The Diocese of Des Moines


On April 10, 2008, Bishop Richard E. Pates was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to be the ninth bishop for the Diocese of Des Moines.

He is the third consecutive Twin Cities auxiliary bishop to be given the appointment. Bishop Joseph L. Charron, C.PP.S. and Bishop William H. Bullock also served the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis before moving to Des Moines.



Bishop Richard E. Pates was born Feb. 12, 1943 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

After attending Nazareth Hall Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., he attended and graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Latin from the St. Paul Seminary, Saint Paul.

He attended graduate school at the North American College in Rome, holds a License in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, and was ordained a priest by Bishop Francis E. Reh on Dec. 20, 1968 at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.



Bishop Pates has held a number of pastoral and administrative roles.

1969-1970 – Associate pastor, Church of the Blessed Sacrament, St. Paul
1970-1974 – Vocation director, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis,
weekend associate pastor, Church of the Annunciation, Minneapolis.
1973-1975 – Secretary to Archbishop Leo C. Byrne, and vice chancellor of the archdiocese
1975-1981 – Secretary to the Apostolic Delegation (Vatican representation in the United States) in Washington, D.C., and weekend assisting priest at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Chevy Chase, Maryland.
1979 –  He was named a monsignor and appointed a chaplain to Pope John Paul II.
1981-1987 – Rector of St. John Vianney Seminary, St. Paul; 1981-1990 also  served as chaplain of the Serra Club of Midway in St. Paul
1987-1990 – Vicar for Seminaries
1990–1998 – Pastor, Church of St. Kevin, Minneapolis and the Church of the Resurrection, Minneapolis. In 1991, the two parishes merged to form the Church of Our Lady of Peace, Minneapolis where he remained as pastor. During this period he also served as moderator for the Minneapolis Deaneries Council of Catholic Women (1990-1998).
1998-2001 – Founding Pastor, Church of St. Ambrose, Woodbury
Dec. 22, 2000 – Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and  Minneapolis.
March 26, 2001 – Ordained a bishop at the Cathedral of St. Paul, in St. Paul.
2001–2008 – Assisted Archbishop Harry J. Flynn in serving the nearly 650,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. In this capacity he was Vicar General, Vicar for Clergy, Vicar for Youth and Young Adults, and Vicar for Evangelization.
April 10, 2008 – Appointed Bishop for the Diocese of Des Moines.
May 29, 2008 – Installed as the ninth bishop of Des Moines

Bishop Pates has been a member of the following committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

  • Committee on Education

  • Committee on Evangelization

  • Committee on Pastoral Practices

  • Committee on Women in Society and in the Church

  • Committee on World Mission

  • Committee on International Justice and Peace (chair from November 2011-November 2014)

He serves on the Board of Directors of the North American College in Rome.

Bishop Pates serves on the following boards:

     -- National Advisory Board, Center for the Study of Church Management, Villanova University

     -- National Catholic Rural Life Conference

     -- Episcopal Advisory Board for the Cause for Beatification of the Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

     -- Board of Regents, Conception Seminary, Conception, Mo.

     -- Bread for the World