What if Catholics didn’t have to choose between God and mammon?
This tongue-in-cheek question serves as the inspiration behind a Catholic co-working space, coming soon to the Knights of Columbus Hall in downtown Denver. The space, currently being renovated, would be one of few such collectives in the nation; organizers said that the only other they could find was in Cleveland, Ohio.
The idea is a return to an apostolic view of work. “The apostles, like Paul, had businesses. They worked together and they spread the Gospel,” said Mark Thomason, one of the drivers behind the Catholic co-work effort. “Back in the day, during the ‘Irish Need Not Apply’ era, Catholics came together and took care of each other; they worked together, shared leads, and supported each other’s’ businesses. There was a real sense of community. We’re trying to get back to that.”
In fact, the entire vision behind the space is community-building, in an effort to revitalize downtown Denver, the Knights Hall and urban Catholic culture. “Our goal is to build culture, share business, and grow together,” said Thomason. “Those who use the space will have access to other Catholics, to the Church, and to Mass.”
“We’re going to be blatantly Catholic,” said John Coats, one of the other main organizers behind the project. “We’ll set prayer times, pray the Angelus together, go to Mass together. We’re going to live as Catholics should, in a right sense of poverty and simplicity. Really, we need to work in the wounds of Christ.”
While the space might not be the most modern, Thomason and Coats are committed to preserving the history of the Knights of Columbus in this hall — and in Denver at large. All throughout the co-working space, one can find relics of days past: the original Council charter, old Knights regalia, and historical photos. Thomason even made sure to point out the spot where his parents met, at the top of the entrance’s stairs, many years ago.
One of the rooms in the co-working space is even situated behind an iron grate, a holdover from when a Catholic credit union used to occupy the Hall, back when Catholics were generally unable to procure loans.
The building certainly emanates the work, dedication, and prayer of past generations. The two-man team aims to revitalize that very tradition with a new generation of coworkers.
Ahead of their launch, the two-man team is currently looking for people interested in helping them begin this valiant community effort. “Everyone wants community and that’s a lot of work, said Thomason. “We are the Church. We want this co-working space to be for actual co-workers in the vineyard, not simple consumers.”
For more information about the co-working space and to sign up to join in Thomason and Coats’ efforts to revitalize the downtown community, visit denverhall.org/cowork. The first 15 members will be offered a $50 monthly membership!