African Community

A Home Away From Home for our African Brothers and Sisters in the Faith


Our African community began worshipping here at St. Catherine’s in 2019. The motivation behind the community’s founding was to give Catholics of African origin within the parish, as well as from other parishes across the Des Moines area, an opportunity to celebrate Mass in their unique culture, style, and language.

It has grown into a powerful mission that brings together Catholics who had otherwise abandoned regular Mass attendance or even left the faith altogether due to language barriers. St. Catherine’s has truly provided a home away from home for our African brothers and sisters in the faith.

This diverse community is comprised of people of African descent living in Des Moines locality as refugees, and first or second generation refugees, as well as native born and naturalized U.S. citizens. Members are engaged in a wide variety of professions and occupations, including educators, factory and retail workers, teachers, nurse practitioners, bankers, factory and store associates, research scientists, and caregivers.

At its inception, the community was made up of about 10 families from Ghana, Togo, Cameroon, Kenya and South Sudan. Through God’s providence the community can now boast 50 families, and additionally includes nationals from Tanzania and Burundi.

It is refreshing to note that non-Africans regularly join the community for Mass to experience the very colorful and vibrant nature of the African liturgical celebration. The community cordially invites all to join us at 2:00 pm every third Sunday for African Mass in English and 2:00 pm all other Sundays for African Mass in Kiswahili.

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