News: Diocese humming with plans for episcopal ordination

August 21, 2019

Bishop-elect William Joensen

Bishop-elect William Joensen will be ordained a bishop for the Diocese of Des Moines on Friday, Sept. 27 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines.

St. Francis Parish was selected because it has the highest capacity of any church in the diocese. A large crowd is expected from the Des Moines diocese and the Archdiocese of Dubuque, where the bishop-elect was born and raised.

With the church expected to be filled to capacity, the attendees will need a ticket. Representatives from each parish will be invited.

Broad representation from across the diocese will be present through participation in the choir. Parish directors of music are submitting local choral singers’ names to the diocesan Office of Worship, said Father Trevor Chicoine, the liturgy coordinator.

The 2 p.m. ordination and installation, rich in Catholic tradition, can be seen through a live broadcast on the diocesan website and on the diocese’s Facebook page, It can also be heard on Iowa Catholic Radio.

Dubuque Archbishop Michael O. Jackels will preside at the ordination. The sacrament of Holy Orders will be conferred by the laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination. Archbishop Jackels will anoint Bishop-elect Joensen with Sacred Chrism.

The archbishop will invest the new bishop with an episcopal ring, a miter (the liturgical headdress for bishops in the Latin Church), and a pastoral staff or crosier (which is shaped like a shepherd’s crook). All are symbols of the office and ministry of a bishop.

Pope Francis’ representative to the United States, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre, will be present as the bishop-elect is entrusted with the care of the Diocese of Des Moines. He will read a translation of the Latin letter written by Pope Francis making the appointment.

Immediately following the ordination and installation until 6:30 p.m., there will be an opportunity for the public to greet and congratulate the bishop-elect. The meet and greet will be at the Ron Pearson Center, 5820 Westown Parkway in West Des Moines.

The public is invited to vespers, also called evening prayers, on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. at St. Ambrose Cathedral, 601 Grand Ave. in Des Moines.The bishop-elect will formally knock on the cathedral doors and be admitted as the next bishop-to-be. This prayer service is open to the public.