The Catholic Church in Iowa is a family of faith and action that is as multicultural as any other statewide organization.  As Catholics, we contribute to the spiritual life of the state and represent the largest non-governmental provider of health care, human services and education, with respect for the human person at the foundation of our mission to serve.  We represent a substantial presence in Iowa, at a percentage of around 23% in a population of slightly over 3 million people.

The Catholic Church has been an organized presence in Iowa since 1835.  The state is comprised of four dioceses, which are geographic areas under the spiritual leadership of a diocesan bishop. You can learn more about the dioceses and the bishops that serve them by clicking here. Encompassing the four dioceses are more than 450 parishes and over one hundred schools, as well as hospitals, nursing homes, Catholic Charities social service agencies and parish-based ministries supported daily by religious and lay volunteer efforts too numerous to count. Some statistics on the work of Catholics in the state of Iowa are below:

Education
 – Our schools have been educating students in Iowa for more than 150 years, providing a quality, values-based education and hope for a brighter future to children regardless of income, race, ethnicity or religious beliefs:

  • 111 elementary and high schools enrolling more than 28,700 students
  •  2000 teachers
  • numerous kindergarten and pre-k programs
  • over 46,300 Catholic public school students enrolled in parish catechetical programs

Human Services
 – The Catholic Charities organizations in each of the four dioceses serve persons of all faith, ethnicity and income categories and spends millions of dollars annually in the state to meet their needs through a multitude of agencies. Each diocese assists thousands of individuals and families each year in areas including:

Shelter and housing

  • Food pantries and kitchens
  • Clothing
  • Adoption
  • Pregnancy care
  • Immigrant assistance
  • Social supports
  • Mental health and addiction counseling
  • Foster care
  • Care for the abused

The websites for Catholic Charities in Iowa are:

Archdiocese of Dubuque: www.catholiccharitiesdubuque.org

Diocese of Davenport: www.davenportdiocese.org/socialaction/sacatholiccharitiesusa.htm

Diocese of Des Moines: www.dmdiocese.org/catholic-charities.cfm

Diocese of Sioux City: www.cathchar.com

Health Care
 – Catholic health-care institutions provide holistic health services in an atmosphere of respect for the value and dignity of all human life, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. Our ministries include:

  • 16 hospitals that assisted over 3,446,600 clients as inpatient admissions, emergency room visits and outpatient visits in 2013.
  • 12 clinics, healthcare and long-term care and hospice facilities and 13 special centers for social services

Parish-Based Ministries – 
The 450 Catholic parishes of the state of Iowa provide welcome and valuable ministries to countless Iowans in need every day.

  • Visits to those imprisoned, hospitalized and homebound
  • Food pantries and other emergency help
  • Assistance to those in need of shelter, utilities and clothing
  • Care for pregnant women and their children
  • Hospice volunteers
  • Resettlement assistance for refugees
  • Job banks and employment programs
  • Bereavement support groups
  • Legislative advocacy
  • Voter education and registration