Serving Others

Make yourself at home

You are invited to participate in many aspects of parish life – at least from time to time.

This is how we come to know one another. We act on our faith together – and come to know more fully what a generous, compassionate and active community we are blessed to have.

Serving in fellowship

Knights of Columbus

As part of a national and international fraternal organization, the St. Ambrose Knights of Columbus #15336 is dedicated to the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism.  Many knights perform quiet acts of service for our parish! Our priests and parishioners bring varied parish needs and opportunities to the Knights’ attention, and we appreciate their support and ideas.

Contact Phil Wageman, Grand Knight |

St. Vincent de Paul Society

As a local unit of this worldwide organization of lay Catholics, our St. Ambrose SVDP volunteers follow Christ’s call to serve the poor, the suffering and the deprived – and seek to grow spiritually through this service and fellowship. Our men and women offer person-to-person service to individuals in need, especially those who seek help from St. Ambrose parish. They also make it easy for our parishioners to support the SVDP food pantries (with baskets at all Masses on the First Weekend of each month) and carry out special services such as providing food at the holidays for needy families and occasional meals to the Catholic Charities emergency family shelter.

Summary of 2022 service through our SVDP

You are welcome to attend SVDP meetings, generally the First Tuesday of each month at 5:30 PM in the Parish Hall.

Contact Anita O’Gara | 515.249.4490 |

Sharing Our Faith

Family Faith Formation

Our welcoming team of catechists and helpers is busy most Sunday mornings between Masses – bringing the faith to children and parents through classes and Family Faith Experiences. You can bring your warm presence, and find new friends among the team and parents. More volunteers are needed as we serve more than 100 families!

See Family Faith Formation section of this website to learn about the program and volunteer opportunities.

Contact the office | | 515.288.7411

Helping refugee families

Refugee Ministry

For four decades, St. Ambrose Cathedral has offered spiritual and practical help to refugee families as they arrive in Des Moines. As these people joined our parish family, we have become a beautiful community of people with roots in other countries – primarily from Southeast Asia and Africa.

Our associate pastor is our full-time pastoral minister, and refugee leaders within each ethnic community are always active in refugee ministry. If you have urgent needs, please let them know. 

Contact Fr. Ambrose Ladu | 515-288-7411, ext. 204

Personal presence

Homebound Ministry

Through calls or visits, some parishioners keep in touch with the sick or lonely among us. In homes, care centers and hospitals, they are bringing smiles, handshakes, and the love of God to these people.

If these visitors are commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist (EMOE), they bring the Eucharist to those who cannot attend Mass.

Contact John Martin | 515.491.7171 

Personal prayer

Prayer Chain

It seems simple to pray for someone – but for those who ask our parish for prayer, it’s a comfort and a blessing to know many personal prayers are being offered. Volunteers on the Prayer Chain are simply notified of prayer requests, and they follow through.

Contact or call 515.491.7171.

For the homeless or hungry

Connection Cafe

Volunteers from four downtown churches work together to provide a free lunch every weekday for more than 100 guests a day. This meal ministry serves homeless and low income individuals and families in downtown Des Moines. Volunteers from St. Ambrose help prepare and serve meals, and also serve on the coordinating board for Connection Cafe.

Contact Doug Sharp |

Pregnant or parenting women

Walking with Moms

This new ministry is part of a nationwide Catholic initiative to help connect our pregnant or parenting mothers with community resources. Volunteers are working to assess, expand, and better communicate about local sources of help.


Learn more

Welcome and invite

“Come on in!”

A warm presence at the door helps show the welcome of Christ at our gatherings. Those who quietly serve by setting up spaces or food – or cleaning up afterward – also show welcome and respect. And those who promote opportunities and encourage involvement provide the constant invitation of Christ to come closer to God and one another.

  • Within the Cathedral, our Ministry of Welcome includes Ushers, and those who decorate or tidy our cathedral.
  • Our Knights of Columbus often provide hospitality through Lenten Fish Fries, their Burrito Bowl, parish picnic and other gatherings.
  • Our Faith Formation volunteers help families register their children, help students and parents feel personally welcomed, and set the scene for sacramental retreats and Family Faith Encounters.
  • Communications volunteers help invite parishioners and the community to our liturgies, events, and service opportunities. With more volunteers, we can make our website, Facebook, and other outreach more useful for parishioners and more inviting for neighbors in our community.

Contact the parish office | | 515.288.7411

Where to find us

St. Ambrose Cathedral

607 High St, Des Moines, IA 50309

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