William Michael Joensen

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William Michael Joensen

Bishop of Des Moines
DioceseDes Moines
AppointedJuly 18, 2019
InstalledSeptember 27, 2019
PredecessorRichard Pates
OrdinationJune 24, 1989
by Daniel Kucera
ConsecrationSeptember 27, 2019
by Michael Owen Jackels, R. Walker Nickless, and Thomas Zinkula
Personal details
Born (1960-07-08) July 8, 1960 (age 59)
Waterloo, Iowa
MottoExquirite Faciem Suam
(Seek His Face)
Coat of armsWilliam Michael Joensen's coat of arms
Styles of
William Michael Joensen
Coat of arms of William Michael Joensen.svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop

William Michael Joensen (born July 8, 1960) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church who currently serves as the bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines.


Early life and education[edit]

William Joensen was born in Waterloo, Iowa to Alfred W. Joensen and Marilyn E. (née Simington) Joensen. He is the eldest of five children and grew up in Ames, Iowa.[1] He received a bachelor's degree in zoology from Iowa State University and he was in medical school at the University of Iowa when he decided to study for the priesthood. Joensen's seminary education was at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.


On June 24, 1989, Joensen was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Dubuque by Archbishop Daniel Kucera, O.S.B. in the Church of the Nativity, Dubuque. He spent six years in parish ministry before returning to graduate studies. During those years he served as the associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish and on the faculty of Columbus High School in Waterloo from 1989 to 1992. From 1992 to 1995 he was the associate pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Dubuque.[2] Joensen earned a doctorate in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 2001.[3] When he returned to the archdiocese he served as a chaplain at Clarke College in Dubuque from 2003 to 2010. At Loras College in Dubuque, Joensen served as chaplain, associate professor of philosophy, and dean of campus spiritual life. At Dubuque's St. Pius X Seminary he served as the spiritual director. Joensen also served as a faculty member at the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society, which focuses on Catholic social teaching, in Krakow, Poland.[3]

Bishop of Des Moines[edit]

Pope Francis appointed Joensen the tenth bishop for the Diocese of Des Moines on July 18, 2019. His episcopal ordination took place on September 27, 2019, at St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines.[4] Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque was the ordaining bishop and Bishops R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City and Thomas Zinkula of Davenport were the co-consecrators.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Joensen named 10th bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines". The Daily Nonpareil. Council Bluffs, Iowa. August 7, 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  2. ^ "Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Richard Pates, Appoints Rev. William Joensen as Bishop-Elect of Diocese of Des Moines". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 2019-07-18.
  3. ^ a b "University spiritual life dean appointed Des Moines bishop". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  4. ^ Shelby Fleig (September 27, 2019). "Diocese of Des Moines welcomes Bishop William Joensen at ordination". The Des Moines Register. Des Moines. Retrieved 2019-10-02.

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Richard Pates
Bishop of Des Moines
Succeeded by