The Diocese of Des Moines

Bishop Emeritus Charron 

Bishop Emeritus Joseph L. Charron, C.PP.S. was named bishop of the diocese on Nov. 12, 1993 and was installed on Jan. 21, 1994. He retired on April 10, 2007.


Born Dec. 30, 1939 in Redfield, South Dakota, Bishop Charron is one of eight children. He was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood on June 3, 1967 in Carthagena, Ohio. Prior to coming to Iowa, he served as a professor, as secretary for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and in leadership for his religious community.


After ordination, he served as assistant professor of theology at St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota from 1970-1976.


He served as Assistant General Secretary and Associate General Secretary for the USCCB and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) from 1976-1979.


Bishop Charron served his religious community, the Society of Precious Blood, Kansas City Province from 1979-1987.


In 1987, he returned to St. John's University as an adjunct professor of theology and served there until 1990, when he was ordained auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.


During his 13 years of service to the Diocese of Des Moines, Bishop Charron led the diocese to several accomplishments:

  • renewing emphasis on adult faith formation

  • allowing faith, prayer and collaboration to lead planning efforts

  • accomplishing a $20 million capital campaign called "Today's Gift...Tomorrow's Hope" that raised $23 million in pledges

  • addressing the needs of a growing Hispanic population

Bishop Charron has served on a number of national committees. They are:

  • Chair, NCCB Marriage and Family Life Committee, 1993-96

  • Member, Board of Directors, Catholic Relief Services, 1998-2004

  • Chair, NCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care Issues and the Church, 1999-2001

In addition, he was appointed to Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers in 2002.

Bishop Charron's areas of research are: fundamental moral theology, medical ethics, and spirituality. He is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

To reach Bishop Charron, contact the bishop's office at 515-237-5039.