Around the ArchdioceseSunday Assembly

Many from archdiocese planning to attend regional conference

‘Christ Our Life’ is in Des Moines on Sept. 24-25

By Dan Russo

Witness Editor

DES MOINES — Thousands of Catho­lics from Iowa and surrounding states, including a significant number from the Archdiocese of Dubuque, will be attending the “Christ Our Life” Conference Sept. 24-25.

“It’s like a spa for the soul,” said Kendall Krouse of Immaculate Conception Parish in Cedar Rapids. “It’s a gift you give yourself and an opportunity to deeper your relationship with Jesus.”

Krouse attended the first biennial conference in 2010, and brought her husband Donald and two sons to subsequent conferences in 2012 and 2014. The regional event, founded by lay Catholics Marilyn Lane and Ellen Miller of Des Moines, will this year feature talks by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, singer Jackie Francois Angel, and many others.

“It’s a very huge venue,” said Donald Krouse, who estimated almost 8,000 people attended the last conference in 2014. “Some of the speakers are outstanding. The opening ceremony and the Mass – there’s dozens of priests. It’s not something you usually see at your local parish.”

The conference features breakout sessions for children and teens, adoration of the Eucharist, and the opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation. Various organizations and vendors also have displays. Participants can attend one day or both. One of the speakers at the conference, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder of the international charity Mary’s Meals, met the Krouse family at a previous conference and will be staying with them while he is in Iowa. He will be speaking at a Catholic Evangelization Outreach event on Sept. 22 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hiawatha. He will tell the story of how his Catholic faith inspired him to feed hungry children around the world. Jean Biermann of St. Jude Parish attended the last two conferences with her son Brett, who was a student at Xavier Catholic High School in Cedar Rapids.

“It’s just a day that’s an unbelievable faith boosting day,” said Biermann, who attended one of the two days last time. “We’re inundated with the state of the world and horrible things everyone is dealing with,” she added. “To take a day to focus on your relationship with Christ, you just feel so close to the Holy Spirit. You just leave there with so much hope.”

For more information on the Christ Our Life Conference, visit or the Christ Our Life page on Facebook.


Photo: Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia