Father Adam's Articles

Dear People of St. Luke’s,

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., joining with several hundred thousand people to show support for the unborn. For 45 years the March for Life has called on congress and the whole of the United States to resist abortion and protect human life in all its stages. There were many powerful testimonies given during this event, and for the first time in history a sitting president addressed the pro-life rally.

One powerful testimony I would like to share with you. It was told to us by one of the sisters of life, and it shows how the power of love is overcoming the culture of death. One day, as the story goes, a lady was riding in an elevator on her way to her OB/GYN, and beside her was a much younger, and obviously pregnant, woman. The lady strikes up a conversation, and begins talking about the gift of life. The young woman is distraught, and says, “I’m going to have an abortion. I just can’t handle it.” After a brief pause the lady responds, “No, you’re not going to have an abortion, you are going to have a baby girl and you are going to tie her hair in pigtails and watch her grow into a woman. And if you need a name for the baby girl, my name is Raquel, and my middle name is Jasmine. When your little girl asks where she got her name, you can tell her that you met a lady in an elevator one day and she changed your life.” At this point the elevator opened, and Raquel guided the young mother to her own OB/GYN, saving the young woman from choosing death over life.

The power of love for life wins over hearts every day, and the story above resulted in lives being saved; the story does not end with the elevator dropping off the two ladies at the OB/GYN. A number of years later Raquel was visited by that young woman, who wanted to thank her for her words of encouragement and show her that she was at least partially right; the young mother did indeed have a daughter, but not only one. With tears in her eyes the young mother introduced Raquel to her twins, baby girls, whose names were Raquel and Jasmine.

Our society’s viewpoint on the gift of life is indeed changing. We are becoming more and more a culture of life, and it is important that we as Catholics continue to teach our young people that life, while possibly a hard choice, is always the right way to go. With prayer and with commitment to love we can overcome the horrible decision of 45 years ago, and once again become a nation that supports life.

This week, say an extra prayer for young mothers who are struggling with their pregnancy. #whywemarch #lovesaveslives

Fr. Adam

January 16, 2018 - The New Year is off to a great start!

Dear Family and Friends of St. Luke’s,

The New Year is off to a great start!

Capital Campaign Announcement:
At a meeting of parish leadership on January 4th, the combined members of the School Board, the Finance Council, and the Parish Council reviewed the results of the recent feasibility study. At the end of an in-depth discussion, a motion was made that we, as parish leadership representing St. Luke’s Parish, move forward with a Phase II Capital Campaign with the goal of expanding our facilities to better fulfill The Mission of St. Luke's: We Worship. We Teach. We Care. The motion was seconded and all present said “aye”. In the coming weeks we will be rolling out plans for our expansion, and we hope that everyone will take time to get involved. Exciting things are planned for the New Year, and whatever we do together as part of this capital campaign will increase the ability of St. Luke’s to fulfill our mission. Thanks to everyone who participated in the feasibility study, and thanks in advance for your prayers and support.

Sunday Evening Masses:
During Advent, I gave a homily series focused on the 4 Marian dogmas as part of a Sunday evening, 6p.m. Mass. The number of people who came to each of the Sunday evening Masses was truly impressive. In fact, the Masses were such a resounding success that we will do them again during Lent. All of the Sundays of Lent and Easter Sunday we will have a 6 p.m. Mass (7 Sundays total), and the homilies of each of the Masses will focus on one of the seven sacraments. More details will be forthcoming.

School Registration Initiative:
In December we held an early registration initiative for our 2018/2019 kindergartners. The initiative brought us 30 kindergarten registrations, which is a great start! Working with our marketing committee, we’ve increased our Online Presence and have many more initiatives planned for January and February. Say some prayers for us as we work to make sure that everyone in Ankeny, Granger, and Polk City knows about our wonderful school.

Thank you all for all that you do to make St. Luke’s such a remarkable place to be! I am looking forward to a great 2018, and to getting to know you all better over the coming years.

Fr. Adam

December 30 & 31, 2017

My Dear People,

As one year turns into another, there is a natural tendency to look back and meditate on where we’ve come and to look forward to see where the new year will take us.

I’ve been at St. Luke’s for 5 months now, and in that time much has happened. I’ve done 37 house blessings, getting to know many of you (I’m still willing to do more!). We’ve added about 20 families since I started, we’ve begun to hold Masses on some Sunday evenings with the homilies focused on particular topics in theology and these Masses are growing. We’ve added adoration times, added extra daily Masses, started groups like CFM, started using the Formed catechetical tool to expand our understanding of the Catholic faith; I could go on for quite some time about the wonderful things which happen here at St. Luke’s, but other people will most likely want some bulletin space.

One thing we’ve done is run a survey and a study to learn what everyone thinks about how our growing community is doing. Based on the responses of the survey, the strategic planning committee completed a review of our facilities and came up with a design to give us sufficient room for growth over the next 5-10 years.

The feasibility study conducted in the parish, along with the parish survey we sent out earlier in the year, gave us ideas as to how we can better meet the immediate needs of St. Luke’s Parish. The biggest suggestion we’ve had from the house blessings, a suggestion echoed in the survey and feasibility study, was that we do something with the sound in the church. People are having a hard time hearing. As part of a multi-tiered approach to addressing the echo in the church and school, we have installed new carpet in our facilities. We had a sound study done in the church to determine if sound panels would help the acoustics in the church, and we are working with the installers of our HVAC system to see if there is a way we can get the HVAC to turn on and off, as the “always on” feature adds 15 decibels of sound during our Masses. We’ve also begun investigating a sound system which would allow us to lend out hearing assisting devices, which would enable people to use an earpiece to hear directly what is being said into the microphones. The carpet is the first step of a number of steps we will be taking to help create an environment where everyone can get the most out of Mass.

2018 is going to see us grow even more! Already, we’ve run early registration for the 2018/2019 kindergarten class. At the time of writing this article, we have 29 kindergartners registered for next year! We will open normal registration next month, and we anticipate receiving even more students. The number of students enrolled in our school will continue to climb as we open up our upper grades and turn St. Luke’s Parish School into a k-8 facility.

Who knows what 2018 is going to bring, but I’m sure we will continue to grow! I look forward to watching St. Luke’s continue to expand and grow closer to one another and to God. It has been a wonderful five months, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring.

Thanks to everyone who has given me so many wonderful memories in my first 5 months, and thanks to all who will continue to make St. Luke’s a great place to Worship, Teach, and Care.

Blessings and Happy New Year,
Fr. Adam Westphal

November 28, 2017

Fr. Adam’s Articles

During Advent, we will be having an extra Mass at 6 p.m. on Sunday. I will be offering a series of homilies on the four Marian Dogmas of the Church at these Sunday Evening Masses. The order of the Dogmas covered will be:

December 3rd: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary

December 10th: The Immaculate Conception

December 17th: The Assumption

December 24th (at 6:30 p.m.): Mother of God.

Since the birth of Christ, theology concerning Mary has been hotly debated and often contested. The debates have flared up at certain times during our history, especially by our separated brethren who follow in the traditions of the Protestant movement. Perhaps some of you have friends or family who have asked questions about Mary, and haven’t been able to give a response. These homilies are introductions to the four Dogmas, that is, the four declared teachings of the Church that are Divinely revealed and ought to be held by all faithful. The homilies will give a few talking points for you to use should someone ask you about Mary.

All are welcome to attend.

These Masses will also begin to gauge the desire of St. Luke’s parishioners for a Sunday Evening Mass with themed homily series; depending on the response, we may do this again in the near future!

"On another note, Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to fill out the feasibility study online survey. If you haven't had a chance to do so, please go to our website and follow the link that says, "Take the St. Luke's Survey Here". We look forward to building in the future, and we need everyone to share their thoughts about our current and upcoming projects."

Fr. Adam


St. Luke the Evangelist parish is our family, our community, our connection to the universal body of Christ, and a place of encounter with God and one another.Our parish provides a means of encounter through Catholic education for youth via our RE program and our parish school, and through support for home schooling families, and through our faith formation programs for the adults of our parish.Developing our Catholic faith across all ages strengthens the domestic church and nurtures the character and values of our parishioners as we live our faith by serving God and others. We are one parish, united in one common mission.

Part of expanding our mission involves expanding our facilities.Thank you to everyone who participated in the Strategic Planning survey that went out in recent weeks.Thanks especially to the people who offered constructive criticism with regard to our current facilities; we began to take steps as soon as the surveys were received to address issues that surfaced in the comments.We will be doing some minor work on our facilities to make our spaces safer and friendlier with regard to acoustics.

The Strategic Planning survey was one part of a larger plan which is being developed to guide our community into the next phase of our growth.We are looking into expanding our facilities soon.Many committees are involved in the development of the next phase, but there is a specific Strategic Planning Committee tasked with coming up with a plan for making the next stage happen.The Strategic Planning Committee continues to discuss and assess the needs of St. Luke’s, and we are even looking into hiring a demographic research firm to provide concrete statistics which we will then use to further guide and mold our discussions.

With the conclusion of the surveys and incorporating the comments contained therein, we are working with the Invision Architecture firm to tweak the initial architectural concept.This architectural plan which we are developing will help guide us as we start the fundraising portion of our expansion.We are in the opening stages of selecting a capital campaign company to guide us through the next capital campaign.We are also planning on starting a feasibility study to see if the next steps are viable now and, if so, how much is possible to build in the near future.

All the discussions of the Strategic Planning committee thus far have involved adding classrooms for the parish school and parish RE to use and general meeting rooms which will be available to the whole parish.At the heart of our discussions is how to best provide enough space for everyone at this stage of our growth.We realize space is limited, and the next step will give us some breathing room. In addition to discussing rooms for everyone, the conversations have always included more parking and more storage, two things we desperately need here at St. Luke’s.

Thanks to you all for making this parish a place of community and encounter, and thanks for your generosity and most especially your prayers as we continue to plan for future community growth.

The St. Luke’s Strategic Planning Committee

September 12, 2017

When the Inklings, gathered together in the small English town of Oxford, began discussing their stories and their faith journey as a group of friends, none of them could predict that they would build a literary corpus which promises to impact a dying Western culture almost a century after that group first gathered.

At the heart of their lives stood the Cross, and as their works flourished through a process of critique and growth within the group, the members each understood that the others had a unique perspective on the mystery of faith, something to share, that helped achieve mutual growth. Tolkien was a master linguist, Lewis a philosopher with a rich imagination, Barfield a dramatist, Charles Williams a poet; many others came and went in this wonderful group of scholars, and all contributed to what became the common goal of defending the Christian faith, taking eternal truths and sharing them in a new light. Their writings and poems and plays, coupled with the even more sublime story of their life together, continue to inspire people of faith today, encouraging them to find new ways of encountering the Cross in the midst of the Christian community. While these men didn’t always agree (to put it mildly), they were men of prayer with an eternal vision.

At St. Luke’s, we recently conducted a survey of parishioners regarding the future of our Church and School. The responses, given by roughly 115 people, exemplify marvelously the various diverse viewpoints which are present in our parish community. These differing viewpoints are essential and show that each has something to offer in the great goal of building our community together. Each has a unique perspective. We will face challenges in the years ahead as we try and build a greater community together, one that can truly respect varying viewpoints, but the success (or failure) of our time together will be determined by whether or not we strive to bring out the best in the other members. The ministries at this parish are manifold, and they will only increase. All of us has something we can learn from one another, and something we can contribute, and as long as we remain a people of prayer with an eternal vision, open to growth along the way, then all the growing pains of the upcoming years will result in a stronger and more united community, under the sign of the Cross. It is going to be an amazing road we walk together, and may the road lead to a deeper encounter of our Christian religion for all of us, just as it did for those wonderful Inklings nearly a century ago.

Fr. Adam

August 22, 2017

I recently decided to conduct a social experiment and offered, via our Saint Luke the Evangelist account on Facebook, to do house blessings.  At first, the view rate was a little slow for social media, so I stepped up my game with the help of Fr. Larry, who was able to get this amazing photo before we were caught and run off the property.

Accompanied by the above photo, my last offer on Facebook reached over 3000 people 48 hours after posting it, and I booked up the intended day (and, subsequently, the two days following) with 22 house blessings.


Given the immense popularity on Facebook, I have decided to extend the offer of a house blessing to the Parish once again, this time through the bulletin and through announcements at Mass.  I will be offering two dates:  First, September 9th. While I know it is the ISU vs. Iowa game (the one and only sporting event I watch every year), I consider it of utmost importance as part of my sublime pastoral duty to visit your parties, bless your houses, and make sure the provender you provide at your festivities is fitting for those who have the high honor of being part of the lay faithful.  It is a tough job, but someone has to do it.

For those of you who are unavailable or attending other parties on the 9th, or for those of you who do not wish to endure my unflagging, zealous, once-a-year loyalty to the Cyclones (Go State!), I will also be available all afternoon and evening on September 10th. 

In either case, drop me an e-mail at fradam@slte.org to schedule a time. 

I have made it a personal goal to meet outside of weekend Mass all of the 480 registered families of our parish by August 15 next year.  I am off to a good start, and it has been wonderful to get to know you all a little better in my first month here.  Know that I am praying for you.

Fr. Adam

August 08, 2017

It is hard to compete with Fr. Larry’s letters. The title above, and this article, are my first crack at taking over a wonderful custom started by our dear Pastor Fr. Larry.

As I write this I am coming up on one week officially assigned to St. Luke’s, and have enjoyed getting my first taste of the parish. Coming from DC to Ankeny is almost as great a shift as Dorothy coming from Kansas to OZ, and I could have sworn for a brief moment that I had come to munchkinland when I held up the collection plate for the kid’s collection for the first time. Prudence kept me from singing my own rendition of Gelinda’s “Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are” during this part of the Mass.

I love the energy this parish has, and I’m excited to welcome the teachers and students back for the academic year so I can get the full St. Luke’s experience. I myself attended Catholic Schools my whole life, from Holy Trinity in Beaverdale to Dowling Catholic, then to the Franciscan University of Steubenville where I earned my B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Theology, afterwards earning my M. Div. at St. Paul seminary, and finishing up my academic studies (God willing) with a JCL from the Catholic University of America as soon as I complete my thesis.

I’m looking forward to putting myself at the service of the parish and to helping this community to grow closer to Christ and one another. If I can be of assistance to you or your families, or if you want to meet for coffee/tea or dinner, or for pranking someone or shenanigans or other fun social activities, the easiest way to get ahold of me is through e-mail. fradam@slte.org