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For the past two weeks, I have been filling in for the pastor, Fr. Aquinas, at the Basilica of St. John in Des Moines, Iowa. Fr. Aquinas has been taking these days away for vacation. I was able to help out at this beautiful parish last summer as well. It is one of the highlights of my summer these past two years. The Basilica church, as you can see below, is stunning, and the people are wonderful. I have enjoyed their company and many nice dinner invites during these past two weeks. I was responsible for celebrating the daily Mass at noon, Saturday Vigil Mass at 4:00 PM (1 hour of confessions beforehand), Masses at 8:30 and 10:30 AM on Sunday. Fr. Aquinas returns, so I return to Conception Abbey this afternoon.

Below: The interior of the Basilica of St. John.


I also took the opportunity to visit Iowa’s State Capitol recently. The gold dome is clearly visible to the east of downtown. I was able to go inside and take some pictures of this amazing architecture.
Above: Ornate wooden staircase and railing.
Below: The inside of the dome.

Below: The Capitol’s Library is particularly remarkable. I really enjoyed seeing the spiral staircase.

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Below: The Cathedral of St. Ambrose is in the heart of downtown. It is another beautiful church in Des Moines.


Below: The Sculpture Garden right near downtown Des Moines is another nice place to walk around. There were many people at the park playing Pokemon Go. I, however, was not.


Below: The last thing I really wanted to see was the famous High Trestle Bridge at night. I biked the trail to the bridge last year, but that was during the day. At night, many people walk to the bridge to see it lit up with fluorescent blue. It was worth the drive north of the city near Madrid, and the mile walk.IMG_5995