Deacon Jim Wall remembered for pro-life service and devotion

Archdiocese of Denver

Deacon Jim Wall passed away in the early hours of the morning August 31.  He had just turned 87 years old.  His diaconal ministry took him to Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Wheatridge, CO and St. Bernadette Parish in Lakewood, CO.

James Robert Wall was born on August 9, 1933 to Lusius and Theresa Wall in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Two weeks later, he was baptized at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Sioux Falls.  His mother and father were very devout, “Irish-Catholics,” attending daily Mass and routinely inviting priests and religious to the house for dinner and fun.  He went to Catholic school at the Cathedral where he was baptized, until they moved to Denver.  In Denver,  Jim went to Regis Jesuit High School.  Still, it was his parents who were his primary examples of holiness and devotion.  Ingrained in his memory, he remembered his mother coming out of daily Mass and speaking with the homeless, handing them food and rosaries. He also recalled peeking in his parent’s bedroom and seeing his father kneeling down to pray before retiring for the night.

After graduating from high school, he went to Regis University and finished at New York University, where he received a degree in History. He then volunteered for the draft and entered the Army.  After getting out of the Army, three years later, he began working in banks in New York City.

As he made trips back to Denver to see his parents, he met Harriet (Joey) Fish, whom he claims was the biggest influence in his life.  He and Joey were married at Christ the King Parish in Denver on September 5, 1960.  The couple’s 60 years of marriage included the blessings of six children, Brenda, Katie, James, Cecilia, Eileen, Mary; 18 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

In 1965, the family moved back to Denver and Wall started working as a financial broker.  Eventually, he would start his own company, known as Wall and Company.  Soon after his return to Denver, his father passed away.  His father’s death caused Jim to reflect on the strength of his parents and his wife’s faith which ignited a passion to get very serious over building a strong relationship with God.  His quest took him back to Mass and the Sacraments.  He also became a member of the School Board at St. Fatima Parish, joined the Knights of Columbus, and volunteered with the Teens Encounter Christ and Pro-Life Programs.

According to Wall, it was the Holy Spirit and Our Blessed Lady that led him to the diaconate.  On June 6, 1996, Archbishop Francis Stafford ordained Deacon Wall at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.  He was immediately assigned to Sts. Peter and Paul in Wheatridge, Colorado and then later assigned to St. Bernadette’s Parish in Lakewood, Colorado.  He formally retired from ministry on December 1, 2011 but continued to minister as his health allowed.  During his ministry, he was the first Deacon to receive the Legatus Pro-life award for his efforts in helping raise awareness of the plight of the unborn.  He also was very involved with the Deacon Formation program, Operation Rescue and the Legions of Mary.

“My mind always goes to Deacon Jim when I think about the pro-life activities of the Diaconate,” stated Deacon Joseph Donohoe, Director of Deacon Personnel. “But my heart rejoices in knowing that the unborn have a deacon advocate, more powerful than before, that intercedes at the throne of Our Lord.  He will be missed by his brother deacons.”

A Vigil Service for Deacon Wall was held at St. Fatima Parish on September 8.  The Mass for Christian Burial was held on September 9at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception with Bishop Jorge Rodriquez presiding.  The interment was conducted at Mount Olivet after the funeral Mass.  Deacon Wall had requested that, in lieu of flowers, all donations be sent to: Catholic Charities – Respect Life Ministry, Attn: Accounting Dept., 6240 Smith Road, Denver, CO 80216

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.

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.

– 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.