Deacon Steve Hinkle remembered by his care for those in need

Denver Catholic Staff

Deacon Steven Hinkle passed away on May 18.  He was 65 years old.  He ministered at Spirit of Christ Catholic Church in Arvada.

Deacon Steven Douglas Hinkle was born to Clyde and Esther Hinkle in Hugoton, Kansas on March 6, 1953.  As a convert to Catholicism, Deacon Hinkle was baptized at Spirit of Christ Parish on the April 18, 1992 by Msgr. Ken Leone.

The youngest of five children, Hinkle and his family moved to Denver when he was six years old.  His brothers had joined the Air Force, which left him and his sister in the home with their mom.  He attended Alameda High School and graduated in 1971.  After spending time at Red Rocks Community College, he decided to start a business of his own in the construction industry in 1986.

While in high school, he met “his high school sweetheart,” Terri.  After nine years, Hinkle asked Terri to marry him in 1979.  They were married on September 21, 1979 at Mother Cabrini Shrine by Father Bert Chilson. Their marriage was blessed with two wonderful daughters, Ashley and Lindsay and three grandchildren.

Hinkle was reluctant to join the Catholic Church, but with the prayers and urging of Terri and the children, he finally answered the calling of the Holy Spirit, “with tears in his eyes.”  At the 1992 Easter Vigil, he joined his family in the Catholic Church and received the Sacraments of Initiation.  At the parish, Hinkle was on various committees and was an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.  Answering a persistent call from the Holy Spirit to serve others, he applied for deacon formation in 2006.

Deacon Hinkle was ordained a deacon on June 25, 2011 by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and was immediately assigned to Spirit of Christ Catholic Parish, where he remained throughout his ministry.  He assisted with prison ministry and would make mission trips to help those in need of housing.  He also assisted parishioners as an advocate for annulments and loved working with the elderly.

“Deacon Steve was a wonderful minister with a simple task — take care of those in need.  His ministry was blessed with beautiful accomplishments that give beauty to the characteristics of a deacon,” said Deacon Joseph Donohoe, Director of Deacon Personnel for the archdiocese. “He knew how to draw in those that were in need and take care of them.  What a beautiful example he gave to his brother deacons and the community.”

COMING UP: Past 25 years remembered, next 25 anticipated at More Than You Realize conference

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“Be not afraid!”

This was the rallying cry at the Aug. 11 More Than You Realize conference, echoing the very same call St. John Paul II gave exactly 25 years ago when he visited Denver for World Youth Day in 1993.

Over 5,000 faithful from across the Archdiocese of Denver filled the seats of the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland at what was the largest Catholic gathering in Colorado since WYD ’93. The all-day conference was presented in both English and Spanish tracks, featured a dynamic lineup of renowned Catholic speakers, and culminated in a powerful commissioning Mass.

The name More Than You Realize and consequently, the logo resembling an eyechart, stems from the idea that almost everything may appear a certain way at surface level, but upon closer inspection, it can be more than one realizes and seen in a different light. This is especially true when it comes to the Catholic Church.

Over 5,000 gathered at the Budweiser Events Center Aug. 11 for the More Than You Realize conference, which celebrated the last 25 years since World Youth Day in Denver and looked to the next 25. (Photo by Jason Weinrich)

In planning for nearly two years, pastors from each parish of the archdiocese hand-picked those parishioners and members of their community who they wished to attend the conference, which revolved around the idea of discipleship. Through engaging videos and talks given by speakers such as Chris Stefanick, Luis Soto and Dr. Edward Sri, attendees were invited to join a new movement of discipleship within the archdiocese, echoing the one sparked 25 years ago at World Youth Day.

“[I] had a great rejuvenating time at the More Than You Realize Conference,” said Alex Martinez, a parishioner at St. Pius X Parish. “I am excited to see the MTYR movement take shape.”

Brenda Garrett, a parishioner of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception said, “It was an amazing event, so blessed my pastor Father Ron from the Cathedral Basilica sent me. I am so proud to be part of this movement.”

The key to evangelization

Cardinal J. Francis Stafford spoke before Mass began about the impact of World Youth Day 1993 and the challenges the Church faces today.

“What does the summer of ’93 teach us about our present circumstances in 2018?” the cardinal asked. “The Holy Spirit was sent out in a special mission to our Church in 1993. The power of that sending was unexpected and disorienting to me as archbishop and to most others.”

Cardinal J. Francis Stafford speaks during the More Than You Realize conference. (Photo by Jason Weinrich)

But despite urban violence, threats of boycotts, organized protests and other issues prior to World Youth Day 1993, “a fundamental change took place in the Church of Denver,” said Cardinal Stafford, “but not only here — among the young people who came throughout the world, [and] even the Holy Father.

“Above all, our Church was transformed,” he said.

Cardinal Stafford said that to evangelize those who don’t know the Gospel, we first need “…a deep awareness of the delight of the Father taking in each of us as baptized men and women,” he said.

“I would urge you to think deeply and to pray deeply about realizing how delighted God is in you — each of you — because you are received by the Father as being [part of] the body of his Son, who is beloved.”

‘Jesus is much more than you realize’

In his homily given in both English and Spanish, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila also touched on what World Youth Day 1993 means for us today.

“The world likes to tell us many things about ourselves,” he said, “and not many of them today are good or uplifting. Just look at the distorted image of beauty that is prevalent today, let alone the distortions of what it means to be a human person…

“The devil is certainly having a field day in a world that has abandoned God, and even in some members of the Church who have a weak faith in Jesus,” he said.

But despite similar issues taking place in 1993, the pope brought to Denver a message of hope.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrates the commissioning Mass that closed out the conference. (photo by Andrew Wright)

“When St. John Paul II spoke to the youth gathered for the prayer vigil on Saturday night at Cherry Creek State Park, he reminded them that God and a much bigger role for them to play in history,” said Archbishop Aquila.

That message is just as important today, within an archdiocese and Church that stand at a crossroads, the archbishop said.

“We have an opportunity to make a major impact for Jesus Christ, even as the surrounding culture is becoming less Christian.”

The pope opened the doors for those who attended to become greater disciples of Christ — not just directly after World Youth Day, but forever.

“St. John Paul II believed in retrospect that a revolution had taken place in Denver,” said the archbishop. “We, today, are the inheritors of this spiritual revolution, and we must not be afraid to put out into the deep to let our nets down for a catch.

“Jesus is much more than you realize. The Church is more than you realize. And your role in the plan of God is much more than you realize or [can] even imagine,” he said.

“And so, I beg you as your shepherd today to open your hearts to Jesus and speak heart-to-heart with him who loves you most.”

Aaron Lambert, Moira Cullings and Vladimir Mauricio-Perez contributed to this report.