VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis appointed Father William Joensen, a priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque and philosophy professor at a local college, as Bishop of Des Moines Thursday.
Joensen, 59, was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Dubuque in 1989, and received a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in 2001.
Father Joensen has served as dean of campus spiritual life at Loras College, a Catholic liberal arts institution in Dubuque, since 2010. As such, he promotes the college's Catholic mission and identity, and serves as a spiritual director on the campus and at St. Pius X Seminary.
As an associate professor of philosophy at Loras, Joensen has taught courses in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical anthropology, and history of philosophy. He also teaches the college’s Catholic Identity mission courses.
Father Joensen is a faculty member at the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society, a seminar on Catholic social teaching held annually in Krakow, Poland. He also serves on the medical-moral commission of the Dubuque archdiocese and is a regular contributor of spiritual reflections to Magnificat.
He will succeed Bishop Richard Pates, who retired Thursday at the age of 76.
“The Holy Father, Pope Francis, is sending a bishop with a pastoral heart to the Diocese of Des Moines,” Bishop Pates said.
“Through Bishop-elect Joensen’s stellar personal gifts, the diocese will be well served in the years ahead. Heartfelt thanks are extended to Pope Francis for his solicitous care," he said.