Des Moines Catholic Worker


Join Us for the Des Moines Catholic Worker’s 40th Anniversary Celebration Aug. 26 - Aug. 28!

The Des Moines Catholic Worker is excited and amazed to be looking back this year at 40 years of community life, hospitality and social justice work in the Riverbend neighborhood of Des Moines. We are sending out this call to new friends and old, far and wide: please join us in this celebration of our history and help us to envision our next 40 years!

Schedule of Events:

Friday, August 26

6 p.m. – Supper: Dingman CW House, 1310 7th St. All are welcome to join the Des Moines Catholic Workers and our guests for our regular Friday night meal.

7:30 p.m. – Fr. Roy Bourgeois “The Struggle for Peace, Justice and Equality”: Trinity United Methodist, 1548 8th St, (3 blocks from the DMCW)

Saturday, August 27

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Picnic, testimonials, music and dancing (open mic): lot  across the street from Dingman House (1310 7th)

4 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Panel Discussion: “What would a more listening and non-judging US Catholic Church look like for Women?” with Fr. Roy and Rev. Janice Sevre-Dusyznska at Trinity United Methodist

7 p.m. – Social/Music/Munchies  at Dingman House

Sunday, August 28

8:30 a.m. – Liturgy with Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska: lot across the street from Dingman House


“What would a more listening and less judging Church look like?”

“The DMCW community goes on record in support of Fr. Frank Cordaro and the efforts of Iowa Call To Action to reform the Catholic Church. We believe that gender equality of ordained ministry and an inclusive leadership and decision making structure in the Catholic Church is both necessary and  desirable. We add our voices to those who urge an open and free discussion within the Church on these matters. We know that Catholic Workers can and do disagree on issues of Church reform, and that in areas of internal Church reform, our Catholic Worker tradition does not take a stand.” – Summer 1997 Via Pacis 

In the mid 1990s the Call To Action (CTA) movement, a US-based Catholic Church reform movement (originally started by the US Catholic Bishops in the 1970s!) had a very active chapter in our diocese. Bishop Carron chose to deal with us by not allowing any of the Catholic Church’s properties to host any CTA meetings or programs.

As a Catholic priest and a visible leader in the IA CTA at the time, I got lots of “heat” from the Church. I was threatened with excommunication from the Lincoln, NE Diocese for celebrating Mass at a Lincoln CTA event and banned forever from celebrating Mass, or so much as praying in public in the Lincoln diocese; if I did I would “REALLY BE” excommunicated. The Omaha Archbishop pulled my “priestly faculties” from his diocese and promised do more if I continued to write critical letters about the Church in the Omaha World Herald. My own diocese at the time did nothing to support me and went on record affirming the Nebraska bishop’s authority to do what they were doing.

All this is well documented in the 1997 issues of Via Pacis. And it is in that issue that we find the above DMCW community affirmation for women priests and a call for a more open Church.

[FLASH: in honor of our 40th anniversary, Phil Runkel and the CW Archives at Marquette University have scanned the 40-year run of Via Pacis. PDFs will soon be posted on our web page!]

I dredge this “old stuff’ up to say that these issues of Church reform have been a community priority and focus for a long time and the DMCW has been in open public dispute with our last three local bishops, including Bp. Pates over these issues. (See attached photo and 1979 special women’s Via Pacis, edited by Jacquee Dickey, one of the founding DMCW members and the first to move us in the right direction about women and the Church.)

So it should come as no surprise that given the opportunity we would choose women’s ordination in the Catholic Church as our 40th anniversary theme.

We are excited about the two people we have asked to join us for our celebration: Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska and Fr. Roy Bourgeois, both of them friends of many years. We first met Fr. Roy in the early 1980s, before he helped start School of the Americas Watch. Our community met Janice in Des Moines during our 2007 SODaPOP Iowa Caucus campaign. They are longstanding friends with our community and the same claim can be made by many Catholic Worker communities all over the country. Janice and Roy have been arrested with Catholic Workers They have gone to jail with Catholic Workers. Through the years, we Catholic Workers have crossed paths with them on many fronts in the course of our work for peace and justice.

For these reasons, and for so many more, please join us this coming August 26-28 for our 40th anniversary celebration!

For more info contact:

Frank Cordaro
515 282 4781 / c 515 490 2490
Phil Berrigan CW House

PS – If you are in need of housing for the weekend, floor space will be available throughout the Catholic Worker community. We just need to know the number of people to prepare for. If you need a bed, for sure get a hold of us and we will find you one.



Aug. 2015 Statement by the Des Moines Catholic Worker in Support of Women’s Ordination and Open Communion

For several years, the celebration of Catholic Mass at the Des Moines Catholic Worker has been a point of controversy with Bishop Pates and others representing the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines.

Most recently, in May of this year, Bishop Pates wrote us a letter stating that the “privilege” of having Mass at the Des Moines Catholic Worker has been “revoked.” The reason for this is that, in December 2014, Reverend Janice Sevre-Duszynska, who is a woman priest, celebrated a Roman Catholic Mass at the Des Moines Catholic Worker. It is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church that women may not be priests.

In 2010, Bishop Pates also expressed concerns about the celebration of Mass at the Des Moines Catholic Worker, chief among these being that we invite everyone, including non-Catholics, to receive communion.

In response to the Bishop, we wish to let it be known that the Des Moines Catholic Worker affirms the equality of all people, regardless of gender, to be full members and disciples in any Church claiming to follow Jesus; in the Roman Catholic Church this includes the priesthood and other positions of leadership within the Church. Likewise, we affirm that the Sacrament of Holy Communion should be open to all who wish to participate, regardless of religious and
institutional affiliations. No one seeking reconciliation and love should be denied the Eucharist. We believe that Jesus would not have it otherwise.

We welcome dialogue about these issues. For those who may be interested, we have included below links to the letters we received from Bishop Pates in 2010 and 2015, and the 2010 letter from a Catholic Worker intern that initiated our dialogue with the Bishop about our celebration of Mass at the Des Moines Catholic Worker.

May 5, 2015 letter from Bishop Pates to the Des Moines Catholic Worker

November 10, 2010 letter from Bishop Pates to the Des Moines Catholic Worker

August 28, 2010 letter from CW Intern to Bishop Pates

We also invite you to investigate the following links relevant to the
movement supporting women’s ordination in the Roman Catholic Church.



Friday Night Liturgies at the DMCW

The Des Moines Catholic Worker community is pleased to announce that we will be resuming our long-standing tradition of hosting Friday night liturgies, beginning Friday, August 14 at Dingman House at 7:30 p.m.

We are excited to extend this invitation to our friends and supporters to participate in the spiritual life of our community and we hope that you will consider joining us. Please also consider coming for dinner at 6 p.m. with the Des Moines Catholic Worker community and our guests.

The first four Fridays, August 14, 21, 28 and September 4, will consist of a liturgy of the Word and Eucharist. All are welcome to receive communion. Future Friday nights, in keeping with our practice at the Des Moines Catholic Worker, may incorporate a variety of faith traditions. We will keep you posted as things develop.

On April 2nd, the Des Moines Register featured DMCW’s own Julie Brown. PDF (1.3 MB)

On April 2nd, the Des Moines Register featured DMCW’s own Julie Brown. PDF (1.3 MB)


2014 Midwest Catholic Worker and Veterans for Peace Faith and Resistance Retreat Report






News Release







Nonviolence Guidelines

30 min interview with Kathy Kelly by  Irene Rodriguez,  KGNU Radio

Ed Flaherty (audio)

Ellen Grady (audio)

Elliott Adams (audio)

Frank Cordaro (audio)

Julie Brown (audio)

Kathy Kelly (audio)

Michele Naar-Obed (audio)

Norman Searah (audio)

Pat Farrell (audio)

Susan Crane (audio)



March 15 Rally Photos:

160 Photos from the rally by Al Viola

2014 March 15 Anti Drone Rally in DM 25 Photos mostly taken by Frank Cordaro and Ellen Grady

March 15 Rally Videos:

Daniel Hale by Al Viola

Jim Haber by Al Viola

Frank Cordaro by Al Voila

Steve Jacobs singing"Cross the line" by Jamie Kearney

March 17 Witness Photos:

2014 March 17 - St. Pat’s Drone Protest - DM IA 35 Photos mostly by Ellen Grady

March 17 Witness Videos:

Midwest CW & VFP March 17, 2014 St Pats Day Anti Drone Witness DM IA by Rodger Routh



Protesters rally against drone warfare at Iowa National Guard base" by Katherine Klingseis, DM Register March 15, 2014

About 100 protesters rallied against drone warfare and U.S. overseas military occupation in Des Moines on Saturday morning.

Protesters from across the country gathered at the Iowa Air National Guard Base in Des Moines, 3100 McKinley Ave., to participate in the rally. Des Moines Catholic Worker and the Des Moines Veterans for Peace chapter organized the rally.

The protest took place at the Iowa Air National Guard Base in Des Moines because the Iowa Air National Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing will be involved in a mission piloting and controlling armed Reaper Drones.

“It brings war directly, physically to Des Moines,” said Gilbert E. Landolt, president of the Des Moines Veterans for Peace chapter. “I don’t think the people of Iowa know what’s going on.”

Organizers of the event said the rally was meant to raise awareness of drone warfare.

“I hope people will be inspired to do research and form their own opinions (on drone warfare),” said Julie Brown, the emcee for the rally and Des Moines Catholic Worker.

The rally featured several speakers from across the country. One speaker was Daniel Hale, an Afghanistan war veteran who worked on a mission involving drones.

Hale, who now lives in Virginia, said he began the mission believing drones were “a necessary evil” to help people in Afghanistan.

“The idea being sold was drones are cleaner, more sophisticated,there’s less room for error,” Hale said.

Now, Hale is against the use of drones, saying there’s “no clean way of doing things in war.” He also said drone warfare shows “the overwhelming trust in intelligence.”

Kathy Kelly, a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, said at the protest that drones do not give the United States information on the poor and malnourished people in Afghanistan.

Kelly advocated for money to be used to help nourish children instead of to deploy troops to Afghanistan. She said it costs $2.1 million per year for each soldier in Afghanistan and “5 cents to get iodine into the diet of a malnourished child.”

“You have to weigh the options,” Kelly said.

The rally ended after protesters laid flowers on the ground at the entrance of the Iowa National Guard base. Brown said the rally was a
success, but it was “one small step in the long range.”

Some Midwest Catholic Workers also plan to commit nonviolent civil disobedience beginning at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Iowa National Guard base.


"Seven arrested protesting drones in Des Moines” by Regina Zilbermints, DM Register, March 17, 2014

Seven activists were arrested outside the Iowa Air National Guard base in Des Moines protesting the U.S. military’s use of drones.

The 30-person protest was smaller than a Saturday rally at the base that attracted 100 people but was the only event that escalated to arrests in an annual week of anti-war rallies and meetings organized by the Catholic Worker and Veterans for Peace.

The Iowa Air National Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing is in the process of transitioning from maintaining and flying a fleet of F-16s to missions involving remotely piloted aircraft.

“Iowa is known for being the Field of Dreams. This is making Iowa into killing fields,” said Catholic Worker Frank Cordaro, who helped organize the event. “This is making my neighborhood a legitimate war target.”

Monday morning, about 30 people carrying signs, including one bearing the theme of the protest - “Cast the snakes and drones out of Iowa” - gathered in front of the air base at 3100 McKinley Avenue.

Chet Guinn, 85, a retired Methodist minister from Des Moines, was one of seven planning to risk arrest.

“As a pastor I’m opposed to war. Look at what it’s doing,” he said, holding photos of children injured in drone strikes. “It’s killing children. How can we be silent?”

After the group had marched to the end of the driveway into the base, Jim Haber read a prepared statement.

“We recognize the slaughter of war always requires war makers to dehumanize the victims,” he said. “Reliance on drones exacerbates the dehumanization.”

Then Guinn and six others from Des Moines, Minnesota and New York who had volunteered to be arrested approached the gate and read what they called an indictment against the use of drones.

The sound of their chant mingled with an announcement from inside the base demanding the protesters move.

After they refused they were arrested, charged with trespass and released. As the arrests were happening, Haber read the names of people killed by drones.

The base in Iowa is one of several across the country being targeted by anti-war groups because of their shift to drone warfare.

In Iowa, the next event will be a speech by journalist and author Jeremy Scahill.



For a complete schedule of the retreat, see here.

For a complete schedule of the retreat, see here.


SAVE THE DATE: March 14 -17, 2014 Midwest Catholic Worker Faith and Resistance Retreat

What: Midwest CW and Vets for Peace Faith and Resistance Retreat 

Date: Fri. March 14 - Mon. March 17, 2014 
Site: Trinity United Methodist Church, 1548 8th St., Des Moines IA (3 
blocks from the DMCW) 

The DMCW’s offer to host the 2014 Midwest CW Faith and Resistance 
Retreat was accepted at the Sugar Creek gathering and we have now 
secured a venue for the gather at Trinity United Methodist Church and set March 14-17 as dates for the 

We are also happy to announce that this year’s gathering in DM is 
being co-sponsored by the Vets for Peace Des Moines chapter. 

The focus is drone warfare and the announced new DM Drone Command Center. 

Much more to follow… this is just a notice of date and site…. 

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact anyone at the DMCW 
or me directly 

Frank Cordaro 
515 282 4781 

Phil Berrigan CW House 
Occupy the World Food Prize campaign

(Photo: Leah Bolger, National President of Veterans for Peace, speaking in Des Moines on January 22, 2013 at a vigil and news conference kicking off the Iowa Network to End Drone Warfare campaign at the Iowa Air National Guard)


2013 Sugar Creek Report


            The big news from this year’s Midwest Catholic Worker Sugar Creek gathering is that we were back at Sugar Creek and it looks like we will continue to have access to Sugar Creek for future gatherings—at least in the near-term.
            Over 200 Catholic Workers from nine states and 26 cities and farms attended. IA: Ames, Des Moines, Dubuque, Waterloo, Maloy and La Motte. IL: Rock Island, Chicago, Bloomington and Peoria. IN: South Bend, Bloomington and Anderson. MI: Luck, Lake City, Milwaukee and Waukesha. MN: Duluth, Minneapolis, Lake City, Owatanna, Winona. MO: Kansas City, Columbia, St Louis and, in transition, White Rose Farm moving to northeast Missouri next to the Possibility Alliance. OH: Cleveland. SD: Yankton. TX: Austin.
            Newest statistic: 70 tents were counted during the weekend. There were more people sleeping outside than inside. The weather was breathtaking the first two days. Sunday morning was a washout with rain but no one complained (much), given that Iowa is in the mist of a drought. Lots of workshops were offered.
            The winner of this year’s Football Mary was Theodore Kayser, a Los Angeles Catholic Worker for the last five years. Theo and his partner Nicole are currently visiting Midwest CWers looking to relocate. Which raised a lot of questions regarding the validity of Theo’s winning the coveted Football Mary, since so many of us Midwest Catholic Worker communities are trying to recruit them. More later …
            The big news for us here at the Des Moines Catholic Worker came from Julie Brown. She made our offer to host the 2014 Midwest Faith and Resistance Retreat in Des Moines with our incoming weaponized drone command center as our focus and it was accepted. Now we need to nail down a weekend in March/April and find space for over 100 CWers to come to Des Moines and do direct action at our drones command site. Lots more later. [more photos and videos after the jump]

Keep reading


August, 2013: Veterans for Peace UK at the Des Moines Catholic Worker


Ben and Mike with members of Des Moines Veterans for Peace

(Top: Al Burney, DMCW, DM VFP; Mike Lyons, VFP UK; Ben Griffin, VFP UK; Bill Basinger, DM VFP, Korean War Vet. Bottom: Gil Landolt, DMCW, DM VFP; Eddie Bloomer, DMCW, DM VFP; Gene Krauss, DM VFP, WWII Vet)

This August, the Des Moines Catholic Worker was fortunate to host two distinguished guests from the United Kingdom—Ben Griffin and Mike Lyons, war resistors, conscientious objectors, and founding members of Veterans for Peace UK.

Ben and Mike joined us in Des Moines following their attendance at the National Veterans for Peace Convention in Madison, Wisconsin, which they attended with DMCW community members Gil Landolt, Al Burney and Eddie Bloomer.

Following the convention, Ben and Mike embarked on a Midwest speaking tour on the theme “I Will Not Fight for Queen and Country.”

Look for more on Ben and Mike in the upcoming issue of via pacis, the newsletter of the Des Moines Catholic Worker.

Read Ben's report on their midwest tour.

Ben and Mike with members of Veterans for Peace marching in the annual Veterans’ Parade at the state fairgrounds.


April 24, 2013: Author Rosalie Riegle Visits the Des Moines Catholic Worker

Rosalie Riegle

Rosalie with Des Moines Catholic Workers and friends

Yesterday, the Des Moines Catholic Worker was blessed by a visit from author Rosalie Riegle, the “Studs Terkel of the Catholic Worker movement.” Ms. Riegle read from two recent books: Crossing the Line: Nonviolent Resisters Speak Out for Peace and Doing Time for Peace: Resistance, Family, and Community.

Consisting of more than 150 interviews–including many Catholic Workers, several of whom were in the audience–these books explore through oral history the work of activists from the Vietnam War years up to the 2000s.

Rosalie herself has a long history of personal involvement with the Catholic Worker Movement, having started two houses of hospitality in Saginaw, Michigan, and living in these communities for 10 years.

As she related stories of nonviolent resistance, Rosalie spoke movingly of the ever-present need to “Say No” to war and empire. Mike Miles, in his book review published in the April 2013 Via Pacis, described her own sense “mission,” with regards to her books:

“Her desire to collect and share these stories … is not meant to be merely an academic exercise. She admits to being on a ‘mission’ to present her findings to a broader public to test what she perceives to be the truth contained in the lives and actions of her friends and cohorts.”

This truth was felt powerfully last night as we listened to excerpts from Rosalie’s books and personal stories from some of those present.

Rosalie’s previous books include Dorothy Day: Portraits by Those Who Knew Her and Voices from the Catholic Worker. To learn more about Rosalie and to purchase her books, please visit her author page on


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Hospitality and Services

We open the Bishop Dingman House - 1310 7th St. - five days a week and welcome others as guests in our home.

Dingman House Schedule:

Monday: closed
Tuesday: snack at 3 p.m. to dinner at 6 p.m.
Wednesday: closed
Thursday: snack at 3 p.m. to dinner at 6 p.m.
Friday: snack at 3 p.m. to dinner at 6 p.m.
Saturday: snack from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday: snack at 3 p.m. to dinner at 6 p.m.

Besides the meals served:

  • Showers are available the first two hours the house is open
  • Free clothing
  • A phone is available for use by guests
  • Guests can receive their mail at our house
  • Canned goods and toiletries are available upon request
  • Free groceries are distributed at Dingman House on Tuesdays and Fridays at 3 p.m.

Free Food Store: For more than 20 years the Des Moines Catholic Worker has been doing a produce giveaway. We give away donated produce on Saturday at 10am at Trinity United Methodist church at 8th and College.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets every Friday at 4pm at the Phil Berrigan House, located at 713 Indiana.

Contact Info

For more information about the Catholic Worker or to be added to our mailing list, please contact us.

Mailing Address:
Des Moines Catholic Worker
PO Box 4551
Des Moines, IA 50305
Phone: 515 243-0765

The four community houses:

Bishop Dingman house - Drop-in Center
1310 7th St.
Des Moines, IA 50314
515 243-0765

Phil Berrigan House - autonomous sister house with the DMCW. Houses a Peace & Justice Library and meeting place.
713 Indiana Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50314
515 282-4781

Rachel Corrie House
1301 8th St.
Des Moines, IA 50314
515 330-2172

Chelsea Manning House
1317 8th St.
Des Moines, IA 50314
515 777-2180


The Des Moines Catholic Worker community, founded in 1976, is a response to the Gospel call to compassionate action as summarized by the Sermon on the Mount. In the spirit of the Catholic Worker tradition, we are committed to a simple, nonviolent lifestyle as we live and work among the poor. We directly serve others by opening our home for those in need of food, clothing, bedding, a shower, or a cup of coffee and conversation. We also engage in activities that foster social justice.

The Catholic Worker movement was founded in 1933 by Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day in New York City to implement the teachings of the Gospels and to promote the biblical promise of mercy, compassion, justice and love. Grounded in the firm belief in the God-given dignity of every person, the movement is committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, and the Works of Mercy as a way of life. The movement has spread far and wide; over 150 Catholic Worker communities, from Idaho to Australia, serve those in need in their neighborhoods.