Richard Pates

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For the English politician, see Richard Pates (MP).
Most Reverend
Richard Edmund Pates, STL
Bishop of Des Moines
Bishop Pates' Ordination.jpg
Bishop Pates' episcopal ordination in 2001
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Des Moines
In office May 29, 2008—present
Predecessor Joseph Charron, C.Pp.S.
Successor Incumbent
Ordination December 20, 1968
Consecration March 26, 2001
Personal details
Born (1943-02-12) February 12, 1943 (age 71)
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Previous post Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis (2001-2008)
Styles of
Richard Pates
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor

Richard Edmund Pates (born February 12, 1943) is the ninth and current Roman Catholic Bishop of Des Moines.


Early life, education, and presbyteral ordination[edit]

The youngest of three sons, Richard Pates was born to Donald and Lenora Pates in Saint Paul, Minnesota.[1] He attended Nazareth Hall Seminary and St. Paul Seminary, from where he earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Philosophy and Latin in 1965.[2] He completed his graduate studies in Rome, where he resided at the Pontifical North American College and received a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. On December 20, 1968, Pates was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Francis Reh at St. Peter's Basilica.[3]

Early Priesthood[edit]

Upon his return to the Twin Cities, he served as associate pastor at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul from 1969 to 1970.[1] From 1970 to 1974, he was the vocation director of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and a weekend associate pastor at the Church of the Annunciation in Minneapolis. He also served as private secretary to Archbishop Leo Byrne and vice-chancellor of the Archdiocese from 1973 to 1975.[2]

Senior priestly postings[edit]

From 1975 to 1981, Pates was secretary of the Apostolic Delegation to the United States in Washington, D.C.. During this time, he assisted at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and was raised to the rank of Chaplain to His Holiness in 1979.[1] Following his return to the Twin Cities, he served as rector of St. John Vianney Seminary (1981–1987) and chaplain of the Serra Club of Midway (1981–1990) in St. Paul. He became Vicar for Seminaries in 1987, and pastor of the Church of Saint Kevin and the Church of the Resurrection in Minneapolis. In 1991, the two parishes merged to form the Church of Our Lady of Peace, where Pates continued as pastor until 1998.[2] He was also moderator for Minneapolis Deaneries Council of Catholic Women (1990–1998) and founding pastor of the Church of Saint Ambrose of Woodbury in St. Paul (1998–2001).[2]

Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis[edit]

On December 22, 2000, Pates was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Titular Bishop of Suacia by Pope John Paul II.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on March 26, 2001 from Archbishop Harry Flynn, with Archbishop John Roach and Bishop Frederick Campbell serving as co-consecrators, at the Cathedral of St. Paul.[3] As an auxiliary bishop, he served as vicar general, Vicar for Clergy, Vicar for Youth and Young Adults, and Vicar for Evangelization.[2]

Bishop of Des Moines[edit]

Pates was later named the ninth Bishop of Des Moines, Iowa, by Pope Benedict XVI on April 10, 2008.[3] Installed on the following May 29, he is the third consecutive Twin Cities' auxiliary bishop to be named ordinary of the Des Moines Diocese; his two immediate predecessors, Joseph Charron and William Henry Bullock, previously served the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese.[1]

On Monday, November 14, 2011, according to a Catholic News Service (CNS) online news brief, Bishop Pates was elected Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace on the first day of the fall 2011 Bishops meeting, on a 122-114 vote over Bishop Frank Joseph Dewane of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Venice in Florida. This particular election was needed because Archbishop Edwin Frederick O'Brien, Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore and Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese, has been appointed Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order Of The Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, a Rome-based Cardinalatial position (largely ceremonial but still high-ranking) at the Vatican's Roman Curia, meaning as an Italian resident, he can no longer be considered a member of the USCCB even though he is American (Archbishop O'Brien had been elected in November 2010 to chair the committee, to succeed Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York).[4]

He advocated for the lifting of the embargo and the other restrictions the U.S. has placed on Cuba, and for further dialogue between the two countries, earning some support from Florida-area Catholics.[5]


Episcopal lineage
Consecrated by: Harry Flynn