effective pastoral background as an Archbishop. The Holy Father's personal history and first impressions as Pope convey that of a person gifted intellectually blended with the simplicity and spirit of Jesus. His election, I believe, is providential for our times and will support the deepest values of our humanity. The Diocese of Des Moines pledges support and prayer for the new Pope. We pray that his years as Pope will be abundantly blessed for the benefit of all.
Declaración del Obispo Richard Pates por motivo de la elección del Papa Francisco: La Diócesis de Des Moines se une al júbilo de la Iglesia y el Mundo por la elección de Cardenal Jorge Mario Bergoglio quien ha sido nombrado Papa Francisco I. El Papa Francisco ha servido como Arzobispo de Buenos Aires desde 1998. Su elección señala la universalidad de la Iglesia siendo argentino y sudamericano ahora sigue en sucessión al Papa de Polonia y ahora al Papa de Alemania. El Papa Francisco estudio química antes de antrar al seminario. El entonces trae el respaldo del estudio científico, y de esa manera lo hizo moldear su interés con una espiritualidad ignaciana y una historia de una pastoral eficaz como Arzobispo. La historia personal del Santo Padre y la primera impresión como Papa se nos presenta como una persona con talento intelectual combinado en la simplicidad y el Espíritu de Jesús. Su elección, yo creo, es providencial para nuestros tiempos y apoyara los profundos valores de nuestra humanidad.
The Diocese of Des Moines and parish Respect Life Committees are sponsoring a day of healing called "Life is Precious" on March 16 at Christ the King Church on Des Moines south side. The day will focus on coping with grief of a pregnancy loss with discussions focusing on forgiveness, healing and welcoming a baby with Down syndrome. Speakers include Kris Gaspari, of Rachel's Vineyard post-abortion ministry, Ann Valdez of Mercy Perinatal Hospice and Tricia Pietig of Gigi's Playhouse. The day begins at 9 a.m. with prayer by Msgr. Frank Bognanno and concludes with 5 p.m. Mass. Join men and women for this day of healing and learn of local ministries avaialble to help families who have lost their child prematurely and those who find themselves expecting the unexpected. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jo Chafen at 515-243-7653 or email@example.com.
Bishop Richard Pates, in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, was among 100 Christian leaders to sign a Feb. 25 letter to President Obama and leaders of Congress "affirming the governemnt's responsibility concerning poor people." The letter further said, "Assuring governemnt's obligation to advance the common good, ensure fairness and defend the most vulnerable is good religion and good politics." The letter was sent on behalf of the ecumentical Circle of Protection coalition.
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:
What will Benedict XVI be called after he resigns? His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope-emeritus (more info)
What will he wear? He will retain the white cassock but will give up the shoes and ring. (more info)
What about the pope's ring? It will be destroyed, according to tradition. (more info)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wondering where you can get some good fish and dining companions this Friday during Lent? Click here to find a list of fish fry dinners in the Diocese of Des Moines. Many have alternatives such as cheese pizza or macaroni and cheese.
Bishop Richard Pates, in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, sent a letter Feb. 15 to U.S. Reps. Frank Wolf and Anna Eshoo thanking them for their sponsorship of HR 301, a bill to establish a special envoy to promote religious freedom of religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia. "The bishops have long been concerned over the plight of religious minorities, particularly Christian communities in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Egypt, India and Pakistan, many of whom have lived for centuries side by side with those of other faiths, but now find themselves coming under increased attack and harassment," he wrote. Bishop Pates concluded: "The Catholic Church views protection of religious freedom as a 'cornerstone of the structure of human rights' since it is rooted in the dignity of the human person."
Congratulations to Father Paul Monahan, who will be honored for his yeras of serve in education with the Heritage Award presented by Alegent Creighton Health Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs. He will receive the honor at an event at the Mid-America Center on March 23. After his ordination, Father Paul taught at Dowling Catholic High School while working on his postgraduate degree in guidance and school adminsitration. He served at St. Albert High School as a teacher and principal. A priest for over 50 years, Father Paul is now retired yet continues to assist where he can.
Bishop Richard Pates will celebrate a Mass today at 12:10 p.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral in celebration of the Holy Father's service to the Church and for his health and well-being. Bishop will celebrate Mass on Wednesday, March 6 at 12:10 p.m. at the cathedral for the cardinal electors who will be electing the next Holy Father.
The Rally for Life will be today at the Iowa State Capitol beginning with lobbying training at 1 p.m. in room 102. Lobbying will be from 1:30-3 pm and the rally begins at 3 p.m. featuring keynote speaker Dan McConchie, of Americans United for Life. The event is cosponsored by the Council fo Catholic Women, Iowa Catholic Conference, Iowa Right to Life, Iowans for LIFE, Knights of Columbuis, Lawyers for Life, Patriots for Christ, Teen Pact and The Family Leader.
Today, Friday, is the first Friday of the Lenten season. Catholics age 14 and older abstain from meat on all Friday of Lent plus Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The diocese is offering several opportunities during this Lenten season. First, parishes and schools are encouraged to participate in Operation Rice Bowl, now called CRS Rice Bowl. The Rice Bowl helps us live in solidarity with the poor and vulnerable around the world. Second, the 17 schools in the Diocese of Des Moines are undertaking a special project during Lent to raise funds in support of Holy Ghost Juniorate, a high school seminary in Nigeria. The school is in great need of educational resources. Our diocese is blessed by the minsiterial services of four Holy Spirit priests from Nigera. Third, Bishop Richard Pates encourages parishioners to take advantage of small faith-sharing groups focusin gon the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The groups are being organized in conjunction with the Year of Faith being commemorated throughotu the Catholic Church this year. On behalf of the diocese, theologian Dr. Cheryl Fournier has produced a book called "Walking by Faith: Vatican Council II" that provides a look at the opening speech of Blessed John XXIII as well as excerpts of four documents, called constitutions, that came from the council. Contact your parish for more informatino about these three Lenten opportunities.
Bishop Richard Pates issued the following statement regarding the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI. Scroll down to see the statement in Spanish.
“The totally unexpected yet courageous decision of Pope Benedict XVI to retire at the end of February is clear testimony of his commitment to generous service as long as he is able for the well-being of the Catholic Church. Surely, he has been attentive to the voice of God speaking to him in prayer.
“When he was first elected pope, a Protestant theologian commented to me: ‘The Catholic Church now has at its helm a first class theologian.’ In his nearly eight years as pope, Benedict XVI has exercised this capacity as theologian with writings and talks that will provide understanding and inspiration for centuries to come. His pastoral heart also emerged on the world stage generating hope and consolation.
“Personally, I had the great privilege to become acquainted with Cardinal Ratzinger when his itinerary on his first personal trip to the United States included three days in St. Paul, Minnesota on a visit to St. John Vianney College Seminary and the University of St. Thomas. Since his election as pope, I have met him three times, most recently last spring during the ad limina visit of the bishops of Region 9 of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The pope is always personally attentive, friendly and gracious.
“Our prayers now turn to the College of Cardinals as they prepare to elect Benedict XVI’s successor. May they experience the powerful guidance of the Holy Spirit in the process of electing the successor of Peter the Apostle.”
“En una decisión completamente inesperada del Papa Benedicto XVI, pero aun así valerosa, respecto a retirarse al final de febrero es un claro testimonio de su compromiso a servir con generosidad al bienestar de la Iglesia Católica mientras le sea posible. Seguramente él ha estado atento a la voz de Dios que le habla por medio de la oración.”
“Recién fue electo como papa, un teólogo Protestante me comentó: ‘Ahora está a cargo de La Iglesia Católica un teólogo de primera.’ En sus casi ocho años como papa, Benedicto XVI ha ejercido sus habilidades de teólogo por medio de escritos y pláticas que serán fuente de entendimiento e inspiración por muchos siglos a futuro. Su corazón pastoral también emergió en el escenario mundial generando esperanza y consuelo.”
“Tuve el gran privilegio personal de conocer al Cardenal Ratzinger cuando su itinerario de su primer viaje personal a los Estados Unidos incluía tres días en St. Paul, Minnesota en una visita al Seminario St. John Vianney en la Universidad de St. Thomas. Desde su elección como papa, me reuní con él en tres ocasiones, la más reciente en mi visita ad limina la primavera pasada junto con los obispos de la Región 9 de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos. El papa siempre se mostró personalmente atento, amigable y afable.
“Hagamos ahora oración por el Colegio de Cardenales conforme se preparan para elegir al sucesor de Benedicto XVI. Que puedan vivir la poderosa guía del Espíritu Santo en el proceso de elegir al sucesor del Apóstol Pedro.”
Citing health concerns, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, who is 85, announced this morning that he will resign effective Feb. 28. "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," he reportedly said to cardinals who gathered with him to talk about the canonization of new saints. Pope Benedict was elected in April, 2005, at age 78, is the first to step down in nearly 600 years. The College of Cardinals will make plans to hold a conclave when they will elect a new pope.
Bishop Richard Pates issued the following statement on the most recent proposals on the HHS mandate.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan's statement on the most recent revisions of the HHS mandate highlights continuing deficiencies from the Catholic Church's perspective.
The narrow understanding of a religious ministry.
Continuing to compel church ministries such as Catholic education, healthcare ministries and Catholic charities to fund and facilitate services such as contraceptives, including abortion inducing drugs and sterilization that violate Catholic teaching.
Disregard for conscience rights of for-profit business owners.
The Catholic Church will continue to dialogue with the Obama Administration in trying to achieve a solution that fulfills its pledge for such a solution on this issue. At the same time, remedies will continue to be pursued in the courts and legislative bodies.
Bishop Richard Pates, in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, introduced himself to the new Secretary of State, John Kerry. In the letter dated Feb. 6, Bishop Pates outlined the priorities of the U.S. bishops in countries abroad. "We welcome and appreciate our continuing dialogue with you and your department on these and other matters of mutual concern," wrote Bishop Pates. "We wish you every blessing and success as you undertake your important responsibilities." Read the full letter here.
Welcome to Luis Salinas Mendoza, of Osceola, who began this week as the first coordinator of Hispanic Youth Ministry for the diocese. Luis will be working to identify and form adult Hispanic youth ministers. He'll also provide resources and guidance regarding Hispanic youth ministry to diocesan departments particularly Evangelization & Catechesis, Youth Ministry and Vocations to assist them in becoming more culturally sensitive and inclusive in their planning and activities.
Congratulations to five individuals who received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice papal honor on Sunday at St. Ambrose Cathedral. Those who were presented the honor are: Lois and Jim Behrens (right), Michael Hoffman and Mary (below) and R.W. Nelson.
During the liturgy, Bishop Pates said these five individuals are great role models and help raise the standard of sacrifice and generosity. They have each contributed in many ways to the diocese, in particular to Holy Family School in Des Moines, which serves children of many different cultures.
All four Iowa bishops are members of the Knights of Columbus have issued letters of support and an invitation to men ages 18 and older to prayerfully consider joining the organization. Each parish will individually determine how to disseminate the letter from their bishop.
The Knights of Columbus was formed 130 years ago with the purpose of defending their country, their families and their faith. Today, the Knights of Columbus continue the mission of their founder, Venerable Servant of God Father Michael J. McGivney, to be the bearers of Christ in the world. the Knights of Columbus have been called "the strong right arm of the Church" and have been praised by popes, presidents and other world leaders for support of the Church, programs of evangelization, Catholic education, civic involvement and aid to those in need.
This is Catholic Schools Week! Schools within the Diocese of Des Moines are celebrating with a variety of activities and open houses. Check here for a list of schools and their open house schedules. Tune in to Bishop Richard Pates' radio show "In the Heartland With Bishop Pates" this Friday. Bishop will talk with several educators about Catholic schools in our diocese and nationwide. His show airs on Iowa Catholic Radio and Spirit Catholic Radio Network.
This weekend there will be a special collection in parishes for Project HOPE (Help Our Parents Educate). This is a scholarship program based on financial need that began 32 years ago through the generosity of our parishioners. Project HOPE has provided access to Catholic education to more than 8,000 students. Last year alone, more than $60,000 was raised for Project HOPE. It allowed the diocese to provide an average of $271 to 214 students from families with the greatest need.
There are many people who desire a Catholic education for their child but due to the current state of the economy, need assistance with tuition. We would like to be able to help more families. The average cost to families for Catholic elementary school tuition is about $2,510 per student. Please support Project HOPE so all children who desire a Catholic education have the opportunity. You can make a contribution online by clicking here.
You have to check out this story in the January edition of The Catholic Mirror. Preschooler Connor Andres, of Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Parish in Ankeny, saw TV coverage of Hurricane Sandy and the aftermath. "Mom, they need our help," he said. So his mother, Terri Andres, helped her son, a student at the parish's Little Learners Preschool, launch a fundraiser called "Little Hands, Big Hearts." Find out how Connor and his friends, and eventually the whole parish, raised funds. Learn how much they raised and what it meant to those who received that gift in this month's edition of The Catholic Mirror.
During his recent visit to Nigeria, Bishop Richard Pates visited a high school minor seminay in a city called Ihiala. There, he found extreme poverty. The seminary's walls and roof were dilapidated and there were very few windows. Few desks, chairs or books were available. With no constant power supply, electricity was spotty. Sewage, water and drainage systems all needed to be reconstructed.
Though the students at the seminary learned under extreme conditions, Bishop Pates found the faith and call to the priesthood very much alive in the community and the country. He ordained 10 priests for the Spiritan religious community and 15 to the transitional diaconate during his visit.
Bishop has asked Des Moines diocesan schools and religious education programs to raise funds for the seminary students. They will begin this effort during Lent. Watch in your local parish for opportunities to which you can contribute to help the students at the seminary in Nigeria. Or, you are invited to make a donation to the effort by contacting Dr. Luvern Gubbels, diocesan schools superintendent, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-237-5013.
Did you know we have someone right here in the Des Moines diocese who assisted at the Second Vatican Council? Monsignor Larry Beeson was there, assisting our very own Bishop Edward C. Daly, who served at the landmark council. Hear what Msgr. Beeson has to say about it on Saturday, Jan. 26 as the diocese continues its celebration of the Year of Faith with an in-depth look at Vatican II. Join us from 9-2:30 p.m. In addition to hearing Msgr. Beeson share his experience, we'll also hear Matthew Halbach, director of the St. Joseph Eudcation Center in West Des Moines. He'll explain for us the framework of Vatican II and its implications for today. Lunch will be provided so make sure you let us know if you're coming. you can RSVP by sending a quick note to Sherri Simmer at email@example.com.
A Youth 2000 retreat sponsored by All Saints Church in Des Moines will be March 1-3 at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines. This is a Eucharistic retreat for all high school youth as well as college students. The retreat will be directed by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.
The retreat was held in Des Moines metro area for eight years between 2001-2008. for more informaiton, check out the website youthretreatdsm.org.
Two central Minnesota Catholic colleges are presenting a program of opera and dance tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Temple for Performing Arts' Grand Hall in Des Moines. The College of St. Benedict and St. John's University Symphony Orchestra will present the program for free, though free-will donations will be accepted.
Mark your calendar for the annual Mass for Life slated to be celebrated on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines. Bishop Richard Pates will be presiding. Diocesan priests and deacons are invited to concelebrate. As we mark the 40th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision, pray with us for a culture of life. The Mass is sponsored by Catholic Charities Social Justice Consortium.
During a recent homily about Advent being a time of preparation, Msgr. Stephen Orr happened to mention that there are those practical preparations, too, like baking cookies. And when you do, he told his parishioners, save three for Father. The following weekend, his parishioners at Our Lady's Immaculate Heart in Ankeny surprised him with a large basket filled with baggies -- each containing three cookies.
"I will sure look like the Cookie Monster before long after eating all those wonderful cookies you brought last weekend!" he said in a weekly note to parishioners. "What an amazing variety. While I will enjoy many of them and fill my freezer for enjoyment for weeks to come, I hope you don't mind if I share them as well. As we remember some of our families most in need this Christmas time, they will find a few little 'cookie treats' in their packages. In that way, we will spread the joy!"
Last week, Bishop Stephen Blaire, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Bishop Richard Pates, in his role as chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote to Congress calling on it to avoid the "fiscal cliff" with a bipartisan and balanced agreement that raises adequate revenue and protects programs that serve families living in poverty. You can read the letter here. The letter explains our Church's budget advocacy in light of Catholic teaching on taxation and the economy.
And this week, on Dec. 18, Bishop Pates sent a letter to National Security Advisory Thomas Donilon expressing concern about Iran and nuclear weapons. Bishop Pates said, "A diplomatic solution is preferable to military action which could have unpredictable and dramatic repercussions for the region." Check out the letter here.
Franciscan Father Tom Kunnel, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Red Oak and St. Patrick Parish in Imogene, recently wrote a column for his parish bulletins that addressed the Mayan calendar's claim that the world will end this Friday. He explains the end-of-the-world questions using a Catholic perspective.
Will the world end on Dec. 21, 2012?
By Father Tom Kunnel, TOR
On Dec. 21, the Mayan calendar comes to an end and so, some fear, do we. Little is known of the Mayans -- a Central American civiliation skilled in mathematics and astronomy -- but many believe this ancient culture had secret knowledge that enabled them to predict when the world would end. The question we need to ask is, will the world end on Dec. 21?
The foundation of our Christian life is always focused towards our ultimate end, the escatological life; life ordained to be with our Lord. Life with God is continual and ongoing, being both here on earth and continuing on to life in heaven. So the Bible always refers both to life and eternal life -- the life we have here on earth and eternal life in heaven with the Lord. We must not forget that for us Christians, the "eschaton" is the final event. This final event is to be understood not only as a future goal, but as a reality which has already begun with the historical coming of Christ. His passion, death and resurrection are the supreme events in the history of humanity, the true foundation of Christianity, as well as the uniqueness of our religion. This fundamental foundation of Christianity has now entered into its final phase, making a qualitative leap into the final event, eternal life. The horizon of a new relationship with God is unfolding for humanity, marked by the great offer of salvation made to the fallen world in Christ.
Christ said, "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live," (Jn 5:25). The resurrection of the dead expected at the end of time already receives its first decisive realization in the spiritual resurrection of our soul when our soul, while we are living, experiences the darkness, understands the consequences of darkness of the soul, and leaves its darkness behind to enter into a spiritual resurrection, the primary task of the works of Salvation. The theologian calls this proceess "conversion"' consisting of new life given by the risen Christ as the fruit of his redemptive work. Mary Magdalene was the first disciple to experience this immediately after the resurrection. It is a mystery of rebirth by water and the Holy Spirit which is deeply marked as the sign of hope for the humanity of the present, and of the future. The effectiveness of the redemption at the moment is shown only by those people who totally accept this gift of God, and who in turn radiate and illuminate the world. Precisely, Christ is addressing us, his disciples, "to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth."
The twofold, present and future, dimension of the redemptive works of Christ is explained very clearly in his eschatalogical discourse just before the paschal drama of Calvary as he predicted. "They will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky." (Mk. 13:26-27).
The biblical understanding of clouds signifies a theophany; it indicates that the second coming of the Son of Man will not take place in the weakness of flesh, like a babe in the manger, but in divine power. The coming in clouds with great power and glory suggests the ultimate future that will bring the history of humanity to an end. During the trial before the crucifixion, Christ once again repeats the eschatological prophecy, formulating it in terms of an imminent event: "I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the power and coming on the clouds of heaven," (Mt. 26:64).
Now we can understand and grasp well the dynamic sense of Christian eschatology as a historical process which has already begun in our midst and is moving toward its fullness. At the end of all things, there will be a great tribulation, "The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the power of the heaven will be shaken," (Mt. 24:29). This eschatological discourse expresses the precariousness of the world and the sovereign of power of Christ. It will be a complete takeover and moving of everything into the power of Christ, in whose hands has been placed the destiny of humanity. It will likely not happen on Dec. 21, 2012 as the media and Hollywood predicts; surely history advances towards its goal, but Christ has not specified any chronological dates. Attemps to predict the end of the world are therefore deceptive and misleading. Christ has assured us the end will not come before his saving work has reached a universal dimension through the preaching of the gospel. Remember these words of Christ: "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached thorughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come." (Mt 24:14).
The evangelization of the world by preaching of the gospel involves the profound transformation of the human person under the influence of Christ's grace. According to St. Paul, the end and the goal of history lies in the Father's plan to "unite all things in Him, (Christ) things in heaven and things on earth," (Eph. 1:10). Christ is the center of the universe who draws all people to himself to grant them an abundance of grace and eternal life. Christ is a divine judge with a human heart, a judge who wants to give life. Only unrepentance and undue attachment to evil can prevent him from offering these gifts of eternal life, for which he did not hesitate to face death.
No reindeer or snowmen will be mentioned this week on Iowa Catholic Radio. The Catholic radio station serving central Iowa will play only Christmas hymns, carols, family traditions, Christmas greetings, prayers and worship starting today through Christmas Day. Focus on the reason for the season by tuning in to Iowa Catholic Radio this Christmas season at 1150 AM, 88.5 FM or 94.5 FM.
Bishop Richard Pates issued the following statement on the school tragedy in Connecticut on Friday.
"I share the overwhelming shock and sadness of all at the inexplicable death rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday morning. Our heartfelt prayers go out to the victims and to their families, especially the parents of children either killed or injured as they come to grips with this senseless tragedy. May they know that we stand in solidarity with them at this time. I ask all of the Diocese of Des Moines' parishes to incorporate special prayers in their liturgies of the Third Sunday of Advent. Despite the huge shadows and overwhelming grief, we know that Emmanuel - God with us, is present even in these darkest of moments."
A documentary called "First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty" will air on Iowa Public Television on Tuesday, Dec. 18. The documentary by filmmaker Lee Groberg focuses on the origin of the freedom in the years 1630-1836. A Catholic News Service reviewer said, "Groberg manages to craft a valuable overview of complex developments that viewers of all faiths will likely appreciate." Here is a link to IPTV for more information.
Iowa Catholic Radio wants to record and air your holiday greetings for family, friends, coworkers, priests, military and others. Call 515-282-PRAY (7729) and leave a 10-20 second Christmas greeting. Then tune in to 1150 AM, 88.5 FM or 94.5 FM in central Iowa to hear your greeting and those of others throughout the Christmas season.
During the first days of Advent, the Latino community is busy preparing the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Dec. 3 marks the beginning of the Guadalupe novena, which continues through the feast day, which is tomorrow, Dec. 12. On Dec. 16, we mark the beginning of a new novena, known as the Posadas. These are great opportunities to celebrate Advent wtih the kids and get them involved in these special celebrations.
Back in my neighborhood, the Posadas had a great significance as we worked as a community preparing for the birth of Jesus. Each year, we selected nine homes to serve as host, one for each day of the novena. The children loved dressing up for the occasion, whether as Joseph, Mary or even as angels and shepherds. We would walk on the streets from house to house begging for shelter, in remembrance of Mary and Joseph's journey when they arrived in Bethlehem. Finally, the house selected for that day to be host would welcome us in for a feast that started with a rosary followed by the traditional pinata and food typical of the Christmas season: tamales, fruit punch and atole (a corn-based drink). We would do that every day for nine days!
The symbols of the celebrations are still very signficant. The piñata symbolizes the destruction of sin. A traditional piñata has seven cones representing the seven capital sins. The candy and goodies inside the piñata represent God's gifts to those who fight and defeat sin.
Christmas Eve on Dec. 24 is the last Posada and this one is celebrated as a family. After a large, late dinner when the clock hits midnight, the family will sing to the newborn baby Jesus. The youngest members of the family will carry around a figure baby Jesus for each of the attendees to kiss. Then the whole family lulls the baby to sleep. There is prayer and offering of gifts. We then go to bed knowing that Baby Jesus will leave a gift for us in the morning.
As with anything, traditions vary from country to country and even from different regions within countries. The common thing among all these is Jesus as the center of all celebrations, whether in his mother's womb in the Guadalupe novena, looking for a place to stay in the Posadas or putting the newborn to sleep. Jesus is certainly the reason for the season.
You know the station as KWKY Catholic Radio. Reflecting its growth in central Iowa, the station now known as Iowa Catholic Radio will be holding a care-a-thon, or pledge drive, this week, inviting listeners to support its important work. Iowa Catholic Radio invites you to listen, pray for the station and financially support its evangelization efforts. This is the station that broadcasts live important diocesan liturgies -- like the diaconate ordination of three young men -- for all to hear and broadcasts major community events like the Dowling Catholic Pancake Breakfast. Where else can you hear retired Bishop Joseph Charron and Bishop Richard Pates every week? What other station broadcasts from a Catholic parish or school every weekday? Iowa Catholic Radio is growing, having acquired two FM stations this fall to broaden its reach. You can hear Catholic programming 24/7 at 1150 AM, 88.5 FM and 94.5 FM. Tune in to the care-a-thon starting today and support your Catholic radio station by calling 515-282-PRAY (7729).
Catholic Relief Services President Dr. Carolyn Woo will be the guest on the radio show "In the Heartland With Bishop Pates" tomorrow at 10 a.m. Also a guest on the show will be Teresa Dunbar, a leader on the local CRS Global Advocacy Team.
Before joining CRS, Dr. Woo served as the dean of the business school at the University of Notre Dame. She had served on the CRS board of directors from 2004-2010. She was born and raised in Hong Kong, educated by the Maryknoll Sisters and immigrated to the United States to attend college at Purdue University in Indiana, where she earned her doctorate.
Tune in to Bishop's radio show on the Spirit Catholic Radio Network 102.7 FM in western Iowa and Nebraska and Iowa Catholic Radio at 1150 AM, 88.5 FM and 94.5 FM in central Iowa.
Last year, we shared with you the story of Dina Manfredini, then 114 and the oldest person in her parish and the state. Dina is now the oldest person in the world at age 115, according to the Gerontology Research Group. Here is the blog post we ran last year on Dina.
In his role as chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop Richard Pates encouraged our senators to maintain aid to Palestinians. "Assistance to Palestinians, already heavily conditioned, is essential for humanitarian purposes and for building capacity for a future Palestinian state," he wrote. "Cutting aid will only harm the peace process." The U.S. bishops support a two-state solution for peace. Read the whole letter here.
Des Moines police apologized to Deacon Quan Tong, who serves the St. Peter Vietnamese Catholic Community, after a computer mistake resulted in him spending time at the Polk County Jail. Here is the story in The Des Moines Register.
Join Catholic Charities for a number of wekeend events aimed to raise awareness of the plight of homeless families and build awareness about poverty. Friday from 508 p.m. is a fundraising reception at 601 Grand Ave. in Des Moines. Call 515-237-5078 for more information. Saturday is a poverty simulation that gives people a hands-on experience of what it's like to live in poverty. The simulation runs from 9 a.m. - noon. Register at CatholicCharitiesDM.org. And Sunday is the musical open house from 1-5 p.m. at 601 Grand Ave. Coe see the live nativity (1-3 p.m.), see a huge display of nativity scenes, many from around the world, hear Bishop Richard Pates and retired Bishop Joseph Charron read the Chrsitmas story and enjoy local choir performancees. Admission is a gift of a personal care item or cash donation. Go to CatholicCharitiesDM.org for a list of choirs and times.
Bishop Pates recently visited the School of Mary-Montessori, an independent educational effort that offers an early childhood program and an elementary program for homeschooled children. The School of Mary-Montessori operates out of the former St. Boniface Church in Waukee. The school incorporates Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in the full Montessori academic program. The school is available for children ages 3-6 years old and has a two-day-per-week elementary program for children in grades 1-6, benefiting homeschooling families. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attention all parishes and Catholic schools: The latest diocesan directory is now available. Every three years, the Diocese of Des Moines, prints a Diocesan Directory with contact information for parishes, schools, groups and more. The latest one is printed and ready for you. Contact Sandy at 515-237-5046 or email her at email@example.com to get your copy. The Diocesan Directory is also available online at dmdiocese.org, click About Us. The online directory is updated frequently.
On Thursday, Father David Fleming, pastor of St. Patrick Church and chaplain of St. Albert Catholic Schools in Council Bluffs, will become pastor of St. Pius X Church in Urbandale. Father Glen Wilwerding, who is pastor of St. Bernard in Osceola, St. Patrick in Grand River and St. Joseph in Mt. Ayr, will become pastor of St. Patrick Church in Council Bluffs.
Bishop Richard Pates -- in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today in which he says both Palestinians and Israelis have undermined the possibility of a two-state solution in recent actions and policies. Check out the full story here.
Bishop Richard Pates penned a blog post for the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops in celebration of the Year of Faith and the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. In his blog post, he writes about "Gaudium et Spes" (Joy and Hope) which addressed peace, war and justice.
"There is a profound link between peace and justice," Bishop Pates wrote. "War robs the world of the resources to address poverty, and poverty and injustice increase violence. In the poignant words of the Council, "the arms race is an utterly treacherous trap for humanity, and one which injures the poor to an intolerable degree.' 'Gaudium et Spes' spurred a dramatic commitment to justice and peace among Catholics, a moral imperative that continues today."
Bishop Richard Pates is encouraging a special collection this weekend in parishes for Hurricane Sandy relief. He said: "As we witnessed through the images that flooded the media this past week, thousands upon thousands of our firends in the Northeast suffered both physical injury as well as loss and destruction of property and prized possessions. In response to the critical need of the victims of this natural tragedy, the Diocese of Des Moines is accepting donations, which will be quickly forwarded to Catholic Charities USA to assist those severely affected by this disaster." Gifts can be made online or sent to Hurricane Relief Fund, Diocese of Des Moines, 601 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309.
As Election Day approaches, you may be wondering what Bishop Richard Pates has said about the election, the political parties or the candidates. Here is an article he penned that was printed in "America" magazine last August. Called "In This Together: How Catholics can overcome partisan divisions," the article says, "Today, the Church can evangelize by working among people with various perspectives to counter the excesses of ideology. It might often make people angry, but it also would make the Catholic voice more difficult to ignore, elevating it above mere partisan agendas. It would give the Church renewed credibiltiy as a moral voice and force in the culture. In the words of 'Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,' 'We are called to bring together our principles and our political choices, our values and our votes, to help build a better world.' "
Bishop Pates also addressed the election in his September and October columns in The Catholic Mirror, which you can find here.
This weekend is the big Youth Rally at the St. Thomas More Center in Panora. Middle school students will gather on Saturday and high school students on Sunday. Popular youth speaker Chris Stefanick has a special gift for touching young people's hearts and speaking about the love of God in a way that connects with real life experience. For more information, go to stmcenter.com and click on Youth Ministry.
The Diocese of Des Moines officially launches the Year of Faith on Tuesday with a focus on the Eucharist, the source and summit of our Christian lives. Benedictine Abbot Marcel Rooney, retired abbot primate for the worldwide Benedictine order and former abbot of Conception Abbey, will present an evening of conversation, prayer and fellowship at St. Francis of Assisi parish in West Des Moines. The evening begins with a dessert and coffee social at 6:30 p.m. followed by the abbot's presentation at 7 p.m. All are invited. Childcare will be available.
Diocese of Des Moines Bishop Richard Pates said Tuesday, Oct. 16 that the problem with the HHS mandate and religious liberty has not been resolved. Bishop Pates shared a statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding inaccurate information made during last week's vice presidential debate.
Bishop Pates said: "The problem with the HHS mandates and religious liberty has not been resolved. In fact, the USCCB and other Catholic, ecumenical and secular entities vigorously continue to seek redress of these First Amendment concerns through legislative and judicial initiatives and in ongoing contact with the executive branch of government.”
The USCCB statement reads:
USCCB RESPONDS TO INACCURATE STATEMENT OF FACT ON HHS MANDATE MADE DURING VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement October 12. Full text follows:
Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees: “With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other
religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.
HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.
USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.
Welcome our new multimedia journalist Kelly Mescher Collins, of St. Francis Parish in West Des Moines. Kelly earned her undergraduate degree at Iowa State University and her master's degree at the University of Iowa. She has worked in journalism, marketing and public relations, mostly with agriculture. Kelly will produce stories for The Catholic Mirror and produce bishop's weekly radio show. She grew up in a large Catholic family on a farm near Carroll in the Diocese of Sioux City. She graduated from Kuemper Catholic High School and was active in St. Augustine Parish in Halbur. Contact Kelly with story ideas or your advetising needs.
This past Saturday, Bishop Richard Pates delivered the keynote address to the Iowa Institute for Social Action entitled "Threats to World Peace and the Church's Response." In his talk, Bishop covered specifically the areas of Israel-Palestine, Afghanistan-Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the congo and latin America. He also offered the Church's perspective on what peace really means. "The Church teaches that peace doe snot consist simply in the absence of war or violence," he said. "true peace can only be built on the firm foundation of justice. The Church speaks of creating 'an authentic culture of peace' in which 'the defense and promotion fo humanr ights is essential for the building up of a peaceful society,'" he said, citing the Compendium of the Social Teaching of the Church.
Bishop Richard Pates has become more aware of the importance of doing all we can to support our global brothers and sisters as they strive to be self-sustaining. Bishop has traveled around the world -- Ivory Coast, Venezuela, Cuba, Congo and Nigeria -- in his role as chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee for International Justice and Peace. The diocesan offices at the Catholic Pastoral Center are transitioning to use fair trade coffee and tea for staff use and for all our diocesan meetings. Bishop Pates encourages parishes and schools to use fair trade products and make them available for parishioners who want to be part of this economic justice initiative supported by Catholic Relief Services. Fair trade products are made or farmed by people around the world and sold here. The income is used to pay those who farmed or made the products a just and livable wage.
For the third time in less than a year internationally known musical artist Steve Angrisano will be in the Diocese of Des Moines. He led the Youth Rally during last year's diocesan Centennial Celebration and just last month was at the Christ Our Life Regional Conference. Angrisano will be appearing with Sarah Hart and Jesse Manibusen this Thursday during a "Ministering to those who Minister" workshop at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in West Des Moines. Angrisano, Hart and Manibusen will be giving a concert Thursday at 7 p.m. at the parish. A free will donation will be collected; there will be no ticket sales. All three artists will have their CDs and merchandise for sale. For more information, or to RSVP for the workshop, contact Jade at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Saturday is the 19th annual Iowa institute for Social Action featuring keynote speaker Bishop Richard Pates on "Threats to World Peace and the Church's Response." Don't forget to register. A variety of breakout sessions will focus on social concenrs of the Church. The event is sponsored by the Catholic dioceses of iowa and the Iowa Catholic Conference. Click here to register.
This weekend there will be a special collection for seminarians. Please keep our 18 seminarians in your prayers as they discern their vocation to priesthood. They are in formation in seminaries throughout the Midwest. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about our vocations program, email email@example.com or call Father Joe Pins at 515-237-5050.
Retired Bishop Joseph Charron is launching a new radio show "On a Spiritual Journey with Bishop Charron" beginning next week on 1150 KWKY Catholic radio. The show will be broadcast from St. Francis of Assisi Parish in West Des Moines, where Bishop Charron will talk with eighth graders and junior high students. The show will be heard Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., Thursday at 9 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday.
A group called Friends of St. Francis (a care of creation group) at St. Mary-Holy Cross Parish in Elkhart invites everyone to a showing of the movie "Sun Come Up" on the feast of St. Francis, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. The movie is being promoted by the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The film depicts some of the world's first "climate refugees," inhabitants of the Carteret Islands just north of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. The local Catholic Church has been instrumental in efforts to relocate people leaving the islands. The film is 38-minutes long and will be followed by a reception and discussion about the film and what we can do in response based in authentic Catholic teaching. In his 2010 World Day of Peace message, Pope Benedict XVI said, "Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change ... Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of 'environmental refugees' ...?" For more information, contact Tim Kautza at 515-964-7687 or firstname.lastname@example.org and visit catholicclimatecovenant.org.
As fall kicks into gear, the annual Andrew Dinners begin. Bishop Richard Pates will be visiting the regions of the diocese to have dinner with young men considering a vocation to the priesthood and priests of the region. It's a great way to visit, hear Bishop's vocation story and ask questions about what it's like to be a priest. Tonight, Bishop Pates will be having an Andrew Dinner at St. Ambrose Cathedral, 607 High St. in Des Moines. For more information, contact email@example.com.
It's time to get your tickets to the Christ Our Life Regional Conference Sept. 22-23 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Be inspired and become stronger in your faith. Come to hear world reknown speakers such as Washington, D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, our own Bishop Richard Pates, Father Michael Gaitley, converts Allen Hunt and Roy Schoeman, Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza, Mary's Meals' founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, former gangster John Pridmore, and musician Steve Angrisano. Get your tickets here and be ready for the Christ Our Life Regional Conference!
The diocese has posted on its website a checklist of documents needed by young undocumented immigrants who need temporary protection from deportation and a work permit. The checklist is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Bishop Pates and the U.S. bishops welcomed the June 15 decision by the Obama Administration to halt deportations of youth who were brought to this country while they were children.
Tom Chapman, of the Iowa Catholic Conference (the public policy arm of the Church in Iowa), will be talking about the U.S. bishops' document "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" on Sept. 11 at St. Peter parish hall in Council Bluffs and on Oct. 11 at Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Church in Ankeny. Catholics are encouraged to form their conscience in light of Church teaching and get involved in the political process. Learn more by attending one of these Faithful Citizenship discussions.
Register now for the 19th annual Iowa Institute for Social Action to be held Saturday, Oct. 6. The event will be at St. Theresa parish in Des Moines beginning at 9 a.m. Bishop Richard Pates will be the keynote speaker on "Threats to World Peace and the Church's Response.' There will be a variety of breakout sessions on the social concerns of the Church. The cost to attend is $25 and includes lunch. Registration and session listing is available online at www.iowasocialaction.org. The event is sponsored by the Catholic dioceses of Iowa and the Iowa Catholic Conference. Check out the brochure here.
It's time to get your tickets to the Christ Our Life Regional Conference Sept. 22-23 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Be inspired and become stronger in your faith. Come to hear world reknown speakers such as Washington, D.C. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, our own Bishop Richard Pates, Father Michael Gaitley, converts Allen Hunt and Roy Schoeman, Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza, Mary's Meals' founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, former gangster John Pridmore, and musician Steve Angrisano. Get your tickets here and be ready for the Christ Our Life Regional Conference!
As part of the commencement ceremony at Mercy College of Health Sciences last Friday, Bishop Richard Pates blessed the hands of graduates with olive oil, fitting to represent the copious outpouring of sacramental grace. Through this action, all present were reminded of the calling of service the graduates will undertake through their chosen careers.
Catholic Charities Social Justice Consortium recently named Ken Bresnan as the new Respect Life initiative contact for the consortium, which uses the expertise of multiple people for a braoder impact on social justice issues. Bishop Richard Pates and Catholic Charities Executive Director Nancy Galeazzi appointed Bresnan, who currently serves as Parish Outreach Liaison at Catholic Charities. The Respect life initiative assists parishes in understanding and implementing the concept of the Consistent Life Ethic, whereby the respect and dignity of all persons is embraced from the moment of conception to natural death. A consistent life ethic means being pro-life across the board: opposing abortion, capital punishment, assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Congratulations to Dowling Catholic High School senior Brad Robey, whose photo of Father Zachary Kautzky won first place in the Youth Division of Photography at the Iowa State Fair. The photography Salon's theme this year is Iowa churches. Brad thought this photo captured the essence of church. The photo will be on display in the Cultural Center during the fair.
Bishop Richard Pates is on his way to Africa for a visit of solidary with the bishops of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He makes this visit in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace. He will also visit Nigeria, a country from which we have several priests serving in our diocese. Bishop Pates will attend the ordination of several priests with the Congregation of the Holy Spirit.
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.
Bishop's Catholic Charities Golf Classic is scheduled for August 27th. Sign up your foursome today to participate in this fundraiser for Catholic Charities programs such as the St. Joseph Family Shelter, and pregnancy counseling. Learn more at Catholiccharitiesdm.org or call (515)237-5078 for more details. Spots are limited so sign up today!
NOVOS on High, a vibrant community of Catholic young adults in the Des Moines area will meet tonight at St. Ambrose Cathedral at 6 pm. Confession will be offerred at 6 pm with a rosary beginning at 6:30, followed by Mass at 7 pm. For more information, contact Tessa Schaeller at 515-309-1936 or Tessa@stmcenter.com.
Bishop Richard Pates ordained Father Chori Seraiah on Sunday, July 8, to the priesthood for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which is the equivalent of a diocese. The ordinariate was created on Jan. 1 and is composed of parishes, groups, religious communities and invidiuals of the Anglican heritage. The members of the ordinariate include "those faithful, of every category or state of life, who, originally have belonged to the Anglican Communion, are now in full communion with the Catholic Church, or who have received the sacraments of intitiation within the jurisdiction of the ordinariate itself, or who are received into it because they are part of a family belonging to the ordinariate" (Decree of Establishment, 1). Joning the new pilgrims may also be the clergy and people of the Anglican use parishes, who have been the pioneers in the noble work of living out the Anglican heritage within the Catholic Church.
The diocese's Independence Celebration Walk & Picnic, held Sunday, July 1, was a success, drawing thousands of people to the east lawn of the Capitol for barbecue food, music, prayer and speakers talking about religious liberty.
The Independence Celebration was the Diocese of Des Moines' primary activity during the Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period ending on the Fourth of July. The Fortnight was called for by the U.S. bishops as a way of raising awareness, education and prayer for religious liberty.
To see the full article come to the News section of our website. The diocese posted 64 photos on its Facebook page at Facebook.com/dmdiocese.
Sister Joyanne Mueller, Sister Linda Zahner, and Sister Helen Mueting will all be leaving the Diocese of Des Moines. The Diocese wishes to express its gratitude to these women and their many years of service.
Tonight at 6:00 pm, doors will open for NOVOS at St. Ambrose Cathedral in downtown Des Moines. Confession will be available at 6:30pm, followed by Mass being offered at 7:00pm. Following Mass, those attending will be invited to Legend's American Grill at 216 Court Avenue, a casual setting to meet other young Catholic adults. For more information, feel free to contact Tessa Schealler at (515)309-9136 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come to the Independence Celebration Walk & Picnic this Sunday, July 1. We'll meet at St. Ambrose Cathedral, at 6th Avenue and High Street in downtown Des Moines, and walk to the east lawn of the Capitol. You can bring a picnic lunch or buy some barbecue food there. We'll have music, speakers and prayer as we celebrate our religious freedom, hear about threats to our religious liberty and learn what we can do to protect the rights with which we have been blessed. Don't miss the event if you can't make the walk. Ample parking is available by the Capitol. If you do make the walk, you're welcome to use the shuttle service we'll offer to bring people back to their cars parked by the cathedral. Check out our website page for more information, a map of the walk, parking information and more.
Bishop Richard Pates issued two statements on recent issues pertaining to immigration.
Bishop Pates joined the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in welcoming the decision by President Obama, announced Friday, June 15, to halt deportations of youth who were brought to this country while they were children. The President's decision applies to those who are: under age 30, were brought to the United States when they were under the age of 16, have lived in the United States for at least five years and are in school, obtained a General Education Development (GED) certificate or were honorably discharged from the Armed Forces. "This is a long overdue initiative," said Bishop Pates. "I have met many young people who were brought to this country by their parents and, while I do not know who among them is documented, I do know that they bring a great many gifts to share with us. This is a terrific relief to families who feared being torn apart and a great opportunity for young people to contribute to our communities." Bishop Pates said he hopes this change in immigration status, which is similar to the DREAM Act, can be codified into law so that it is not subject to the whim of whoever is President. The Diocese of Des Moines is working with several other organizations to develop opportunities for young immigrants to earn their GED. As plans are made regarding this initiative, information will be released.
On Monday, June 25, upon learning of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona vs United States, Bishop Pates said: "The Supreme Court decision once again has highlighted the urgency and necessity of achieving comprehensive immigration reform through the Congress and supported by the President. Immigration is an issue that pertains to the federal level. In addressing these issues, it is important to continue to strive to resolve them in a manner that truly respects the dignity of every human person and their families. In the American tradition, I believe this can be done. I am confident that this will be achieved if we, as citizens, take heart and are determined to deal humanely and practically with the current situation while estbalishing long-term legal provisions that can be reasonably enforced."
There will be a concert held on July 1st at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Des Moines beginning at 2:00 pm for the retirement of Sister Pat Scherer. Featured Performers are The Community Jazz Center Big Band, Gina gelder, and Abe Goldstein and The Java Jews. Admission is free with a free will offering for refugee ministry in the Des Moines-metro area.
The fourth-annual 'Fairway Fathers' will tee off today in Des Moines. The vocations-awarness event, sponsored by the Office of Vocations, Serra Club of Des Moines, and the Knights of Columbus is open at no cost to golfers between the ages of 16 and 40. A Deli Lunch will be served as the young men team up with priests, including Bishop Pates for a round of golf at Blank Golf Course on the south side of Des Moines. The tournament will be followed by a brief program to promote vocations in the Diocese.
The Diocese of Des Moines is organizing a pilgrimage to Rio de Janiero, Brazil for World Youth Day in 2013. April Young, a pilgrim to Madrid, Spain in 2012 explains, "World Youth Day gave me a chance to experience the faith with many people from many cultures." For more information on travel dates, cost, and more, contact Jason Kurth at email@example.com, or call 515-237-5061.
"Fortnight for Freedom," a national campaign designated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in support of religious freedom, begins today. The Diocese will celebrate the Fortnight for Freedom with an Independence Day Celebration Walk and Picnic. More Information at http://dmdiocese.org/religious-liberty.cfm
We wish to congratulate Katie Flood, a 2010 graduate of Dowling Catholic High School and current sophomore at the University of Washington, for winning the 1500m run at the NCAA National Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines earlier this month. We wish her the best of luck as she continues preparations for the Olympic Trials that begin later this week. Go Katie!
We wish to congratulate Alegent Health Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs on their 125th anniversary. They celebrated their 125th anniversary this past May 22, in which Bishop Pates Blessed a new Healing Garden at the hospital.
Tonight at 6:00 pm, doors will open for NOVOS at St. Ambrose Cathedral in downtown Des Moines. Confession will be available at 6:30pm, followed by Mass being offered at 7:00pm. Following Mass, those attending will be invited to Legend's American Grill at 216 Court Avenue, a casual setting to meet other young Catholic adults. For more information, feel free to contact Tessa Schealler at (515)309-9136 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miranda Leek, an alumna of Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines, secured a spot on the Olympic team for archery. We wish to congratulate Miranda on her accomplishments and wish her the best of luck as she prepares to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Msgr. Frank Bognanno, pastor of Christ the King Church in Des Moines, read a letter from Bishop Richard Pates at Friday's Stand Up for Religious Freedom rally at the Capitol. Bishop Pates invited everyone to the July 1 Independence Celebration Walk & Picnic. The July 1 event celebrates our American and Christian heritage of religious liberty. Meet at noon that Sunday for the walk to the east lawn of the Capitol, where there will be music, speakers talking about threats to our religious liberty, and an ecumenical prayer service. Find out more about the picnic, the route of the walk, parking options at the Capitol and more by following this link.
Catholic Charities will be sponsoring 'Catholic Charities Night' tonight at Principal Park, starting with a tailgate at 5:30 pm, and followed by the baseball game between the Iowa Cubs and the Nashville Sounds. Bishop Richard Pates will be throwing out the first pitch.
In addition to ticket sales, Catholic Charities have also made skyboxes available for purchase, each skybox having an unique theme related to the service of Catholic Charities, such as homelessness, hunger, and poverty. These themes will help to educate the guests while enjoying the baseball game. There will also be a silent auction that includes items to bid on, including tickets to the World Series.
The annual event raises money for essential social services provided by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Des Moines. Last year, over $60,000 were raised to support the organization through the event.
Three seminarians from the Diocese of Des Moines, Ross Parker, Adam Westphal, and Fabian Moncada, were ordained to the transitional deaconate last Friday, the last major step to priesthood. The Ordination was broadcast live on 1150 KWKY, and will be rebroadcast at noon on Wednesday June 6.
Bishop Richard Pates will ordain three seminarians as deacons as they continue to follow their call to priesthood. The ordination will be this Friday, June 1 at 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 2926 Beaver Ave. in Des Moines. The three candidates to be ordained are:
Adam Westphal, of Holy Trinity Parish in Des Moines. Adam says a retreat called Teens Encounter Christ in his senior year of high school was a key part of his faith journey.
Ross Parker, of St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Indianola. Ross says his vocational call is not only something between him and God but also involves the community and the greater Church.
Fabian Moncada Benevides, of Our Lady of the Americas Parish in Des Moines. Fabian, a former psychologist in Columbia, says he hopes to be an asset as a bilingual minister to the Hispanic community.
The transitional diaconate is the last major step in one's formation process before being ordained a priest. The priestly ordination for the three is slated for early June, 2013. For more information on vocations, please call 515-237-5014.
The annual Memorial Day Mass will be celebrated at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines this Monday, May 28, at 10 a.m. Bishop Richard Pates will be presider and homilist. Everyone is welcome! In case of rain, Mass will be celebrated at 10:15 a.m. at St. Theresa Church at University Avenue and Merle Hay Road in Des Moines. The liturgy is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, Bishop Daly Council #644.
Tune in to "In the Heartland With Bishop Pates" radio show on 1150 KWKY Catholic Radio and the Spirit Catholic Radio Network on Friday at 10 a.m. This is a show you don't want to miss! Bishop will be talking with Sara Eide and Joe LeValley about plans at Mercy Medical Center and about healthcare legislation. With 12 lawsuits filed by 43 different organizations this week, this is a timely topic for Bishop's radio show. Hear what Bishop Pates has to say.
The U.S. bishops have called for local activities in celebration of our religious liberty in the two weeks, or "fortnight," leading up to the Fourth of July. In the Diocese of Des Moines, we're planning an Independence Celebration Walk and Picnic at the state Capitol on the Sunday prior to the national holiday. Come and gather at noon on Sunday, July 1 at St. Ambrose Cathedral, 6th Avenue and High Street in Des Moines, and walk with us to the Capitol, where we'll picnic in celebration of our religious liberty. Lunch will be available to purchase or you can bring your own. Music (including instrumental and vocal) will be there. We'll have some speakers and a prayer service. Pamphlets on religious freedom and American flags will be provided for all participants. The program concludes at 2 p.m. with an additional hour for people to socialize. The event concludes at 3 p.m. If you can't walk, you're welcome to drive up to the Capital lawn, on the east side, and park near there so you can be a part of our festivities. Check our website here for details.
Bishop Richard Pates announced his approval and the implementation of a policy for the Diocese of Des Moines regarding church/school activities in the diocese on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings as recommended by the diocesan Presbyteral (priests) Council. This policy is the culmination of a pastoral vision for high school youth that includes a comprehensive approach to adolescent faith formation. Here is a copy of the policy.
One of the stated priorities of the Diocese of Des Moines is to focus more directly on the faith formation and youth ministry needs of teenagers and young adults. In issuing this policy, Bishop Pates said: "Our contemporary culture continues to invade the valuable time necessary for religius education as well as family time. This diocesan policy strives to make certain sufficient time is provided among the myriad activities that crowd the schedules of our youth. Priests, parents, religious educators and youth ministers recognize the lifelong benefit of such outreach."
The effort to promote fair trade products for Catholic Relief Services has grown by one person. Tim McEntee, of our Lady's Immaculate Heart Parish in Ankeny has joined Kathy Regan, of St. Patrick Parish in Imogene, to encourage more use of fair trade products throughout the diocese. They've had some success: the Catholic Pastoral Center (where many diocesan offices are based) and the St. Thomas More Center (home of Catholic Youth Camp) are both switching to fair trade coffee. Fair trade refers to coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate and artisan crafts that are made in second- and third-world countries and sold here. "Just a few cents more for a cup of coffee provides the opportunity to eradicate poverty by putting food on the table of the grower, providing health care and educational opportunities," said Regan. See the full story in this month's edition of The Catholic Mirror, hitting mailboxes this weekend.
Fairway Fathers -- the annual vocations event that brings young men and priests together on the golf course to have some fun and talk about what it's like being a priest -- has been rescheduled. The event date has changed to June 25. Fairway Fathers will be held at Blank Golf Course on the south side of Des Moines, First t-times will likely begin at 10 a.m. with a deli lunch, prizes and a brief vocations program to follow. Fairway Fathers is a joint venture sposored by the Office of Vocations, Serra Club of Des Moines and the Knights of Columbus. The tournament is open to golfers ages 16 to 40 who team up with priests in our diocese, including Bishop Richad Pates. The purpose of the event is vocations awareness, not competition. There is no cost for young men to participate. Contact the Vocations Office for more information.
If you're a young Catholic in your 20s or 30s, then Novos on High is for you! Come out to St. Ambrose Cathedral (6th and High Streets in Des Moines) tonight. We'll open the doors at 6 p.m. with confession, then pray the rosary at 6:30 p.m. and celebrate Mass at 7 p.m. After Mass, we'll head to Legends American Grill (216 Court Ave.) for fun. Questions? Contact Tessa at 515-309-1936.
The St. Thomas More Center, home of Catholic Youth Camp, could use your help. Volunteers are needed to help with some cleanup at the center. Email Ammy Webster if you have some time to get the center ready for the more than 1,600 youth who have signed up for Catholic Youth Camp this summer.
Catholic Charities is taking applications for the sixth annual Bishop Charron Caritas Award. The award is presented to an individual and organizatio that shows exceptional compassion, service and love to all those in need through their volunteer work wtih Catholic Charities. Nominations for this award are open to the public and are due by May 15. Applications can be obtained by calling 515-237-5019 or emailing email@example.com or check out the Catholic Charities website.
As of April 27, the diocese has more than $3 million pledged (over 81 percent of the annual goal) for the Annual Diocesan Appeal. We thank each parish, volunteer and donor for their ongoing efforts and support of this appeal. The ADA allows Bishop Pates to provide ministry at 81 parishes throughout our 23 counties. In order to reach our goal of just over $3.7 million, we encourage parishioners to make a gift to support their parish and diocesan ministry. Gifts of any size are encouraged. Misplaced your pledge card? You can go online to make a gift. Click here. The diocesan website has been a popular tool for gift giving again this year!
The diocese has begun planning for World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brail. Join Bishop Richard Pates and others from the diocese on a pilgrimage of faith. Contact Jason Kurth at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Now is the time to get your tickets for the June 7 Catholic Charities at the Iowa Cubs event at Principal Park. See a great game, visit with friends and know that proceeds from ticket sales purchased before the game benefit those served by Catholic Charities. Sponsored by Mercy Medical Center, this event raises enough funds to operate the St. Mary Family Center food pantry and clothing closet for six months. St. Mary's services 450 families. This is just one way you can have fun and support members of our community. Tickets range from $5 to $75. We have new ticket options, small-group packages and skyboxes. Ask your parish about tickets or contact Catholic Charities at 515-237-5089 or order online by clicking here.
Registration for this summer's Catholic Youth Camp are up over last year, with more than 1,600 young people planning for fun in the name of God at the St. Thomas More Center in Panora. This will be the 52nd season and thousands of youth have memories of their experiences, directors and counselors from CYC. You can still register your children at the St. Thomas More Center website or you can contact Ammy Webster at 515-309-1936 or email her for more information.
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.
Tune in Friday at 10 a.m. to "In the Heartland With Bishop Pates" on 1150 KWKY Catholic Radio and Spirit Catholic Radio Network 102.7 FM to hear a salute to Dr. Tom Neal, director of the St. Joseph Educational Center and co-host of Bishop Richard Pates's radio show over the past three years. This is Tom's last show as he packs up and heads south to begin a new phase of his career in academia. Tune in to hear stories about the funny moments, powerful moments, various memories and reflections on the value of the show as a pastoral tool for Bishop Pates. Joining Bishop Pates and Tom will be Rachel Egan and Faye Akers, who will talk about the mission of the SJEC, which Tom has led over the past few years. They will focus on evangelization and the many programs and efforts of the center. To share your memories of "In the Heartland With Bishop Pates" call 515-223-1150 between 10 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. this Friday, April 27.
Bishop Richard Pates, in his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying the U.S. should establish full diplomatic relations and withdraw all restrictions on travel to Cuba to advance the cause of human rights and religious liberty. Read the bishop's statement in its entirety here.
Please keep the community of Creston in your prayers as it recovers from a tornado that touched down Saturday, April 14, hitting a local hospital. Father Joe Pins, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in Creston, said all church property appears to be fine. Early Sunday morning, he said at least three parishioners lost their homes.
The diocesan Vocations Office has launched a new program geared toward young women discerning a vocation to religious life. The effort, called Bella Vita (which is Italian for "beautiful life") is patterned after the Andrew Dinners, held for young men discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. Bella Vita's mission is to offer exposure to the religious life and religious vocation through the visible witness of religious sisters joyfully living out God's call in their own lives. The next event is Wednesday, April 18, at St. Theresa Parish in Des Moines beginning at 6 p.m. Young women in ninth grade or oder are invited to 30 minutes of adoration followed by dinner and fellowship. A short talk and Q&A discussion follows with one School Sister of Christ the King, from Lincoln, Neb. and two Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, of New Ulm, Minn. There is no cost. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
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: www.dmreligious.org/lectures or call (515) 277-6969 for more information.
The annual Good Friday collection is one means thorugh which we can all be witnesses of peace and help to protect and support the works of the Church in the Holy Land. The Holy Father asks all Catholics to support the Franciscans in their effort not only to care for the holy places but also provide for the welfare of our brothers and sisters in that part of the world. Bishop Richard Pates says their pastoral care is expressed in a wide-ranging effort on behalf of all the poorest social classes, both Christian and non-Christian. Through the efforts of the Franciscans for nearly 800 years, housing and health care have been provided and schools operated. The shrines and chapels of the Holy Land are maintained and service provided to 29 parishes. Your generosity will be a powerful sign of our support for the Christians living in the midst of the violence and instability of that part of the world and for the Franciscans who continue to ring the messag eof Jesus to the Holy Land.