Student Life


Believe. Seek. Serve.

Dowling Catholic High School is a community of faith where learning, leadership, and sportsmanship are Christ-centered. The mission at Dowling Catholic is to inspire a love of learning and a respect for fellow human beings in an environment that fosters excellence in academics and spiritual development. The culture at Dowling Catholic is one of caring and support which embraces diversity and students of all faiths.

Service Hours

The goal of Dowling Catholic High School’s Christian Service Hour program is to ensure that students are seeking to serve the community, the world at large, and to see Christ in all people. To find out more about service hours and the graduation requirement, click here.

If you are completing your service hours during the summer, please print off a Service Hour Verification Form and get it signed by the supervisor of your hours. When you start school in the fall you can enter the hours in our online service hour system.

Students can earn a white Service Cord by going above and beyond the 80 hour service requirement for graduation. Students must have earned at least 210 Christian service hours during their time at Dowling Catholic and must apply for the award. 
Below is a list of the faith-based service clubs and activities Dowling Catholic has to offer. To learn more about each club, the requirements and moderator download the DCHS Activities Handbook.


List of 6 items.

  • Freshman Retreat

    All freshmen attend a day-long retreat in the fall led by nationally renowned Catholic speakers, DCHS faculty and a group of DCHS seniors. The retreat focuses on helping students integrate their relationship with Jesus into every aspect of their high school lives.  The retreat is called “Get Your Heart in the Game” and is part of our Freshman Month of Welcome.
  • Metanoia

    Metanoia (a Greek word meaning "change of heart") is a retreat for Dowling Catholic freshmen led by a team of seniors and held at St. Thomas More Center in Panora, IA. The retreat runs from Sunday noon until Monday afternoon. The retreat follows the thematic development of "Change Your Mind--Change Your Heart--Change Your Actions.” Students will listen to talks, participate in small group discussions and activities, engage in prayer/reflection activities, and celebrate Mass together. The experience is intended to give students a chance to get away from the hectic pace of life, reflect on their faith, get to know many new classmates, and grow in faith and friendship. Please contact Mrs. Sheaff with questions.

    Metanoia 2021-2022 Registration Form

    Metanoia Dates: 
    January 23-24, 2022
    March 27-28, 2022
  • Quest

    Quest is a 24-hour retreat opportunity for sophomores. The retreat takes place at the St. Thomas More Center in Panora, IA, and runs from Sunday noon through Monday afternoon. The focus of this encounter with Jesus is on the question Jesus poses, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16).  Witness talks and discussions surround the questions, “Who am I” and “Do I let Jesus form who I am?”. The Quest team consists of Dowling Catholic seniors and faculty and includes personal reflection time and small group sharing. Please contact Mrs. Sheaff with questions.

    Quest 2021-2022 Registration Form

    Quest Dates:
    February 13-14, 2022
    April 10-11, 2022

  • Kairos

    Kairos is a four-day retreat available to juniors. Kairos, which means “the Lord’s time,” not only gives students an opportunity to explore their own hearts but also draws them closer to God and each other in an intensely powerful way. This retreat significantly impacts students and strengthens their ideals and values as Christian leaders. Kairos retreats are held at the Creighton Retreat Center located near Griswold, IA, and are led by a team of Dowling Catholic students and faculty. Please contact Mrs. Sheaff with questions.

    Kairos 2021-2022 Registration Form

    Kairos Dates:
    October 21-24, 2021
    December 2-5, 2021
    January 20-23, 2022
    February 24-27, 2022
    March 24-27, 2022
    April 7-10, 2022
    May 5-8, 2022
  • Radix

    "Radix: Grow a radical faith"

    RADIX, a retreat available to seniors, is the Latin word for "rooted” and is also the base of the word "radical.” We will explore the changing lives of second-semester seniors and their relationships with parents, siblings, friends, enemies and God. We will also explore our faith roots, including what nourishes the roots and how they help us withstand the storms. We will also discuss Jesus as a radical man - meaning rooted in scripture, prayer, family and tradition. His roots allowed him to withstand temptation while challenging the culture AND drawing people to himself. This is who we aspire to become. Radix does NOT require any previous retreat experience.

    This retreat is sponsored by the Diocese of Des Moines and combines Dowling Catholic students with students from across southwest Iowa. Radix begins on Friday evening and ends on Sunday evening. Cost is $150. Financial assistance is available from the Diocese.

    April 1-3, 2022
  • Senior Day of Reflection

    Every spring the seniors experience a day of reflection during which they look back on their time at Dowling Catholic. They focus on the highs and lows, what they are to take with them and leave behind, those they need to thank and those with whom they need to make amends. The day includes brunch and the senior video.

Spiritual Activities

List of 9 items.

  • Adoration

    Mondays from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. in the St. Joseph Chapel
  • Daily Mass in St. Joseph Chapel

    Wednesday/Friday 3:10pm.
    Tuesday/Thursday during seminar
  • Handmaids of the Lord

    A club where young women can grow together in community and faith as they learn to imitate Mary, the Mother of God, in the virtues of humility, joy, charity, simplicity, obedience and purity.
  • Legion of Our Lady

    A men’s group focused on prayer, fraternity, and growth in the spiritual life. The group is committed to personal conversion, authentic manhood, and serving God and the Dowling Catholic community.
  • Morning Prayer

    20 minutes before school starts in the St. Joseph Chapel
  • Reconciliation

    Reconciliation is available during Seminar with Fr. Acrea in his office in the narthex.
  • Revive

    A night of witness, praise, and Eucharistic adoration. Held periodically on Sunday evenings from 7-8:30 pm. See the Maroon Minute for this semester’s speaker schedule and specific dates.
  • Students For Life

    An organization promoting the Catholic Church’s teaching on the consistent ethic of respecting all human life from conception to natural death.
  • Ut Fidem

    Ut Fidem, from a Latin phrase meaning “Keep the Faith,” strives to develop high school students into intentional disciples who will keep the faith for the rest of their lives, and especially through college. Ut Fidem does this by supporting students in forming deep, personal relationships with Christ through small group ministry and faith mentoring.

    More about Ut Fidem

List of 6 members.

  • Photo of Terry Clark

    Terry Clark 

    Director of Formation & Ministry, Theology Department Chair
  • Photo of Fr. Ryan Andrew

    Fr. Ryan Andrew 

  • Photo of Fr. John Acrea

    Fr. John Acrea 

    Spiritual Director
  • Photo of Christy Sheaff

    Christy Sheaff 

    Retreats & Liturgy
  • Photo of Addie Magruder

    Addie Magruder 

    Graduate Ministries Coordinator
  • Photo of Jonny Carlson

    Jonny Carlson 

    Ut Fidem Coordinator

Dowling Catholic High School

Dowling Catholic High School is committed to serving the Greater Des Moines Catholic community and embracing learners of all faiths. In an environment that is faithful, caring and dedicated, Dowling Catholic forms each student to become a Christ-centered leader.