History

St. Peter Church established in 1915 as a branch of the former Visitation Parish, Visitation to be known as the north parish and St. Peter’s to be known as the south parish.  In 2004, Visitation and St. Peter parishes merged to create Our Lady of the Americas and retained both churches as worship centers.  For good pastoral care and good financial stewardship, a planning committee suggested consolidating to one worship site.  After considered all available options, the committee decided to keep the Visitation Worship Center and to close St. Peter Worship Center.  


The Vietnamese Catholics who settled in Des Moines area around late 1970s and other Vietnamese Catholics who moved to Des Moines in recent years formed the Vietnamese Catholic Community.  The Community did not have enough resources and powers to establish a new parish, a place for the members to get together for worship in Vietnamese.   The members mainly gathered at the Basilica of St. John and St. Ambrose Cathedral.  Each year the Community was getting bigger.  There was a need for a place to gather for worship and cultural events.  


Creating St. Peter Parish is an excellent idea of matching resources with needs. “We had on one hand the availability of the St. Peter Worship Center, and on the other hand a need in the Vietnamese community for a place for parish worship and cultural events.  Bringing the Vietnamese community together at St. Peter is a good move in terms of stewardship and using our resources wisely, and in terms of good pastoral care for our people.  The local Catholic Vietnamese community members need to be able to regularly celebrate Mass and have access to sacrament of reconciliation, sacrament of the sick and other sacraments in their native language,” said Bishop Pates.


On the weekend of October 4-5, 2008, Bishop Richard Pates announced at all Masses at Our Lady of  the Americas the consolidation of worship centers from two to one, and the creation of St. Peter Vietnamese Catholic Community.  Bishop Richard Pates also assigned a Vietmanese native and diocesan priest Father Ly Chu as administrator and would be responsible for the pastoral needs of the new parish. The new St. Peter Parish offered services and pastoral care started on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008, the beginning of the Catholic Church’s liturgical year, and became the 83rd parish in the diocese.