Sowing God's Spirit in Southwest Iowa

In the wake of his Resurrection, Jesus rouses us to become witnesses of true love who are moved as the Spirit wills to bear God’s presence, healing compassion, and peace to a broken world. Sparked by the joy of the Gospel kindled in our own hearts, love turns fear to holy boldness as we listen and speak anointed words to persons who have grown lukewarm in their capacity to trust, and who find it hard to believe they are beautiful and beloved in God’s sight. Living by faith is the greatest adventure imaginable, for with God all things are possible. Sowing God’s Spirit is our mission and a labor that never grows old, for we are fed by the daily bread of grace that God multiplies among us.

Cultivating Connections in Christ through Encounter, Friendship, & Communion

As we Sow God’s Spirit in the world, we lean into our vision of cultivating connections in Christ. The seeds of love that we sow yield fruit as we discover Jesus. We are grafted by grace in relationships with Jesus and with one another, like a vine and branches. We form intimate bonds with Christ through the personal and collective experiences of encounter, friendship and communion. Cultivating these connections in Christ is central to our vision as a people after God’s own heart.


Those who cross paths with Jesus in the Bible - such as the shepherds and Magi at Bethlehem, Simeon and Anna, the woman at the well, Zacchaeus, the apostles, the bleeding woman who touches Jesus’ garment, the centurion at Calvary, the disciples on the road to Emmaus - foreshadow how our lives are forever changed when we encounter the Son of the heavenly Father. His gaze and his touch convey the truth that God cares about us. He does not condemn but calls us to follow him to the fullness of life.

Once we open the door of our hearts to a personal connection with Christ, it changes the way we encounter people and are able to accompany them along the path of life. Poverty of spirit becomes an attractive, beatific feature rather than a disease against which we fortify ourselves. Like the Good Samaritan, we recognize someone bruised and victimized by a lack of love, and offer generous service as any true neighbor does. The Spirit transforms our senses and hearts to view others as bearers of God’s image, worthy of dignity and respect amid the sorrows and joys, trials and tragedies, and celebrations that life affords all of us.


Jesus desires genuine friends who are ready to lay down their lives for one another just as he does for us. Christian love finds joy in doing the right thing, heedless of the cost. In his own experience, Jesus witnessed a school of marital friendship in the Nazareth home of Mary and Joseph. He experienced fraternal friendship with Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and he was known to be especially close to the apostles Peter, James, and John as they drew close to him and were converted before proclaiming the Gospel and performing miracles in his name.

Jesus is not simply the loving “giver” who pours out his body and blood, his very life for others. He shows us God’s humility in not being afraid to share his “need” for us. God’s truest friends, including saints such as St. Teresa of Calcutta, know that he still thirsts for souls to whom we are called to show love, to reveal that whatever we do for the hungry, naked, imprisoned, the vulnerable and least among us, we do for him. And in the process, these connections sown and sealed in the Spirit endure forever.


We live in a time saturated by “networks” and social connections produced by technology. How many of us are still searching for a place to belong, to feel that we are unconditionally loved and accepted as we are? We do not need to digitally alter our image or our story. Jesus wants to incorporate our story into his story, which is more incredible than anything we could have imagined.

God is revealed to be for all eternity a Trinity of persons perfect in love and relationship, united in being God and yet not a closed, gated community to which we cannot gain access. The Father sends his Son in the fullness of time so that we can participate in the communion of love who is God, thanks to Jesus becoming God-with-us, both human and divine in the wonder of the Incarnation. Jesus greatly desires to eat and drink with us as he did with disciples and the multitudes drawn around him. He then fulfills his desire to become food and drink for us in the mysterious, miraculous gift of the Eucharist.

His sacramental presence in material stuff such as water, oil, bread and wine, and in persons who become the dwelling place of his Spirit, is the foundation of the community of persons called out of themselves to become sisters and brothers in Jesus’ name. This community has its own name: the Church.

In forming the Church, Jesus never imposes himself on others but proposes the way, truth, and life by which we realize our own hearts’ desire. So, too, disciples of Jesus go out to echo the heavenly Father’s invitation to a wedding feast where all are welcome, especially the poor and those relegated to the “peripheries” of our society.

In poetic language, we identify Jesus as the Bridegroom who is joined to his bride, the Church, expressing the connections formed by Jesus’ Risen Spirit, the loving friendships whose destination is heaven. There Mary shines radiantly among the multitude in God’s presence who sing his praises with all the angels in the communion of saints.

Our Priorities

Following extensive listening sessions across the Diocese, the following six areas were identified as opportunities for growth within our parishes. Each of these priorities focuses upon different spiritual and human “fields” among our people.


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Creating a Culture of Welcome & Care

A welcoming parish is a reflection of Christian hospitality. Once we are welcomed, it is important to know we are cared for and that we matter to the life of the parish.

Inviting People to an Encounter with Jesus

Jesus invites all of us to have a personal relationship with Him. The work of evangelization is an invitation into an encounter with Jesus which transforms us.

Accompanying Youth in Discipleship

Walking with youth means meeting them where they are. Our youth are interested in making connections with their peers and forming lasting relationships.

Engaging Young Adults in the Faith

We seek to connect young adults with Jesus Christ, the Church as a welcoming Christian community, the mission of the Church in the world, and a peer community where faith is nurtured and strengthened.

Preparing Disciples for the Domestic Church

The family is placed at the heart of discipleship and mission. It is the privileged place for evangelization, catechesis, and spiritual growth.

Communicating the Gospel Boldly and Clearly

Good communication is at the core of helping people know and love God. It is the lynchpin in a thriving, active parish.

Our Bishops


We are grateful for the dedicated and faithful service of the bishops of our diocese who built a strong foundation for a flourishing faith community. Bishop William Joensen is our shepherd. Our retired bishops are Bishop Emeritus Richard Pates and Bishop Joseph L. Charron, C.PP.S.

Bishop William Joensen

Bishop William Joensen is our current bishop, installed in 2019 by Pope Francis.

Bishop Emeritus Richard Pates

Bishop Richard Pates served as bishop for 11 years, from 2008-2019, when he retired. Since retiring he has served as Apostolic Administrator at various dioceses across the country.

Bishop Emeritus Joseph L. Charron, C.PP.S.

Bishop Joseph Charron served as bishop for 13 years, from 1994-2007, when he retired due to health reasons.