Deacon Steve Hinkle remembered by his care for those in need

Deacon Steven Hinkle passed away on May 18.  He was 65 years old.  He ministered at Spirit of Christ Catholic Church in Arvada.

Deacon Steven Douglas Hinkle was born to Clyde and Esther Hinkle in Hugoton, Kansas on March 6, 1953.  As a convert to Catholicism, Deacon Hinkle was baptized at Spirit of Christ Parish on the April 18, 1992 by Msgr. Ken Leone.

The youngest of five children, Hinkle and his family moved to Denver when he was six years old.  His brothers had joined the Air Force, which left him and his sister in the home with their mom.  He attended Alameda High School and graduated in 1971.  After spending time at Red Rocks Community College, he decided to start a business of his own in the construction industry in 1986.

While in high school, he met “his high school sweetheart,” Terri.  After nine years, Hinkle asked Terri to marry him in 1979.  They were married on September 21, 1979 at Mother Cabrini Shrine by Father Bert Chilson. Their marriage was blessed with two wonderful daughters, Ashley and Lindsay and three grandchildren.

Hinkle was reluctant to join the Catholic Church, but with the prayers and urging of Terri and the children, he finally answered the calling of the Holy Spirit, “with tears in his eyes.”  At the 1992 Easter Vigil, he joined his family in the Catholic Church and received the Sacraments of Initiation.  At the parish, Hinkle was on various committees and was an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.  Answering a persistent call from the Holy Spirit to serve others, he applied for deacon formation in 2006.

Deacon Hinkle was ordained a deacon on June 25, 2011 by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and was immediately assigned to Spirit of Christ Catholic Parish, where he remained throughout his ministry.  He assisted with prison ministry and would make mission trips to help those in need of housing.  He also assisted parishioners as an advocate for annulments and loved working with the elderly.

“Deacon Steve was a wonderful minister with a simple task — take care of those in need.  His ministry was blessed with beautiful accomplishments that give beauty to the characteristics of a deacon,” said Deacon Joseph Donohoe, Director of Deacon Personnel for the archdiocese. “He knew how to draw in those that were in need and take care of them.  What a beautiful example he gave to his brother deacons and the community.”

COMING UP: Swole.Catholic helps people strengthen body and soul

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St. Augustine once said, “Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.”

Humans are both body and soul and both must be strengthened. This is the reason for the existence of Swole.Catholic, a group of people who dedicate themselves to nurturing their soul while strengthening their body, and through their ministry, motivate others to do the same.

According to Paul McDonald, founder of Swole.Catholic, they focus on encouraging faithful fitness. “We must take care of our temple of the Holy Spirit, because our bodies are one of God’s greatest gifts to us,” he said.

McDonald solidified the idea of faith and fitness when he was a sophomore in college. While “going through a huge moment in my life, at the same time I was really learning about the gym and learning ethical statements on my own. Both things clicked together,” he told the Denver Catholic. As a young guy, he started bible studies, and in those studies, he always had an analogy back to the gym.

He decided to make shirts for him and the guys in the bible study during his senior year. The shirts ended up becoming good conversation starters, and he decided he needed to do something with it — evangelize and motivate others to take care of their body and soul.

Thus Swole.Catholic was born. “Swole” is a slang term for bulking one’s muscles up from going to the gym, and of course, the Catholic part is self-explanatory — not only because of the Church but also for our faith and how it defines us in all we do. Swole.Catholic launched officially in Jan 2017.

The ministry consists of a website which provides resources to helps people with Catholic gyms, Catholic workouts, Catholic trainers, podcasts as well as workout wear.

The workout wear works as an evangelization tool. The word “Catholic” is printed on the front of the shirts and a bible verse is placed on the back.

“This raises questions or interest in others. It also works as a reminder of the purpose of the workout,” McDonald said. He added, “Most of the gyms we are going to have mirrors and all that, making you focus into yourself.” But the real purpose of the workout, as the members of Swole.Catholic say, is to strengthen your body and soul to live a healthy life.

Swole.Catholic also has rosary bands, a simple decade wrist band that people can wear while they workout and be flipped off at any time to pray a quick decade.

“Because everyone’s faith journey is different and everyone’s fitness journey is different, what we are trying to do is connect people with people [for them] to be able to have the correct support with their faith and fitness,” McDonald said.

That is why Swole.Catholic now has outposts around the country, with passionate Catholic members who love to help and inspire others in the fitness world while pursuing God in everything they do.

“Each one has its own flavor,” McDonald said. “In Florida we have a rosary run group where a bunch of girls meet up and pray rosary while they go for a run.” Among the outposts, there is also a group of guys in North Dakota who do a bible study and lift together. Similar to these two groups, members from other states have formed their own Catholic fitness groups and are now part of Swole.Catholic, including in Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio and Wyoming and more.

“We encourage faithful fitness,” McDonald concluded. “We think your fitness fits in your faith as much as faith fits in your fitness. We are body and soul and we need to be building both.”

To join a group or a workout, visit swolecatholic.com or find them on Facebook.