Parish News

The Pastor Writes...

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Sponsor Couples…One of the ministries in the parish that is most helpful to me is Sponsor Couples. They are married couples who are trained to work with our engaged couples preparing for marriage. They are not Sponsor Couples because they have perfect   marriages (who does?) or because they have all the “answers” (they are not providing “answers”).  They accompany the engaged couples through a communications process that helps them raise up any topics that would be helpful in preparing for   marriage.  Our goal is that on the wedding day the couple feels very comfortable promising to each   other that they will be together for life.  By looking at every dimension of married life and entering into open, honest communication with each other, we hope it will help them to be filled with lasting joy as they enter married life.  If we have enough Sponsor Couples to serve the engaged (we have engaged couples who are getting married at OLIH but we also provide marriage preparation to couples who are going “back home” for the wedding), then the Sponsor Couples only take about two couples a year. There are usually three and sometimes four meetings with an engaged couple.  We need more Sponsor Couples. The diocese will do a one day training soon. Ever thought of being a Sponsor Couple?  We would love to visit with you about that. You can contact me or Beth Boehlert to get more information. Beth coordinates the Sponsor Couple program.  We can provide the names of some of our Sponsor Couples for you if you wish to visit with them about the ministry.  We get wonderful feedback from our engaged couples about their time with their Sponsor Couple and the Sponsor Couples enjoy the ministry as well.  How about you? 

Pave the Way Campaign

If you were unable to pick up your individualized campaign packets, have no fear--all remaining ones have been put in the mail. The packets contain 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.  And, no matter what your decision, send back the pledge card so we'll know you received it.

Becoming Catholic

Have you thought you might want to become Catholic?  A new group will be starting February 19.  Please contact  Sr. Susan at 964-3038.


#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). They will resume on April 15. Call Amy, 964-3038 to schedule.

The Catholic Table: Stretching the Budget

How much food can you buy with $21.60?  Last year I asked myself that question.  Our family had decided to take the SNAP challenge for our Good Friday fast, and the rules dictated that I could spend only $1.80 per meal for each of the four of us—$21.60 for an entire day’s worth of food. We chose this type of fast to stand in solidarity with our neighbors who actually have to live by these parameters.

SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and is the federal program that provides what used to be known as “food stamps.” In November 2017, over 350,000 Iowans received an average of $107.74 per person in SNAP benefits. That’s actually $1.20 per meal. If I were to repeat this challenge with these numbers, I would have only $14.40 to spend. Ouch!

With my $21.60 budget in mind, I spent some time making a list of ingredients for simple meals for us. It took over an hour for me to shop. I had to make sacrifices: store-brand for name brand items, one kind of juice instead of two, and skip the sun butter because it’s too much money. (How do low income families manage food allergies?) I held my breath at the check-out line and was gratified to see the total of $20.68; I didn’t have to put anything back!

We did eat for the day, and like Jesus feeding the 5000, we had some food leftover.  As a result, all of us have a much better appreciation for the planning, hard work and sacrifices that so many families have to make.  It was clearly the best fast we have ever undertaken.

—Sara Doruska, AMOS-OLIH

PS: Are you following our blog

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!

Want to know what's going on? Check out our  Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Facebook page and then “LIKE” us to stay up-to-date on all things OLIH!

On Mondays we cover Ministries; Tuesdays we ask for any prayer intentions you have--we take them to the Chapel on Wednesdays; Wednesdays we feature something from one of our Faith Formation programs; Thursdays are '#TBT-Throwback Thursdays' where we feature historical facts and figures from the OLIH vaults, plus a link to the Updates you can also receive via email; Friday is 'What's Happening this Weekend and the Week to Come"; Saturday we pose a couple questions to keep in mind when you listen to the Mass readings; and Sunday we try to capture some food for thought from Fr Steve's homily.  So join us! Share our posts!

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.

2018: A year of transitions for OLIH

This New Year 2018 will be a year of transition for me and for the parish. I have just celebrated 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!