In October of 2012, Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated a "Year of Faith" as an opportunity for Catholics and indeed all Christians to dedicate themselves to deepening their understanding of the gift of faith.
The Year of Faith is an opportunity to experience a conversion – to turn back to Jesus and enter into a deeper relationship with him. The pope has described this conversion as opening the “door of faith.” The “door of faith” is opened at one’s baptism, but during this year we are called to open it again, walk through it, and rediscover and renew our relationship with Christ.
As a part of this Year of Faith, dioceses throughout the world have designated places of pilgrimage and prayer to aide in this process of rediscovery. In addition to the spiritual benefits of visiting these sites, a pilgrimage is also an excellent opportunity to discover the rich artistic and cultural heritage of a given area. The Year of Faith comes to a close on 24 November 2013.
Below are a list and map of designated pilgrimage sites within the state of Iowa:
Diocese of Davenport
Unknown. If readers have information on pilgrimage sites for this diocese, please contact me.
Diocese of Des Moines
Ankeny, St. Luke the Evangelist Parish
Atlantic, Ss. Peter & Paul Church
Council Bluffs, Queen of Apostles Church
Creston, Holy Spirit Church
Imogene, St. Patrick Church
Indianola, St. Thomas Aquinas Church
Irish Settlement, St. Patrick Church
Des Moines, Basilica of St. John
Des Moines, Cathedral of St. Ambrose
Des Moines, Grotto of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel & Divine Mercy
Des Moines, Our Lady of the Americas Church
Portsmouth, St. Mary Church
Stuart, All Saints Church
Archdiocese of Dubuque
Cedar Rapids, Immaculate Conception Church
Charles City, Immaculate Conception Church
Dubuque, Cathedral of St. Raphael
Dyersville, Basilica of St. Francis Xavier
Gilbertville, Immaculate Conception Church
Marshalltown, St. Mary Church
Diocese of Sioux City
Boone, Sacred Heart Church
Ida Grove, Sacred Heart Church
Le Mars, St. Joseph Church
Maryhill, Rosary Shrine
Rock Valley, St. Mary Church
Sioux City, Cathedral of the Epiphany
Sioux City, Trinity Heights
West Bend, Grotto of the Redemption
West Bend, Ss. Peter & Paul Church
Willey, St. Mary Church
View Iowa Year of Faith Pilgrimage Churches in a larger map
If one wishes to obtain a plenary indulgence at a pilgrimage site, the pilgrim must be in the state of grace and have the intention of gaining the indulgence either for oneself or for a soul in Purgatory. The pilgrim then must take part in some sacred function at the place or else pause for a few moments of prayer, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father and a Profession of Faith (Apostles’ Creed) and a request for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin or the patron saint of the location. One also must say a prayer for the intentions of the Pope and receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist within eight days before, during, or after the pilgrimage.
In addition to the above mentioned pilgrimage sites, a pilgrim may visit the baptistery or other place where one was baptized and, while there, renew one's baptismal promises.