Strategic Visioning & Synod

The Catholic Church exists to evangelize, that is to share the Good News of Jesus throughout the world. We are all called to be missionary disciples and help people understand that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life so that we have hope of eternal life with God.  

The Diocese of Des Moines is embarking on a journey of Sowing God's Spirit by cultivating connections in Christ. It is revitalizing and renewing its approach to helping its 80 parishes create and sustain missionary disciples.

After much listening and discernment, the questions posed to the chancery staff boil down to:

  • How can we help parishes and the faithful cultivate connections in Christ through personal and collective experiences of encounter, friendship and communion?
  • How can we be of greater service to our 80 parishes?
  • How can we assist parishes move from maintenance to mission?

How did we begin this process?
 In February 2021, Bishop William Joensen began a weekly Holy Hour on Mondays at St. Ambrose Cathedral and encouraged pastors and parishes throughout the Des Moines to do so as well with a threefold purpose: To pray for an end to the pandemic, to renew Eucharistic faith and worship among God’s people, and to ask the Holy Spirit what direction the Diocese of Des Moines should follow in the coming months and years.
How did we gather ideas and input from the faithful?

In the summer of 2021, the Diocese of Des Moines engaged the services of Dan Ebener, of Quad City Leadership Consulting,  to help plan a visioning process from which a new strategic plan would evolve. Last fall, nearly 40 focus groups and many one-on-one meetings were held with the faithful and leadership across the 23 counties of central and southwest Iowa that comprise the Diocese of Des Moines to learn what we're doing well, what are the challenges and how we might grow in faith together. 

 How does this relate to the synod process?

The information we gathered through listening sessions for the diocesan strategic visioning process was also applied to Pope Francis' initiative to launch a synid process. 

The Diocesan Synodal Synthesis was sent to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in  June 2022. The report is written to fulfill two goals: 1) to outline what we discovered in our process to regional leadership in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas as well as the USCCB, and 2) to narrate our synodal/visioning journey to clergy, religious and laity who may not have participated in the visioning discussions.  The report showcases: our process, how the top ten themes arose, the four main pastoral challenges the Church of Southwest Iowa needs to lean into, many synodal statistics discovered, and our next steps for the Diocese of Des Moines.

Region IX Synodal Synthesis

A synodal synthesis representing the 15 dioceses in Region IX (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas).  This report considers the common themes articulated throughout the Region IX dioceses and helps the reader identify pastoral needs that reach beyond the Church of Southwest Iowa. 

National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States

Here is a link to the national synthesis: The National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America. The synthesis marks the completion of the Diocesan Phase of the 2021-2023 Synod: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.  This link includes the document in both English and Spanish.  

 How can we pray for this diocesan process?

Here is a prayer (in English and Spanish) asking for divine guidance on this visioning process. We invite all in the diocese to use this prayer. 


 What has the Bishop said about a new vision for the Diocese?

Bishop Joensen has written about the visioning process the Diocese is undertaking in his monthly column. 



For more information, contact, 515-237-5057.