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: Preparing your Home and Heart for the Advent Season

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The Advent season is a time of preparation for our hearts and minds for the Lord’s birth on Christmas.  It extends over the four Sundays before Christmas.  Try some of these Ideas to celebrate Advent in your home by decorating, cooking, singing, and reading your way to Christmas. Some of the best ideas are the simplest.

Special thanks to Patty Lunder for putting this together!

Advent Crafts

Handprint Advent Wreath for Children 
Bring the meaning of Advent into your home by having your kids make this fun and easy Advent wreath.

Materials
Pink and purple construction paper
– Yellow tissue or construction paper (to make a flame)
– One piece of red construction paper cut into 15 small circles
– Scissors
– Glue
– Two colors of green construction paper
– One paper plate
– 2 empty paper towel tubes

1. Take the two shades of green construction paper and cut out several of your child’s (Children’s) handprints. Glue the handprints to the rim of a paper plate with the center cut out.

2. Roll one of the paper towels tubes in purple construction paper and glue in place.

3. Take the second paper towel and roll half in pink construction paper and half in purple construction and glue in place.

4. Cut the covered paper towel tubes in half.

5. Cut 15 small circles from the red construction paper. Take three circles and glue two next to each other and a third below to make berries. Do this next to each candle until all circles are used.

6. Cut 4 rain drop shapes (to make a flame) from the yellow construction paper. Each week glue the yellow construction paper to the candle to make a flame. On the first week light the purple candle, the second week light the second purple candle, the third week light the pink candle and on the fourth week light the final purple candle.

A Meal to Share during the Advent Season

Slow-Cooker Barley & Bean Soup 

Make Sunday dinner during Advent into a special family gathering with a simple, easy dinner. Growing up in a large family, we knew everyone would be together for a family dinner after Mass on Sunday. Let the smells and aromas of a slow stress-free dinner fill your house and heart during the Advent Season. Choose a member of the family to lead grace and enjoy an evening together. This is the perfect setting to light the candles on your Advent wreath and invite all to join in a special prayer for that week.

Ingredients:
– 1 cup dried multi-bean mix or Great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed
– 1/2 cup pearl barley (Instant works great, I cook separate and add at end when soup is done)
– 3 cloves garlic, smashed
– 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
– 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
– 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
– 1 bay leaf
– Salt to taste
– 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend (basil, oregano)
– Freshly ground black pepper
– One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice
– 3 cups cleaned baby spinach leaves (about 3 ounces)
– 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, extra for garnish

1. Put 6 cups water, the beans, barley, garlic, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaf, 1 tablespoons salt, herb blend, some pepper in a slow cooker. Squeeze the tomatoes through your hands over the pot to break them down and add their juices. Cover and cook on high until the beans are quite tender and the soup is thick, about 8 hours. 

2. Add the spinach and cheese, and stir until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve with a baguette.