News: Farmer who brought a saint to Iowa dies

September 4, 2019

Joe Hays nullThe farmer who penned a letter inviting St. John Paul II to Iowa in 1979, died 34 days before the 40th anniversary of that historic visit. Joe Hays gave that letter to Bishop Maurice Dingman, who sent it on to the Vatican. After receiving the invitation, the pope added a stop at St. Patrick Church at Irish Settlement and an open-air Mass at Living History Farms in Urbandale to his agenda on a swing through the United States. That day, Oct. 4, 1979, drew thousands of people together in faith. Joe generously shared his story over and over with anyone who asked. May he enjoy the fullness of life with the Risen Savior forever. Services will be at St. Joseph Church in Winterset. Here is his full obituary.