Cyclists back in the saddle for Samaritan House

Julie Filby

Team Samaritan House hopes to raise $75,000 to support the homeless in northern Colorado by cycling 465 miles in seven days during this summer’s Ride the Rockies tour.

Team Samaritan House, created by Tom Schwein and Tom Dea in support of the men, women and children at the Samaritan House shelter of Catholic Charities, is in its fifth year. It has grown to 19 members who are in the process of seeking individuals and corporations to sponsor their participation in the ride that begins June 13 in Grand Junction and winds through Hotchkiss, Gunnison, Crested Butte, Salida and Cañon City before finishing in Westcliffe June 20.

“When you get on a bike to ride 465 miles to raise money for the poor, every pedal that you push reminds you of a plight much worse than your own,” according to Larry Smith, Charities’ president and CEO and Team Samaritan House member. “It puts you in a position to really appreciate how hard it must be to live as a homeless person, without income, without a place to live.”

Samaritan House provides overnight shelter as well as intensive case management for longer-term residents. It is one of four Charities’ shelters in the archdiocese including the Father Ed Judy House in Denver, The Mission in Fort Collins and Guadalupe Community Center in Greeley.

“It’s humbling for the Team Samaritan House riders to know that while we’re experiencing God’s beauty and creation—albeit from a very sore saddle and aching legs—we’re doing it for people living a life on the streets that many of us can’t comprehend,” Smith said.

During the ride, in its 30th year, participants will visit two natural wonders, Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa; ascend a total of 40,537 feet including Cottonwood and Hardscrabble passes, travel over Royal Gorge Bridge, and navigate the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Each member of Team Samaritan House committed to a minimum of $1,500; with a goal to raising $5,000 each. As of May 8, they had received pledges of more than $14,000. For more information, visit http://ccdenver.org/rtr.

COMING UP: Lebanese priest: ‘We need your prayers’ after Beirut explosions

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A Lebanese Catholic priest has asked believers around the world to pray for the people of his country, after two explosions in Beirut injured hundreds of people and are reported to have left at least 10 people dead.

“We ask your nation to carry Lebanon in its hearts at this difficult stage and we place great trust in you and in your prayers, and that the Lord will protect Lebanon from evil through your prayers,” Fr. Miled el-Skayyem of the Chapel of St. John Paul II in Keserwan, Lebanon, said in a statement to EWTN News Aug. 4.

“We are currently going through a difficult phase in Lebanon, as you can see on TV and on the news,” the priest added.

Raymond Nader, a Maronite Catholic living in Lebanon, echoed the priest’s call.

“I just ask for prayers now from everyone around the world. We badly need prayers,” Nader told CNA Tuesday.

Explosions in the port area of Lebanon’s capital overturned cars, shattered windows, set fires, and damaged buildings across Beirut, a city of more than 350,000, with a metro area of more than 2 million people.

“It was a huge disaster over here and the whole city was almost ruined because of this explosion and they’re saying it’s kind of a combination of elements that made this explosion,” Antoine Tannous, a Lebanese journalist, told CNA Tuesday.

Officials have not yet determined the cause of the explosions, but investigators believe they may have started with a fire in a warehouse that stored explosive materials. Lebanon’s security service warned against speculations of terrorism before investigators could assess the situation.

According to Lebanon’s state-run media, hundreds of injured people have flooded hospital emergency rooms in the city.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has declared that Wednesday will be a national day of mourning. The country is almost evenly divided between Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, and Chrsitians, most of whom are Maronite Catholics. Lebanon also has a small Jewish population, as well as Druze and other religious communities.

Featured image: A picture shows the scene of an explosion near the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)