Sep 232009

The Diocese of Des Moines, National Catholic Rural Life Conference and Living History Farms have organized a celebration for Oct. 2-3 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Iowa and his first visit to the United States.

During his visit to Iowa on Oct. 4, 1979, the pope talked about taking care of God’s creation. Coincidentally, his visit fell on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, for whom many stories tell of his love for God’s creation.

For the anniversary celebration, on Oct. 2 more than 700 Catholic middle school children will visit Living History Farms in Urbandale to learn about the pope’s visit. At 5 p.m. an interfaith prayer service will be held at Living History Farms.

Also on Oct. 2 and on Oct. 3, a symposium called “What God Has Created & Human Hands Have Made” will be held at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines. It will focus on Pope John Paul II’s words about caring for the land, including discussions on agriculture, environment and our role feeding the world. Details and a registration form are available at

On Oct. 3, Mass will be celebrated at 4 p.m. at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines.

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