Pope names Bishop Richard Pates to lead Diocese of Des Moines

Pope names Bishop Richard Pates to lead Diocese of Des Moines

Pope Benedict XVI yesterday named Auxiliary Bishop Richard Pates of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to be the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa.

Pates had served as rector of the college-level St. John Vianney Seminary from 1981 to 1987. He was rector when the seminary built and opened its current home on the University of St. Thomas campus. He also served on St. Thomas' Board of Trustees from 1988 to 1998.

Auxiliary Bishop
Richard Pates

The announcement came one year to the day after Des Moines Bishop Joseph Charron announced he was retiring. Pates will be installed May 29.

"I am ever so grateful to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, for appointing me as the ninth bishop of Des Moines," Pates said. "It is a welcome privilege to be called to serve such a vibrant, spirited community in America's heartland. It is a particular honor to succeed Bishop Charron, a good friend and a conscientious shepherd and effective leader.

"At this time," Pates continued, "I also express profound gratitude for the great joy and opportunity of ministering for most of my priesthood at home in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis."

The appointment was announced in Washington, D.C., yesterday, April 10, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Pates, 65, was born in St. Paul on Feb. 12, 1943, and attended Nativity Grade School, Nazareth Hall Preparatory Seminary and the St. Paul Seminary. He was named an auxiliary bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2000.

He attended North American College, Rome, and earned a licentiate in sacred theology from the Gregorian University, in 1969. He was ordained a priest in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, in 1968, and was named a monsignor in 1979.

After ordination to the priesthood, he served as associate pastor of Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul from 1969 to 1970, archdiocesan vocation director from 1970 to 1974, and secretary to the archbishop from 1973 to 1975. He served on the staff of the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington from 1975 to 1981.

Pates was the archdiocesan vicar for seminaries from 1987 to 1990, and pastor of Our Lady of Peace in Minneapolis from 1990 to 1998. In 1998, he became founding pastor of St. Ambrose of Woodbury in Woodbury.