Catholics, the lines are open

Archbishop to host Christmas TeleForum

If you had the opportunity to receive a phone call from your archbishop, would you pick up?

That’s the question the Archdiocese of Denver is asking as it launches a new opportunity for the faithful of northern Colorado to connect with Archbishop Samuel Aquila through live TeleForum events, a product of the locally based corporation Broadnet.

The first TeleForum in an upcoming series with the archbishop will feature a Christmas message, and will take place 7 p.m. Dec. 21. Titled “Enter the Mystery,” the free event will feature specific ways for Catholics to live the season of Christmas more intentionally. The phone call is open to everyone (see below for how to register).

The innovative technology will allow Archbishop Aquila, and potentially other archdiocesan leaders, to listen to and speak with thousands of event participants in real time. Those who connect on the call will have the opportunity to ask questions and leave feedback.

“The phone call gives the archbishop a real-time tool to spread a message to a large number of people in a very personal and human way,” said Karna Swanson, the executive director of communications for the archdiocese. “Additionally, the TeleForum is a way for any Catholic to feel engaged with the Church and it’s an opportunity to ask questions.”

Archbishop Aquila previously used the format in January 2013 to thank donors for their contributions to The New Harvest campaign that supports the archdiocese’s two seminaries. About 5,500 accepted the invitation to join in the call, ask questions and leave feedback to help organizers know “what they care about and why.”

“The Church has to be a community that feels two-way,” Steve Patterson, CEO of Broadnet and a parishioner of St. Mary Parish in Littleton told the Denver Catholic Register Nov. 21 from his Highlands Ranch office. “To build any audience, they have to feel like you understand them.”

Since the “average Catholic” does not have regular access to the archbishop, sometimes even to their own pastor, he said, TeleForum events can provide that access more easily. It allows the Church in northern Colorado another means to be “authentic, accessible and real” and a vehicle to be “really good at listening.”

Broadnet is donating the TeleForum technology to the archdiocese. Since the company’s inception in 2004, they have managed more than 14,000 telephone interactive events. Those calls have involved politicians and world leaders, teams from all major professional sports including the Denver Broncos and a number of faith-based organizations.

“If it’s true the most effective communication strategy is to reach people where they’re at, then at this moment in history it’s essential that the Church make serious efforts to reach people on their phones and mobile devices,” Swanson said.

“The Office of Communications is in the process of doing just that as we develop more tools to communicate the message of the archbishop to Catholics in new and different ways. The TeleForum technology is an exciting first step that fits in perfectly with our overall strategy and vision for communications,” she added.

Regarding the first event, Swanson said to “expect a personal message from the archbishop on his own encounter with Christ, and his desire for everyone in the archdiocese to have that same encounter.”

“The archbishop also wants to thank Catholics of northern Colorado for their dedicated service this year, and encourage them to continue working as intentional disciples of Our Lord, Jesus Christ,” she said. “And he will have the opportunity to personally wish everyone a merry Christmas.”

Swanson added that participants will also have an opportunity to leave the archbishop a Christmas greeting.

All Catholics are invited to sign up for the archbishop’s call by registering online at call will last from 45 minutes to an hour. A recording of it will also be available on the website after Dec. 22.

A live TeleForum event with Archbishop Aquila
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 21
What: Outbound telephone call to Catholics, followed by Q&A and time for feedback
Who: All Catholics are invited
How: For information to sign up, visit 
Questions: Call 303-715-3230 or email

COMING UP: Team Samaritan cyclist goes ‘Everesting’ for the homeless and hungry

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When it comes to the daily sufferings of those who are homeless, there’s nothing like a 29,029-foot bike ride to keep things in perspective.

That’s exactly what Corbin Clement will be doing this Saturday, June 19, with a couple of his riding buddies as they attempt an “Everesting” ride to raise money for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver. Starting at Witter Gulch Road in Evergreen, the three riders will climb Squaw Pass Road to a point in Clear Creek County and ride back down the hill for over eight laps, which amounts to roughly 190 miles in distance and the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing – hence the name “Everesting.” Their goal is to complete the feat in 20 hours or less.

Oh, and they can’t sleep. It is, indeed, just as crazy as it sounds. Those who aren’t avid cyclists might be wondering, “How in the world do you train for something like this?” 
“For training, it’s been just more or less ride as much as possible,” Clement told the Denver Catholic. “The training is structured around endurance, and that’s of course what Everesting is. It’s just a lot of peddling. So, a lot of my training so far has just been trying to ride as much as possible and ride longer high elevation rides.” 

In March, an Irish cyclist set the world record for Everesting when he completed the feat in six hours and 40 minutes. Clement isn’t trying to set a record, but regardless, it’s quite a feat to undertake, even for a seasoned athlete like him, whose pedigree includes snowboarding and rock climbing. 

“Our ride will be the same thing, but it’ll be pretty different,” Clement said. “We don’t have any sort of special bikes or super focused diet or a really regimented plan or a crew that’s very well-instructed on how we’re going to tackle this. I’ve read a couple of things to just kind of make it into a party — have friends come out to support you, get people to join you on certain laps…that’s kind of the approach we’re taking.” 

Clement has already raised $5,200 for Samaritan House, with a current goal of $8,000. This is Clement’s first year riding for Team Samaritan, but his dad, Kevin, has ridden for the team for several years. When his dad offered to give him an extra kit and uniform, Clement accepted, but didn’t want to take it without doing something help the cause. He could’ve simply opted for a nice ride in the countryside, but he chose to do something a bit more challenging.  

Corbin Clement used to experience the challenges that homeless people face on a daily basis when commuting through downtown Denver to work on his bike. This Saturday, he will raise money for Samaritan House homeless shelter by “Everesting,” a 190-mile bike ride that is the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing. (Photo provided)

“For some reason, the Everesting idea popped into my head,” he explained. “I think it’s one of those things that has a little bit of shock value for people who hear about it. It’s certainly something that’s gained more popularity and visibility in the last couple of years with endurance athletes. I wanted to choose something that would actually be a challenge for myself and something that I’d have to work towards.” 

Clement currently resides in Utah, but he used to live in Denver and commute by bike to work every day. During those rides to his office, which was located near Samaritan House, he would pass many homeless people and have conversations with them. This experience was also a motivating factor for his Everesting attempt for Team Samaritan. 

“It’s very different when you’re on a bike versus in a car because you’re right there,” Clement said. “If you stop at a stoplight and a homeless person is on the corner, whether or not they’re panhandling or something like that, you hear the conversations, or you’ll have a conversation with them. There are things you smell or you hear or you see that you just never would if you were in a car. So, it kind of made sense, too, with the biking aspect. It’s part of my community that I’ve lived and worked in for a very long time.” 

Clement’s Everesting attempt is one event in a series of endurance event’s he’s doing over the summer that culminates with the Leadville 100, a single-day mountain bike race across the Colorado Rockies. In that race, he will be riding to support young adults diagnosed with cancer by raising funds for First Descents.  

Both causes are near to Clement’s heart, and he said that while his Everesting attempt will be a form of “suffering,” it pales in comparison to what the homeless face day in and day out. This is ultimately why he’s riding and raising funds for Team Samaritan. 

“Any time we see a homeless person or people who have to live on the streets,” Clement said, “That is true suffering — true endurance — with no end in sight.” 

To learn more about Corbin’s fundraising efforts or to donate, click here.