Archbishop, mayor stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with Catholic Charities

CEO Larry Smith unveils plans for 150-bed shelter to care for homeless women

Catholic Charities of Denver CEO Larry Smith unveiled plans for a new women’s shelter during an event Oct. 17 with Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

The leaders announced the groundbreaking of the new Samaritan House Women’s Shelter in northeast Denver. Through a partnership between the City and County of Denver and Catholic Charities, the shelter will offer 150-beds and comprehensive services to help serve the growing number of homeless women in the community.

Mayor Hancock said he’s proud of their partnership.

“This new Samaritan House Women’s Shelter is now part of that multi-faceted approach that we are taking to serve and care for the most vulnerable among us, especially women experiencing homelessness,” Mayor Hancock said. “So I’m very proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese and to see this new service become a reality.”

Catholic Charities purchased the building at 6240 E. Smith Road with the help of the city, which approved $1 million to assist in purchasing the $5 million project. The 32,000-square-foot building will include emergency and extended shelter.

Smith said it’s a privilege to serve women in need.

“We are dedicating this facility to serve them,” Smith said during the event. “As we say at Catholic Charities, we serve everyone—not because they’re Catholic—but because we’re Catholic. That’s what we are called to do.”

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Featured image: From left, Denver City Councilman Christopher Herndon, Archbishop of Denver Samuel J. Aquila, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, and Catholic Charities CEO Larry Smith pose for a photograph at the announcement of the Samaritan House Shelter for Women on Oct. 17. The homeless shelter for women will open in mid-2017. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/Catholic Charities)

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.

Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash