Bishop Machebeuf’s ‘Shut Down for Service’ day enriches community

Moira Cullings

Every year, students at Bishop Machebeuf High School take a break from classes to go out and serve their community for an entire day.

Known as “Shut Down for Service” day, the students often accomplish significant tasks, which benefit a variety of people and organizations in need, in a matter of hours.

When Cari Ervin, Director of Activities at Windsor Gardens, an active adult living community in Denver, reached out to the school to promote a lifeguard position, she was asked if Windsor Gardens could use any help from the students for their day of giving.

“I had been wanting to do a large community event like this,” said Ervin. “It was the perfect opportunity when they asked if we could receive some students for the service day.”

Windsor Gardens had been wanting to partner with Arc Thrift Store to give their residents the chance to donate unwanted belongings to the store.

Around 50 students from Bishop Machebeuf High School spent their “Shut Down for Service” day at Windsor Gardens in Denver. (Photos provided)

“But even though we are an active adult living community, there are some residents who don’t necessarily have the ability to load up their car with unwanted items to donate or dispose of them,” said Ervin.

The task was perfect for the more than 50 Bishop Machebeuf students who showed up at Windsor Gardens ready to help collect boxes for Arc.

While one group spent time helping the residents with their cell phones, apps and emails, among other elements of the technology world, the rest of the students spread out throughout the 72-building community, tackling the more than 2,500 condo units to collect donation boxes for Arc.

“It’s a huge task and something that made me a little bit nervous,” said Ervin. “But it worked incredibly smooth and operated well and we got everything covered.”

The residents were able to simply set boxes of items they wanted to donate right outside their door, and the students walked up and down the hallways picking them up.

The students collected more than 1,000 boxes, filling up two semi-trucks, in the span of a few hours.

Although it wasn’t Bishop Machebeuf’s intention, Ervin scheduled the day as a fundraiser, so Arc gave credit of more than $1,000 back to the school — a dollar for each box collected.

The Bishop Machebeuf students collected more than 1,000 boxes from residents at Windsor Gardens to donate to Arc Thrift Store. (Photos provided)

Ervin only heard positive feedback from the residents, “which is amazing when you’re working with so many residents,” she said.

“I think our residents love that youthful energy around,” she added, “just to see the promise of the future.”

The Arc employees were also grateful for the students’ hard work.

“They really appreciated the help of the students with that loading process,” said Ervin. “They were overjoyed and amazed at the success of the event.”

Tami Bonner, General Manager at Windsor Gardens, said teaming up with the young people from Bishop Machebeuf was “a huge success and truly impacted the community in a positive way.

“While we always enjoy impacting the greater community in any way we can, what a blessing it was to have this great community of young people from outside our walls come in and serve our people, while at the same time helping us serve Arc,” said Bonner.

“When different communities come together in this way, everyone is a winner,” she said. “We are excited to see how this partnership can grow in the future.”

COMING UP: Five Colorado places named after Catholic saints

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On Aug. 1, Colorado will have made it way over the hill at a ripe 144 years old. Better known as Colorado Day, the day commemorates the founding of our great Centennial State in 1876.

The Catholic Church has a rich history in Colorado, and believe it or not, various regions, geographic landmarks and places in the state are named after Catholic saints. The San Juan Mountain Range, the San Miguel River and the San Luis Valley are but a few examples.

In honor of Colorado Day, here are five places within “Colorful Colorado” that take their namesake from a Catholic saint. You probably already know a couple of them, but the other three are real “diamonds in the rough” that are worth making the trek; in fact, two of them were built and founded before Colorado was even Colorado.

Mother Cabrini Shrine, Golden, CO

 

One of Colorado’s most popular pilgrimage sites, it’s hard not to be enamored by Mother Cabrini Shrine. Originally founded as a girls’ summer camp by St. Frances Cabrini in 1910, the shrine overlooks the I-70 corridor heading into the mountains and is as charming as it is relaxing. In addition to the praying in the chapel, visitors can stay in the old Stone House that was built in 1914 or one of the various retreat houses that have been added over the years. Aside from being a wonderful space to pray, Mother Cabrini Shrine doubles as a sort of natural Stairmaster to get those steps in with the 373-step staircase leading up to the shrine, affectionately known as the Stairway of Prayer.

St. Catherine of Siena Chapel, Allenspark, CO

Photo by Andrew Wright

Better known as the Chapel on the Rock, this functioning Catholic chapel is perhaps one of Colorado’s most iconic landmarks. As the story goes, in the early 20th century, a man by the name of William McPhee owned the land where the chapel stands, known as Camp St. Malo. McPhee was a parishioner of the Cathedral in Denver, and he often allowed the parish to take kids hiking and camping on his property. During one of those trips, several campers saw a meteorite or shooting star that had appeared to hit the earth. They went looking for it and came upon the Rock that now stands as the foundation of St. Catherine of Siena Chapel. Completed in 1936, the chapel’s official namesake is fitting, as both it and St. Catherine of Siena share a common thread of mystical experiences facilitated by the Lord. It has had many visitors over the years, but perhaps none so famous as St. John Paul II who, ever the outdoorsman, just had to make a stop while in Denver for World Youth Day in 1993.

Abbey of St. Walburga, Virginia Dale, CO

 

Photo courtesy of the Abbey of St. Walburga

Located in the picturesque Virginia Dale, a small community just south of the Wyoming border, the Abbey of St. Walburga is a place where the voice of the Lord lives in the mountains, plains and rivers surrounding it. Named for the patroness of the Benedictine nuns, the abbey was founded in 1935 when three sisters from the Abbey of St. Walburg in Eichstätt, Bavaria were sent to a remote farm in what was Boulder. There, they built a strong foundation for the future of the abbey through hard work, poverty and an immovable trust in God’s providence. Today, the Benedictine nuns of Walburga humbly carry out the good works of the Benedictine order and carry on the legacy started nearly a millennium ago in 1035, when the original Walburg abbey in Eichstätt was founded.

San Luis, CO

Photo by Jeremy Elliot

Moving into the southern most regions of the State of Colorado, the Catholic roots of the region become much more evident. The oldest town in Colorado, San Luis, was founded in 1851 on the Feast of St. Louis, and predates the official founding of Colorado as a state by 25 years. The town is located along the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, which translates to “Blood of Christ.” One of the main attractions of the small town of just over 600 is a shrine at the town’s local Catholic parish. The Shrine of the Stations of the Cross was built by the parishioners of Sangre de Cristo Parish and the beautiful stations were designed and sculpted by native San Luis sculptor Huberto Maesta.

Capilla de Viejo San Acacio, Costilla County, CO

Photo from Wikicommons

Just to the west of the town of San Luis lies one of Colorado’s oldest gems. The Chapel of Old St. Acacius, or Capilla de Viejo San Acacio as it’s known to the locals, is the oldest non-Native American religious site in Colorado that’s still active today. While the building of the church cannot be dated precisely, it was likely completed sometime in the 1860s. The namesake of the church comes from St. Acacius of Byzantium, a third century martyr. Near the church is the small village of San Acacio, which a local tradition holds got its name after one of the earliest San Luis Valley settlements, originally called Culebra Abajo, was attacked by a band of Ute in 1853. As the Ute attackers approached, the villagers asked for the intercession of St Acacius, a popular saint among their people. The Ute suddenly halted and fled before they reached the town, scared off by a vision of well-armed warriors defending it. In gratitude for this salvation, the village was renamed San Acacio, and the villagers built a mission church in honor of the saint.