Parish News

The Pastor Writes...

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Next Saturday…Next Saturday evening, January 27, please welcome Bishop Joseph Charron, our retired bishop, as he celebrates the 5 pm Mass.  I will be making the Christian Experience Weekend (CEW) with the women and he will cover Mass for me.  He always enjoys coming to offer Mass with this parish and appreciates the warm welcome he always receives. Welcome and thank you, Bishop Charron.

Prayers and discernment…Please pray for the women making this CEW retreat this weekend.  May they be open to the power of the Holy Spirit at work among them.  Pray also for the men who are considering participation in the men’s CEW in February (9-11th).  Please encourage anyone who may be hesitating to take a leap of faith and come to the retreat.  They will be forever grateful for your support and invitation.

Travel…For the 26th consecutive year I will join a group of priests with whom I worked at the seminary in Rome this week from Monday through Friday.  We are scattered from California to Connecticut so we don’t have a chance to get together throughout the year.  As I have mentioned before, we spend the time solving all the problems of the Church and world. Then the next year we have to start over since no one took our advice!  Please pray for safe travels.  We will be in West Palm Beach, Florida for the week (someone has to do it!)

PS-- On January 25 the office will be closed while the staff attends an off-site retreat. Thank you for your understanding!

PPS--Happy birthday to Fr Steve on his 70th birthday (January 27)! OLIH has been blessed with your 13 years of service to this parish. All our best in the years ahead!

Pave the Way Campaign

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By now, all registered members of the parish should have received a letter detailing what we hope to accomplish with our parking lot campaign.  After Masses this weekend, you are able to address more specific questions about the project to the representative from Snyder & Associates and members of the committee.

  1. On the weekend of February 3 & 4, we will have individualized packets for you to pick up which outline the range of contributions we will need for this project to be successful. Please prayerfully consider how you and your   family can be part of this endeavor.  We will need your commitment so the construction can begin as soon as possible this spring.

The Gift of a Catholic Education

A special collection for Project HOPE (Help Our Parents Educate) will be next weekend, January 27-28. Project HOPE gives children the opportunity to receive a quality Catholic education by providing scholarships to families in need. Please help provide the gift of a Catholic education and consider giving to Project HOPE. You can drop your gift in your parish collection basket the weekend of January 27-28. Thank you!

We Need Fleece Again!

Can you believe Lent is only three weeks away? We’re starting NOW to collect donations of two yards of fleece for our blanket making/movie night (March 2) so you can watch for great sales on it. Drop it off at the office or bring it to a Faith Formation class.  All colors and patterns are appreciated! 

#TBT: OLIH in the ‘60’s

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We recently posted this photo on our Facebook page for Throwback Thursday and received all sorts of comments from folks who remember climbing on that roof (and being chased off it!), the priests from that time (Fr Elias, Fr Hans and Msgr Schmitt) and how central the parish was to their life. Do you have any photos or memories to share? We’re always looking for things to post.


Snow policies…

Just a reminder of the long-standing policy of the parish when we have significant snow or ice. If Ankeny schools are closed for the day due to snow/ice, there is no 8:30 am Mass/Communion Service that day. The office will be closed as well. If the Ankeny schools delay opening for 2 hours as they sometimes do, we will not have 8:30 am Mass/Communion service.  The office will delay opening 2 hours as well.

On the weekend, listen to the TV/radio announcements about closures or make sure you are signed up to receive our Updates or have our app. If the majority of the churches in the area cancel due to dangerous weather, that will be a good indication that we will cancel as well.  In all things, safety is the number one priority!

Planning a Baptism?

If you are planning a baptism in the next couple of months, please be aware that except in extenuating circumstances, we do not hold them during Lent (begins on February 14 this year). The only date remaining is the weekend of February 4. They will resume on April 15. Call Amy, 964-3038 to schedule.

The Catholic Table: Creating Community

Chapter 4 of The Catholic Table talks about how sharing a meal creates community. We nourish our bodies, minds and each other when we share meals. Are you a senior who often eats alone?  Are you looking for a way to nourish yourself?  Check this out—
Polk County Senior Services operates a congregate meal site   Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Neveln Center (406 SW School St.) in Ankeny. Every day, the center provides a free meal at 11:30 am. Registration for meals is       required, and transportation is available.  Home delivered meals are also available.
The center provides a number of other free services to seniors, including wellness, exercise and social programming. Blood pressure checks, counseling services and referral services are available. For more information, call 515-963-0527 or visit their website.

Mary’s Rose

Although our Mass intentions are filling up, there are other alternatives to remember or honor someone. Openings are available for ‘Mary’s Rose’ in the gathering space. The cost is $10 and covers two weeks.

You can also make a donation to one of the OLIH programs—envelopes for this purpose can be found in the wooden rack in the gathering space. Call the office, 964-3038, with any questions or to reserve a slot.

Have you registered on FORMED yet?

FORMED is a website available to all OLIH parishioners.  Go to, click on “register,” use the OLIH parish code (Y6NDPT) to get started and then watch, read or listen! 

End of Year Statements

To minimize costs, we do not automatically print and mail out the end of the years statements or set them out to be picked up. If you would like your statement, please call the office. Or, if you haven’t already, sign up for My Own Church, which gives you secure and personal access to the information in your family and member records and print one out yourself.

You Like us! You Really Like Us!

As part of our improved communication and upgrades in technology we want to consolidate some of our social media. We currently have both an Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart page and an OLIH Faith Formation page.  Over the next few weeks we will be using only the Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart page and will be asking that you “LIKE” this page to stay up-to-date on all things OLIH!


Have you stopped to see the Library in Mary's Place?

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We have moved the library closer to the gathering space so that it’s easier to find! It’s right across from the office now. Go into the Green Room if there’s nothing happening in there, get a cup of coffee and then check out the wonderful book selection we have or sit and read!  A word that gets used to describe this space is peaceful.  It is a peaceful place to go and relax, to sit and read, or even to sit and chat with a friend. Come and enjoy this part of Mary’s Place any time. The library is open anytime the building is open with the exception of a few meetings or events. Wifi is available in both rooms. (Password: ladiesheart) 

Don’t Miss Out

If you are not receiving our Updates, please check your SPAM folder or contact your service provider and let them know that '' and '' are ‘safe senders’. Also, be aware that if you ’unsubscribe’ from a list (Parish Community, CEW, FF Class, Ministry List, etc) you unsubscribe from all lists. If you wish to just be taken off one list, call the office, 964-3038 and we will take care of that for you.

A year of transitions

This New Year 2018 will be a year of transition for me and for the parish. In just a couple of weeks I will celebrate my 70th birthday (how did that happen?). I am grateful to God for the gift of life and for nearly 44 years of ministry as a priest. I have been blessed to serve OLIH for 13 of those years. Every moment of my time with you has been uplifting and inspirational. Your faith, your leadership, your service have been a great witness to me and helped me to grow as well. But now it is time for transition. I will complete my assignment as pastor of OLIH in July.

Some call it retirement but I prefer to say that I will be moving into “senior status”. We priests never really “retire” but step away from administration and then make ourselves available for service to parishes as needed. Since most of our parishes are served by one priest, the only way those priests can get some time away is for one of the retired priests to step in and help. I have been so fortunate over the years to have the services of a number of retired priests when I needed to be away. I am especially grateful to Fr Mike Hess who volunteered to come help at OLIH on a regular basis the last few years following his retirement. A different voice is good for the people and offers different approaches and perspective on the Scriptures and seasons of the Church year. He truly enjoys coming to be with you. This is actually his second time of serving OLIH. He was a weekend helper here for a number of years while he served as President of Dowling Catholic High School. Many of our long time members remember him from those days. Happily he will taking the next 2 ½ months off to enjoy the sunshine of Phoenix. He will return in time to be of help for Easter.

While I am grateful for good health, I know that I don’t have the stamina I once had. A parish of this size needs someone who can give a full level of energy and active participation in all the varied dimensions of parish life. I just haven’t been able to keep up with everything in the way I have wanted and is needed. 

Over the next few months Bishop Pates and the Priest Personnel Board will be working to select a new pastor for OLIH. I doubt we will get notice of who that will be until at least March or perhaps even after Easter. Whoever is chosen will be blessed with a wonderful parish. No two priests/pastors are alike.  Each of us brings our own talents and experiences with us. You have been very gracious in supporting me as I sought to serve you in the best way I knew how. I know you will do the same for my successor.

We still have many months together and let’s enjoy them. There is lots to do and much to celebrate in the months ahead. Let us continue to work together for the praise and glory of God!