Holy Week 2020 will be much different from any we have experienced in previous years. We must continue to observe social distancing and have no more than 10 people present for services. We pray for those who have died, those who are sick, those who are on the front lines caring for the ill and government leaders guiding us through this terrible coronavirus pandemic. The following resources were prepared to help you and your family celebrate Holy Week 2020 as best you can. 


On March 14, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds called for social distancing including at worship services to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Bishop Joensen cancelled all publicly celebrated weekend Masses and weekday Masses and relieved the faithful of their Sunday obligation. 

Bishop's Response


The list of parishes that are streaming Masses online is growing! Check out our list. Missing some? Let us know what parish(es), days & times of Masses and where they're posted. Sunday Mass is carried at 8 a.m. in the Des Moines area on KCWI, channel 23.

Sacraments and COVID-19

The National Association of Catholic Chaplains and the Catholic Health Association of the United States have put together a wonderful Q&A regarding sacramental practice when you have a loved one in the hospital. We hope you find it helpful and comforting during these difficult days.

"The Talk"

COVID-19 is a reminder that there are unexpected illnesses that can affect our loved ones. More common ailments impact Americans every day, some so serious that family members find themselves having to make difficult decisions about the measures to sustain their lives. Do your loved ones know what your wishes are? Check out these resources for advance directives in sync with Catholic teaching.

Prayer Resources

Use this time to grow closer to the Lord. There are many resources to feed our spirituality. Take a look at the prayers and multitude of websites that offer prayer, tips and guidance.

Radio Resources

Resources for ministry leaders

Parish ministry leaders are encouraged to follow this link to a list of resources they may find useful.

Resources for families

We have compiled podcasts, articles, and prayer resources to foster our faith during this time.

Social Services

Here is a list of social services available in our communities. Catholic Charities can be contacted if you need help with food, counseling or other social services.

Hospitals/Care Facilities

MercyOne Des Moines has taken several precautions.

  • The medical center joined all of the Des Moines-area hospitals in visitor restrictions to protect patients, families and health care workers. The temporary restrictions limit visitors to only primary caregivers (parents/stepparents, spouse/significant other, other primary caregivers).
  • Weekend Mass at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center are cancelled until further notice. All public Masses at Mercy One Des Moines and West Des Moines Medical Centers are cancelled until further notice.
  • Pastors are welcome to visit patients; however, Eucharistic minister volunteers are asked to remain at home until further notice. MercyOne Pastoral Care chaplains will provide the Eucharist for patients at the hospital.

Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston is allowing only visitors for residents receiving end-of-life care. All visitors must be screened upon entry. 


All Catholic schools in the Diocese of Des Moines were closed on Monday, March 16 due to the coronavirus outbreak.  At this time, schools are scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, April 14.  All Catholic school teachers and administrators have worked to put distance learning opportunities in place.  Using technology and learning packets, teachers have created engaging learning plans for students.  They are checking in with students and holding live learning sessions with their entire class.  Principals are starting the morning with prayer and sharing announcements, evening story time, and activities with the students via virtual meetings.  Schools are reporting a 98% participation rate in the distance learning opportunities that are being provided.  Each school is reaching out to students who have not taken part to determine issues or needs and assisting in finding solutions.  Schools have provided Chromebooks for families that do not have devices as well as purchased mi-fi units for those that do not have internet access.  Many schools have partnered with their local public school district to offer grab-and-go meals for the students, while other schools have been able to offer pick-up meals or have continued with their food backpack programs.

HR for parishes and schools

Here is a link to a memo and resource information sent to parishes and schools on March 13.


If your parish or school is part of the unemployment program with the Iowa Catholic Conference, and you have staff whose hours are reduced, or staff are temporarily furloughed, they should file a claim here with Iowa Workforce Development. If your parish or school is not part of the ICC’s unemployment program, your staff may still be eligible for some financial aid if their hours are reduced or they are furloughed. The new CARES Act covers employees of nonprofit organizations. They should contact Iowa Workforce Development for information on how to apply.

Accessing funds

Parishes can access their funds at the Catholic Foundation of Southwest Iowa here.