The Diocese of Des Moines
Catholic Charities
Chico and Fabrice, refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, meeting Gov. Terry Brandstad at the Capital for Lutheran Day on the Hill. Refugees, service providers and agencies that serve refugees gathered together to meet with legislators regarding the bills SF 369 and HF 354 that support Refugee Family Services Pilot Projects and Community Based ESL. For more information please see the issue brief (attached).

Catholic Charities Testimonials
This event has always been one of my favorites because it was at the 2005 Catholic Charities Night at the I-Cubs when I first learned of the breadth of services offered by Catholic Charities in the Des Moines Diocese and began my volunteer involvement with a wonderful organization! - Event Chairperson & Board Member Samantha Chambers

I was recently asked, “What sets Catholic Charities Counseling Program apart from others?” My simple response was that we have the pleasure and the opportunity to provide therapy services for all those that may need it. Our sliding fee scale enables us to provide quality, professional services to those who may otherwise not be able to access services. We also take insurance allowing people who do have the option to utilize their health care benefits. But that’s not all.

A special thank you from a client to Catholic Charities' St. Mary Family Center.

I am a better person because of my work with Catholic Charities.

Diocesan School News
Dowling Catholic High School recently held the Annual Pancake Breakfast and Bake Sale at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Diocese of Des Moines News
Bishops support ESAs 
The four bishops of Iowa support Education Savings Accounts

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.

Bishop Richard Pates will call for solidarity and reform of the broken immigration system in the United States during an education forum called "A Church Without Borders" on Tuesday, Jan. 27 from 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. at St. Pius X Church in Urbandale.

The Diocese of Des Moines is launching Courage and Encourage chapters. Courage is a ministry dedicated to servingpeople who experience same-sex attraction. Encourage serves their family and friends.

Mass for Life 
The four bishops of Iowa will celebrate the Midwest Mass for Life on Saturday, Jan. 17 at 9 a.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral.

Circle of Protection 
Christian leaders challenge presidential candidates to focus on ending hunger, poverty

The New Year is kicking off with a bang with three major events held in one weekend, with the goal of drawing crowds from all corners of the state. The Midwest Mass for Life, the third annual Midwest March for Life and the Iowa Institute of Social Action will be held in the Des Moines metro area the weekend Jan. 17-19.

Bishop Richard Pates has organized a search committee to look for a new diocesan Schools superintendent following the announcement of the upcoming retirement of Dr. Luvern Gubbels at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Bishop Richard Pates reacts to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding religious liberty.

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. Victims of sexual abuse by clergy are encouraged to contact the diocesan Victim Assistance Advocate at 515-286-2028 or

Bishop Richard Pates invites everyone to complete a questionnaire for the Vatican on marriage and family life.

Four Iowa dioceses, through the Iowa Catholic Conference, issued a statement on immigration reform. Bishop Richard pates said issues of justice, human dignity and the rule of law must override political considerations that could derail progress on immigration reform.

Bishop Richard Pates supports the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops statement following today's U.S. Supreme Court rulings on marriage.

Sister Mary Christine Athans, BVM, will be at St. Theresa Church in Des Moines on Wednesday, May 22 at 6 p.m. to talk about her new book "In Quest for the Jewish Mary."

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, Kan. on his appointment by Pope Francis to the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

Statement regarding local appearance of Theresa Caputo.

Thousands of people were drawn to the diocese's Independence Celebration Walk & Picnic on Sunday, July 1 in celebration of our freedom and to talk about threats to our religious liberty. People walked from St. Ambrose Cathedral in downtown Des Moines to the Capitol's east lawn for a picnic.

Thank you to all those who supported or contributed to the Catholic Charities Step Up to the Plate at the Iowa Cubs event on Thursday, June 7.

The Diocese of Des Moines is holding an Independence Celebration Walk & Picnic on July 1 from noon to 3 p.m. to celebrate our American and Christian heritage of religious liberty.

Bishop Richard Pates approved a new policy which states no youth-based activities except for sacramental, ministerial and/or catechetical endeavors will be scheduled or hosted by any Catholic school, institution or organization on Wednesday evenings after 5:30 p.m. or Sundays until 1:30 p.m.

Ad Limina Visit 2012 
Bishop Richard Pates and Bishop Emeritus Joseph Charron, C.PP.S. are making their ad limina visit.

The Diocese of Des Moines has put the proposed Cristo Rey Des Moines project on indefinite hold until additional philanthropic financing can be identified.

Bishop Pates ordained Father Guthrie Dolan to the priesthood on Friday, June 3 at St. Ambrose Cathedral.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the results of the John Jay College study on causes and context of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy.

Bishop Richard Pates issued a statement on labor-management relations.

Bishop Bullock dies 
Bishop Emeritus William Bullock, seventh bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines, died April 3 after having been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Lenten Fish Fry dinners 
List of Lenten fish fry dinners.

Through the persistence and generosity of co-workers at Mercy Medical Center, a family was reunited with a son in Ghana.

The diocese's newest parish already has a website up and running. See the 'birth announcement' of St. Luke the Evangelist. Get more information about this new faith community by registering online at

Davenport Bishop Martin Amos offered the invocation at the Jan. 14 inauguration of Gov. Terry Branstad, who is beginning his fifth term in office. Gov. Branstad and his wife, Chris, are Catholic and most likely will worship at Christ the King Parish in Des Moines, where their friend Msgr. Frank Bognanno is the pastor.

An interfaith prayer service of dedication was held at St. Ambrose Cathedral on Jan. 13 at which Gov.-elect Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Reynolds pledged to serve the people of Iowa.

Bishop Richard Pates announced two extremely generous Christmas gifts that will lay the foundation for the creation of a new parish in Ankeny to be named St. Luke the Evangelist. Bishop Pates named Father Lawrence Hoffmann as pastor of the new parish effective Jan. 1, 2011.

The Diocese of Des Moines was advised today of the tragic death of the beloved Sr. Stella Neill, RSM, due to a single-car accident last night. Sister Stella was not only a leader in the Catholic community but in the broader community, specifically related to housing issues. She was the founder of Anawim Housing and has assisted the diocesan Senior Housing Corp. In a note to all priests, sisters and deacons of the diocese, Bishop Richard Pates said: "We are very much aware of Sister Stella’s enormous contributions to her religious community, to the Diocese of Des Moines, to the religious women in this diocese and her indefatigable leadership and service to the poor through the housing projects of Anawim and most recently the housing initiative of Christ the King Parish." Funeral arrangements are pending. Please watch the diocesan blog and Facebook page for details as they become available.

Bishop Richard Pates, in unison with Pope Benedict XVI, prayed this past Saturday at St. Ambrose Cathedral for those awaing birth in the womb of their mothers.

The following is a list of communal penance services held in Catholic churches the Des Moines area during this Advent season.

Seminarian Guthrie Dolan was ordained a deacon on Friday, Nov. 19 at St. Joseph Church in Des Moines. Being ordained to the transitional diaconate is the last major step toward priesthood. Deacon Dolan will be ordained a priest on Friday, June 3 at St. Ambrose Cathedral.

Diocesan Centennial begins 
Diocese of Des Moines begins its centennial celebration marking its 100th anniversary as a diocese.

The Christ Our Life Catholic Conference is Oct. 16-17 at Wells Fargo Arena. Go to for tickets and more information.

Seminarian Convocation 
Seminarians gather for Day of Reflection, convocation before heading back to school.

Founder of Cristo Rey in DM 
Jesuit Father John Foley, founder of the Cristo Rey model for high school, visited Des Moines on Thursday, July 1, to promote the Cristo Rey concept. The Diocese of Des Moines is doing a feasibility study to determine the viability of such a school in the Des Moines metro area.

Catholic Youth Camp celebrated 50 years of serving youth in the Diocese of Des Moines on May 29.

Deacon Zach Kautzky shared with The Catholic Spotlight radio show a few years ago how he first heard his call to be a priest, his response, and the faith journey that has led him to his ordination day on Friday, June 4.

Folks from across the diocese gathered at St. Francis of Assisi May 20 to pick up practical strategies for helping families make the Bible relevant to their everyday lives.

Catholic Charities to independently continue resettling refugees, continuing a legacy of helping those fleeing their homeland due to war and persecution.

Washing of Feet 
During today’s Holy Thursday Mass at St. Ambrose Cathedral, Bishop Richard Pates washed the feet of about a dozen people. The washing of feet is symbolic of service and charity of Jesus Christ, who came “not to be served, but to serve.”

Chrism Mass 
Last night, the diocese celebrated the annual Chrism Mass, at which oil and chrism is blessed and at which priests renew their vows.

Catholic Charities' homeless shelter, the St. Joseph Emgergency Family Shelter, is expanding thanks to a donation of $1 million from Tom Moreland and St. Jude Enterprises and a grant from the state's I-Jobs program. Ground was broken on Monday, March 22.

Bishop Richard Pates invited the basketball players and cheerleaders from St. Albert School and Dowling Catholic High School to a spaghetti supper and wished them well in the state tournament this week.

Bishop Richard Pates, along with other bishops in Iowa, lobbied state legislators on Feb. 2 at the state Capitol as part of their work with the Iowa Catholic Conference.

VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News)—Christian families should be a happy and loving environment in which young people can discern calls to the priesthood or religious life, Pope Benedict XVI says in his message for the World Day of Prayers for Vocations.

For the first time in recent history, the number of religious priests has increased!

Emphasizes Importance of Studying the Faith as an Organic Whole

The 2012 celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life will be observed in the United States on the weekend of Feb. 4-5.

Mass with Seminarians, August 20, 2011 Pope Benedict XVI gives guidance and support to seminarians for their years of formation.

VATICAN CITY, 27 SEP 2011 (VIS) - On Saturday 24 September, during the course of his apostolic visit to Germany, the Holy Father met with seminarians in the city of Freiburg im Breisgau, whom he addressed off-the-cuff in German. Extracts of his remarks are given below.

MAYNOOTH, Ireland, OCT. 18, 2011 ( Answering the "call" is getting a little easier these days, and in a surprising place. Those who want more information on joining the Catholic priesthood in Ireland need look no further than their smart phone.

The clergy topped the list of the Ten Happiest Jobs found in an article at, as reported a General Social Survey by the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago.   Read the whole article here:  ...