Annual Financial Report shows Denver Archdiocese is strong and moving forward

A Q&A with chief financial officer Keith Parsons

Roxanne King

The Denver Catholic spoke with the Denver Archdiocese’s chief financial officer, Keith Parsons, about the 2016 Financial Report, which can be viewed here. The interview has been edited for space and clarity.

Denver Catholic: What achievements would you like to highlight took place in the Archdiocese of Denver during the past year?

Keith Parsons: The most pertinent and exciting highlight for the archdiocese—and this is for the June 30, 2016, fiscal year end—is that in a fiscal year when the market was pretty much in a downturn, we were able to maintain positive results. Our overall cash is up about $8 million, with our investments down about the same amount, and our trust and restricted funds are up nearly $20 million. That’s very positive.

DC: Any projects you’d like to mention?

KP: We have a couple of small capital projects going on. The first and biggest is Camp St. Malo in Allenspark, which previously was our adult retreat center as well as the location of St. Catherine’s Chapel on the Rock. [Camp St. Malo] was decimated by fire a few years ago and then by a mudslide a couple of years after that. We’ve refurbished [St. Catherine’s] chapel with necessary repairs. We’re also converting what was St. William’s Lodge into a visitor center. Upwards of 500 cars visit that location on a weekly basis; [we want to] give people the opportunity to know the history and legacy of the site St. John Paul II visited in the early 1990s. It’s about a $3 million project.

We have a replacement site [for] St. Malo that we’re going to name the Emmaus Retreat Conference Center. We have 250 acres that were purchased. In fiscal 2017 we will be moving forward with building [as] we have now received all the insurance proceeds—[about] $16 million.

DC: Is there other good news?

KP: I’d like to note that at Holy Family High School we had a significant increase in enrollment, therefore, the results of Holy Family are very good. And at the seminaries we had 14 men ordained to the priesthood in 2016 from St. John Vianney Theological Seminary and one man ordained from Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary. That was very exciting.

DC: Is there anything you’d like to note about the physical Financial Report itself?

KP: It’s a stand-alone report so you can pull it out of the Denver Catholic and go back and reference it at any time. The Financial Report will also be available online (www.archden.org). You can look at it at any point in time.

DC: What is the overall financial status of the Archdiocese of Denver?

KP: We’re in a very strong financial position. We’re a nonprofit and rely year to year on the gracious support of our donors and parishioners. It is comforting to know that the programs and ministries the archdiocese runs are very healthy and doing well from a nonprofit perspective. We have a strong cash position to maintain that. And if we’re ever in an economic downturn, we’re in good shape to sail through that and provide the ministries we do.

 

COMING UP: New Malo Heritage Center to be built

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Camp St. Malo in Allenspark is one of Colorado’s most famous and beautiful retreat sites. Until 2011, the site boasted three main structures: the St. Catherine of Siena Chapel, completed in 1953 and affectionately referred to as the Chapel on the Rock, the St. Williams Lodge, constructed as the first building on the site in 1921, and the Malo Conference and Retreat Center, developed in the mid-1980s. Camp St. Malo is the third most photographed place in Colorado, and Michael Six, the director of St. Malo, says it’s the beauty of the site which draws people there.

“They stop because it’s beautiful,” he said. “Beauty has drawn them there. Beauty is one of the names of God, so he’s drawn them there. Just by stopping, they’ve responded to his call through beauty.”

However, a fire in 2011 destroyed most of the Malo Conference and Retreat Center, leaving only the Chapel and the lodge standing. Plans to rebuild the Retreat Center on the same site were initiated shortly after the fire, but these plans were thwarted when a treacherous flood in 2013 devastated much of the land and the infrastructure needed to rebuild it. The unpredictable conditions of the land and the possibility of future sediment flows and mudslides led to a decision by the Archdiocese of Denver not to build on the original site and to tear down the remnants of the retreat center that remained standing.

While plans to build a new Catholic retreat center at another location are still in the preliminary stages, the Denver Catholic is pleased to announce that plans to renovate the still-standing St. Williams Lodge at Camp St. Malo and transform it into a beautiful visitor and heritage center are well underway, as are other site improvements.

These renovations are currently slated to begin this winter. Additional plans include cosmetic and functional additions to the chapel, adding more spaces for parking, installation of handicapped-accessible access ramps and transforming St. William’s Lodge into a visitor and heritage center, complete with bathrooms, a gift shop and a museum highlighting the history of Camp St. Malo.

“We want to to tell the story of Camp St. Malo,” Six said.

There are also plans to add a new memorial walk that’s meant to pay homage to the path Pope Saint John Paul II hiked during his visit to Camp St. Malo in 1993. Much of the original path he walked on was destroyed during the floods in 2013.

John Paul II’s visit to Camp St. Malo is but a snippet of the camp’s rich history. Originally intended as a boy’s camp, the site was founded by Monsignor Joseph Bosetti in 1916 and it blossomed into the location it is today. This is merely the next chapter for this renowned mountain haven, and Six hopes the renovations will draw people closer to Christ, or at least begin to spark more conversation.

“Everybody needs to draw closer to Christ, so no matter where you are, this is an opportunity to start asking some deep questions that in daily life, you tend to gloss over,” Six said. “The idea is this is where the New Evangelization happens.”

To make a donation to the renovation efforts, or for more information on Camp St. Malo, visit http://campstmalo.org.