Donate during annual radio-a-thon to support Denver’s homeless

On Dec. 18 Tom Manoogian, better known as ESPN Radio’s “Lou from Littleton,” will broadcast live from Catholic Charities’ Samaritan House at 2301 Lawrence St. in downtown Denver from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. to raise funds for the shelter.

“With your help, we’ve raised over $1.5 million to help people less fortunate than you and me,” Manoogian wrote on the ESPN Radio website of the event in its 17th year.

This year’s goal is to raise $135,000 by end of day, according to Tracy Murphy, communications associate for Catholic Charities.

“It costs $9,000 a day to run Samaritan House,” she said. “So that would cover 15 days of operation.”

Special guests during the broadcast will include Denver Nuggets’ former player and coach Bill Hanzlik, Ring-of-Fame former Denver Bronco Tom Nalen, as well as sportscasters Les Shapiro, Charles Johnson and Nate Kreckman. Manoogian will also give listeners an insight into life at the shelter by interviewing staff members and residents.

Several Broncos such as Peyton Manning, John Elway, Eric Decker and Wesley Woodyard donated autographed sports memorabilia to be auctioned off, with proceeds being donated to Samaritan House. The items will be on display at the shelter during the broadcast and can be bid on online at: http://www.denverssportsstation.com/common/page.php?id=581.

There will also be memorabilia from Colorado Rockies’ and Colorado Avalanche players.

“We invite everyone to swing by the shelter anytime Dec 18 and go shopping,” Murphy said. “And see first-hand how your donation will help the homeless men, women and children living at Samaritan House.”

Samaritan House is currently home to 48 women, 126 men and 21 families with nearly 50 children—who otherwise may not have a roof over their heads. Additional space is provided to 100 more individuals at night in overflow. The ministry supplies about half of the shelter available to homeless families in the Denver area.

Listen to “Lou from Littleton” on ESPN Denver at FM 105.5 or FM 102.3 from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., or at www.espndenver.com. To donate, visit www.ccdenver.org/donate, call 303-996-6087 (this number is active Dec. 18 only), or drop off a donation at the Samaritan House at 2301 Lawrence St. For more information, call Catholic Charities at 303-742-0828.

COMING UP: Collegiality and eucharistic integrity

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The concept of the “collegiality” of bishops has been sharply contested since the Second Vatican Council debated it in 1962, 1963, and 1964. That discussion was sufficiently contentious that a personal intervention from Pope Paul VI was required to incorporate the concept of episcopal collegiality within the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church in such a way that the pope’s primacy and universal jurisdiction were safeguarded. The debate about collegiality has continued ever since. Now, however, it’s focused more on what kind of collegiality exists within national conferences of bishops. Is it an “affective collegiality” of mutual support and encouragement? Or is episcopal collegiality within bishops’ conferences “effective,” such that a conference has real teaching and legislative authority?  

Whether collegiality is “affective,” “effective,” or some combination of the two, it ought to be clear what truly “collegial” behavior isn’t.   

It isn’t individual bishops attempting end-runs around their national conference, appealing for Roman interventions that would forestall debates that their brother bishops wish to engage. It isn’t bishops trying to browbeat the conference chairman into changing an agenda to suit the tastes of a distinct minority — and misleading their brother bishops as to what they’re about when soliciting support for such a gambit. And it isn’t trying to filibuster a conference meeting so that no action is possible on an agenda item that the great majority of bishops wish to consider and act upon. 

If any of those three maneuvers qualifies as collegial, then “collegiality” has no more meaning than the claim that my poor Baltimore Orioles have a great starting rotation. 

For years now — and by “years,” I mean long before the idea of a “President Biden” entered the stream of national consciousness — the bishops of the United States have been concerned that ours is becoming less of a eucharistic Church than Vatican II called us to be when it taught that the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of the Church’s life. Pope St. John Paul II reaffirmed that conciliar summons when, in his final encyclical, he taught that “the Church draws her life from the Eucharist,” which “recapitulates the heart and mystery of the Church.” Yet all around us we see declining Sunday Mass attendance: a sadness that preceded the pandemic but has been further exacerbated by it.  Moreover, surveys suggest that too many Catholics think of Sunday Mass as essentially a social occasion, rather than an encounter with the living God in which Christ is offered to the Father and is given back to his people in holy communion — a communion in and through the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ, received under the forms of bread and wine.

If the Church lives from the Eucharist and yet the people of the Church don’t participate in the Eucharist as often as they should, or don’t understand what they’re celebrating and receiving when they do, then the Church suffers from a serious eucharistic deficit. Those ordained to leadership in the Church are obliged to do something about that. 

That is why the U.S. bishops have been determined for some time to undertake a comprehensive program of eucharistic education throughout the Church. For the great majority of bishops, that determination has been intensified by the fact that our eucharistic deficit is being compounded by the eucharistic incoherence of public officials who, rejecting authoritative Catholic teaching based on both revelation and reason, nonetheless present themselves for holy communion as if they were in full communion with the Church. The longstanding episcopal failure to address this incoherence exacerbates the eucharistic deficit in American Catholicism by implying that the Church really doesn’t mean what it teaches about the sacred nature of the Eucharist. 

Those suggesting that this is all about “politics” are either ill-informed or deliberately misleading the Church and the gullible parts of the media. Concern for the eucharistic integrity of the Church includes, but goes much deeper than, concerns about the eucharistic incoherence of Catholic public officials who act as if the Church’s settled convictions on the life issues and on worthiness to receive holy communion don’t exist. That is why the U.S. bishops are forging ahead with developing a teaching document that will clarify for the whole Church why we are a Eucharistic community, what the Eucharist truly is, what reception of the Eucharist means, and why everyone in the Church should examine conscience before receiving Christ in the sacrament. 

The wheels of collegiality may grind slowly. In this case, however, they are grinding truly, and for the sake of the Gospel.

George Weigel is an independent columnist whose weekly column is syndicated by the Archdiocese of Denver. The opinions and viewpoints expressed by Mr. Weigel therein are his alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Archdiocese of Denver or the bishops of Denver.