The Diocese of Des Moines

Evangelization and Adult Faith Formation





January 23, 2017


Encounter Lent, 2017 (#encounterlent)


My Dear Friends in Christ,


You are to be richly commended for participation in the Diocese of Des Moines’ 2017 Lenten Series:  ENCOUNTER LENT.  You are providing a great gift for yourselves.


The primary goal of this series is to establish a deeper relationship between Jesus and yourself.  This leads to an ever more productive bonding with your fellow parishioners which guides us to the deeper rooting of our lives in the Church:  the Body of Christ alive in the world today.


I encourage you to devote quality time to your Lenten effort.  It will provide abundant dividends for you.  Especially do I urge you to enter wholeheartedly into faith sharing with your group.  Over the centuries, this has proven as a highly effective way to grow in our faith.


This particular series was developed in coordination with Encuentro V, a process involving our Hispanic brothers and sisters as they move forward in integration with the American Catholic Church.  They do so by contributing riches from their ecclesial culture and absorbing the dimensions of the dynamic American Church.


I am with each of you in a personal, heartfelt manner in Encounter Lent, 2017.  I am confident that it will be a source of abundant riches for all of us in the Church of Des Moines. 


Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Most Reverend Richard E. Pates

Bishop of Des Moines



There are 3 exceptional Lenten opportunities for everyone in the options listed below.  Each option will have printable texts and additional resources to help you and others encounter Christ walking alongside you helping you deepen your faith.


  • The Message of Lent - Pope Francis' insights will provide you with an opportunity to ponder the gifts of God's Word and the human person.  The resource is especially recommended to priests, deacons, religious and other Catholic leadership use for both individual reflection and discussion with parish staffs.

  • Encounter Lent 2017 - Adapted from the 5th Encuentro Process being undertaken in Hispanic communities throughout our diocese this spring.  These materials have been adapted and developed to engage parishioners in small faith sharing groups; although those who wish to use it for personal reflection will find great value as well.  The five themes for the gatherings include:

    • Called to a Loving Encounter with jesus and the Church

    • With Words and Actions: Do It!

    • Walking Togather with Jesus

    • Bearing Fruits of New Life

    • Celebrating the Joy of Being Missionary Disciples

  • Caring for Our Common Home: Lenten reflections for Iowans - Developed through the Iowa Catholic Conference with local Iowa contributors and thus is "Iowa green."  It is inspired by Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Si (Praise Be to You).  This resource provides daily Lenten reflections in order to deepen appreciation for the preservation of creation.  It is intended for personal, individual use.


Resource 1 - Message for Lent 2017 - In English - PDF Download


Resource 1 - Mensaje para la Cuaresma 2017 - In Spanish - PDF Download


Discussion Questions for Pope Francis' Message


Preguntas de discusión para del Mensaje de Santo Padre Francisco



Encounter Lent 2017 Parish and Small Group Leadership Guide - PDF Download


Encounter Lent 2017 Personal Reflection Journal - PDF Download

Instructions to print journal so pages land correctly

1 - Select Color or Black & White

2 - Landscape Print

3 - Two-Sided Printing with pages oriented with writing on the same direction for each page

4 - Select staple in middle of page

5 - Select booklet fold

6 - Enter number of copies and hit PRINT (you may want to try a proof sample first)


Kindle and Nook Users - Please Contact Sherri Simmer for PDF Dowloads you can use on your devices.  Sherri Simmer can be contacted at 



Lenten Reflection Booklet - PDF Download


Copies of Caring for our Common Home: A Lenten Reflection for Iowans cost $4.75 each.

To order, contact the Iowa Catholic Conference at 515-243-6256. Order by noon on February 10, 2017

to ensure printing and delivery in time for Ash Wednesday.


Website for Evangelization resources

The National Conference for Catechetical Leadership is hosting a curated website for resources related to Catholic Evangelization.  You will find useful resources on the site for all aspects of ministry to and within the parish community.  Simply follow the link to the site.





Saint Joseph Educational Center Website

Available for all

The Saint Joseph Educational Center has been a physical resource for the parishes in the Des Moines metropolitan region since 1972.  The Center is funded by the parishes in an effort to enhance adult faith formation and better serve the laity of the region.  Not every region of the diocese is able to have full time staff people supporting the diocesan vison of adult formation and life-long growth in faith. The Center's website is a resource for all parishes in the diocese.  Follow the link to SJECIOWA.ORG


                              More Adult Formation Resources Online


Are you looking for food for your spiritual journey and are not sure where to begin?  Would you like to have something delivered to your computer, tablet or smart phone daily?  Perhaps Lent is the perfect time to explore the sites listed below and incorporate one or more of them into your routine.


Concord Pastor Comments                                                
            daily reflections from Fr. Austin Fleming in
            Concord, NJ

Creighton University Ministries On-line                             
            Daily reflections, on-line retreat in the Jesuit

Divine Office On-line                                                            
            Prayer of the Church/Liturgy of the Hours

Divine Office On-line                                                            
            Prayer of the Church/Liturgy of the Hours and
            daily readings

Henri Nouwen Society                                                         
            Daily reflections from the works of noted
            author, Fr. Henri Nouwen. 

Loyola Press                                                                         
            Three-minute retreat in the Jesuit
            tradition offered on-line

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI                                                         
            Daily reflections from noted theologian
            and author, Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Sacred Space                                                                        
            Website of the Irish Jesuits offering
            daily reflections         

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops                    
            The readings of the day are available,
            you may sign-up to have the readings
            delivered to your in-box daily at no charge

University of Notre Dame                                                     
            Reflections on the readings
            from the daily mass



Spirituality Resources:

In the Diocese of Des Moines, there are people and places to assist with spiritual growth. Any person, any group, any church, people of all faiths can draw upon these spiritual resources.  These people and places can nourish you, your group or your church.  Contact any of these resources for more information. 



Creighton University Retreat Center
16493 Contrail Avenue
Griswold, Iowa 51535


Emmaus House
1521 Center Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50314