Alumni Association of The Pontifical North American College

Rev. William Joensen named new Bishop of Des Moines

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Pope Francis appointed Rev. William Joensen the tenth bishop for the Diocese of Des Moines on July 18, 2019.

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 KuceraO.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]