Father Larry's Letters

"Father Larry's Letters" are a weekly letter/journal about the many events occurring within and around the St. Luke's community.

Vacation - Even in Iowa!

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

When I came back from vacation on Friday afternoon July 21, we went from Ames where it was raining and 79 degrees to West Des Moines - no rain and 102 degrees!

Vacation in Iowa was great! It was very relaxing and enjoyable. We did not have to travel long distances to anything. Fr. Ken Gross and I left on Monday July 10 in the morning and went first to the Neil Smith Prairie Reserve near Prairie City, Iowa. They have a great visitor center to share lots of information about Iowa when it was a prairie. Buffalo Elk are there as well but they were in the shade because of the heat.

We traveled to Honey Creek State Park on Lake Rathbun. The next day to Ottumwa to lunch at the “Canteen,” a loose meat restaurant since 1936, then to Kalona to visit the Historical Village and Museum telling about the Amish and their settlement there.

We visited the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, and the Maquoketa Caves State Park. On Friday 7/14, we stopped at the Bellevue State Park overlooking the Mississippi and the river lock. We enjoyed watching the locks in action and finding out about their history.

We stopped at the town of St. Donatus and visited the church and outdoor Stations of the Cross. In Dubuque we visited the Mississippi River Museum, walked the river walk, rode the Fenelon outdoor elevator up the bluff, and hiked in Eagle Point Park.

On Sunday 7/16, we traveled to visit the New Mallory Trappist Monastery. It is a beautiful place - nice and peaceful. Then we went back to the river to Pike’s Peak State Park outside McGreggor. It has the best views of the bluffs and river as well as the barge traffic.

Monday 7/17 we traveled to near Harper’s Ferry, Iowa to the Effigy Mounds National Monument. Centuries ago, Indian settlements built large burial mounds in the shape of familiar animals. From there we went on to Decorah staying over night there. The next morning, we traveled 10 miles south to Spillville, to go to the Biley Clock Museum and Antonin Dvork Museum. Well worth the trip. Coming back, we visited the Vesterheim Norwegian–American Museum. It was interesting to get a flavor of a different nationality in their settlement in Iowa.

July 19 found us coming to the West Bend, Iowa Grotto of the Redemption. It is an amazing work of art - so many scenes that told the story of our Redemption. Then we made our way the following day to Remsen and St. Mary’s and their restored church. Beautiful stained glass, altars from the early 1900’s. We stopped to visit Trinity Heights in Sioux City with its 33’ high statues of Mary and Jesus and other outdoor and indoor displays. We concluded the day at Preparation State Park in the Loess Hills near Pisgah, Iowa.

The last day of vacation, we stopped at the Boone Scenic Railway for a 1:30 pm ride. And Bill Dolezal from St. Luke’s was our volunteer Conductor. Thanks Bill. This is a short version of the vacation. Iowa has lots of very interesting places and things to see. It is worth your time.

With August now on us, all kinds of things that begin in the Fall are very close at hand. Let me know if you know of anyone interested in the RCIA. Peter Haack our new Faith Formation Director is looking for catechists. Let the parish office know about either of these.

Peace,
Fr. Larry Hoffmann