Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal steps up in dramatic fashion

Amy Bryer Brumley

Unique times call for unique action and the Archdiocese of Denver met the call of those in need in new ways this year. The Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal provided vital support to its parishes and its people in their time of crisis.

Many generous members of the Church of Northern Colorado stepped up when their Church called on them with donations that answered the immediate funding needs of more than 40 ministries, but the Appeal is still only covering 67 percent of its goal.

Traditionally, the Appeal kicks off two weeks after Easter, but this year the pandemic forced changes in both the Appeal roll-out and the dramatic new needs of the ministries that the Appeal supports.

Virus restrictions on Masses resulted in drastically reduced offertory funds that are used to sustain parish operations. Many parishes were faced with fears of forced layoffs. The archdiocese stepped in to protect parishes by dedicating the first $1 million raised from the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal directly to parishes as emergency relief.

“The archdiocese recognized the extreme pressures its parishes have been experiencing,” said Keith Parsons, Chief Operating Officer of the Archdiocese of Denver.

Funds were quickly sent to grateful parishes.

“Thanks to the support from the Appeal, we were able to keep our parish staff and cover expenses during these difficult times,” said Father Wojciech Gierasimczyk, pastor at St. Anthony of Padua.

But that was just the beginning.

The Archdiocese of Denver found creative ways to continue administering the sacraments, such as Baptism and Marriage. The 37 Catholic schools in the archdiocese found inspiring ways to teach. The archdiocese ordained five new priests in May and livestreamed masses for at least 63 parishes — some in two languages.

Ministries like Centro San Juan Diego assisted more than 500 people in the Hispanic community during the first few months of the crisis and even started a support group for new moms who welcomed their babies this year.

“To be in this country is a blessing and Centro offers you a lot of things to succeed,” said a Centro client and small-business owner.

The Church continues to welcome new faithful through Catholic formation classes and the newly engaged want to learn about creating a Catholic marriage.

But the financial need of 2020 continues. The Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal is the best way to help support these ministries and many more. Many Catholics have already been inspired to make sacrifices to help their brothers and sisters in faith.

Parishes are asking parishioners to come together to support the Appeal at Mass on September 19-20.

If you have already given, thank you for your generous support. If you would like more information or are unable to attend Mass on Appeal weekend, please visit archden.org/givenow.

COMING UP: From rare books to online resources, archdiocesan library has long history of service to students

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National Library Week, observed this year from April 4 to April 10, is the perfect occasion to highlight the essential role of libraries and library staff in strengthening our communities – and our very own Cardinal Stafford Library at the Archdiocese of Denver is no exception.  

Since 1932, the library has served as a religious, intellectual, and cultural resource for seminarians and students at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver.

As the library of the seminary, we are always responsible for the four dimensions of the priestly formation of our seminarians. The library is charged with being responsible to all the divisions of the Seminary: the Lay Division (Catholic Biblical School and Catholic Catechetical School), the Permanent Deacon Formation Division, and the Priestly Formation Division, said Stephen Sweeney, Library Director. 

In addition to being one of the main resources to the seminary, the Cardinal Stafford Library serves the needs of other educational programs in the Archdiocese of Denver, including the St. Francis School for Deacons, the Biblical School, the Catechetical School and the Augustine Institute. While the library is currently closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was previously open to anyone, giving people access to more than 150,000 books, audios, and videos. 

The Cardinal Stafford Library was named after Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, Apostolic Penitentiary at the Vatican and former Archbishop of Denver from 1986 to 1996. He was a dedicated advocate of the library and of Catholic education.

In 1932, the library was established by two seminarians, Maurice Helmann and Barry Wogan. While they were not the first seminarians to conceive the idea of establishing a library, they are considered the founders for undertaking its organization.  

Since its founding, the library has grown and compiled a fine collection of resources on Catholic theology, Church history, biblical studies, liturgy, canon law, religious art, philosophy, and literature. Special collections include over 500 rare books dating back to the early 16th century and many periodicals dating back to the 1800s. The oldest publication in the library is a book on excommunication published in 1510. The Cardinal Stafford Library is also home to various relics and holds bills personally written by some of those saints.  

Over the past few years, the library has undergone a process of beautification through various renovations that include improvements in lighting, flooring, and even furniture restoration. During these difficult times, libraries are doing their best to adapt to our changing world by expanding their digital resources to reach those who don’t have access to them from home. 

The Cardinal Stafford Library provides a community space; we subscribe to about 200 print journals and have access to literally thousands more through online resources available on campus computers, Sweeney added. “I have been the Library Director for almost 11 years. I absolutely love my work, especially participating in the intellectual formation of the faithful from all of the dioceses we serve”.  

For more information on the Cardinal Stafford Library, visit: sjvdenver.edu/library 

Featured photo by Andrew Wright