If you desire to change your life, start with how you give

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By Todd Smith

We offer gifts to commemorate various milestones and personal achievements in the lives of others. Birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations immediately come to mind. Beyond recognition of special events, we also offer gifts to someone who has performed a special kindness or has given us something.

As the end of the year draws near, we instinctively reflect upon the many blessings we have received and consider ways of expressing our gratitude. Of all the gifts we have received, what gift can compare to the Catholic faith we share? The spiritual rewards of this gift will extend beyond our earthly lives and into life eternal. Yet, how do we express our gratitude for the gift of faith?

Mike and Tricia Jansen, parishioners of Our Lady of the Valley in Windsor, recently shared their experiences, joys, and confidence when partnering with The Catholic Foundation. More than 20 years ago, their pastor instilled in them the true meaning and purpose of tithing — stretching beyond what they felt was possible — knowing that when someone gives, God gives back tenfold.

“The Catholic Foundation provides an opportunity through which God’s gifts to us can be channeled where needs exist in the Church today,” the Jansens said. “We are comforted, knowing that our donation will be morally and responsibly invested in conformity with the teachings of the Church.”

The fact that The Catholic Foundation and its assets are a separate legal entity comforts the Jansens, who know their gifts will be safeguarded until the time when they decide to direct them to a needy ministry, parish, or apostolate of their choosing. In addition to potential year-end tax advantages, the Foundation also offers donors the option of contributing before the year’s end and deferring where they would like their donation distributed until next year via a donor advised fund.

“The Foundation team is accommodating, extremely knowledgeable, and eager to grow the faith,” the Jansens said. “Because of their commitment and mutual desire to spread God’s kingdom, we’re grateful to partner with such an amazing organization. They can assist with charitable planning, including investments, such as IRA rollovers, real estate, stocks, or bonds.

“The Catholic Foundation is not meant to be something you just leave in your will, but something you should start early — like a Catholic savings account — knowing you can distribute the assets from your account at any time to advance a specific Catholic ministry, parish or outreach service.”

The act of giving is a tangible and meaningful expression of our gratitude to others and in recognition of others’ achievements. Giving to and through The Catholic Foundation, however, expresses our gratitude for the gift of faith by passing it on to others for years to come, perhaps beyond our lifetimes. That’s what makes the Foundation unique and a blessing to the faithful of the archdiocese. As the Jansens reminded, “We are on this earth only a short time. The Catholic Foundation provides the opportunity to impact our Church, our faith, and our world for many years after our passing.”

Giving to future generations begins with a phone call. To learn more about Catholic-conscious investment opportunities that will give beyond your lifetime, contact The Catholic Foundation at 303.468.9885 or visit them at thecatholicfoundation.com.

COMING UP: Colorado Capuchins celebrate 50th anniversary the same way they serve – humbly

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On May 5, the Colorado Capuchins quietly marked their 50th anniversary of serving in Colorado.

What was intended as a jubilant celebration with Masses from both of Denver’s bishops did not happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of public Masses. However, the friars of the Capuchin Province of St. Conrad celebrated by doing what they do best: humbly serving the people of Colorado.

In the spirit of the present circumstances, however, they also began reaching out to people in a socially-distant way. They began livestreaming a Mass from the St. Francis of Assisi Friary for the faithful to tune into and are creating a series of videos on their rich 50-year history here in Colorado. Additionally, the friars have been posting daily videos of encouragement on their YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/CapuchinFranciscans). The Masses can also be viewed there.

In a blog post published on the Capuchins’ website July 12, Brother Mark Schenk, O.F.M Cap., Provincial Vicar of the St. Conrad Province in Denver, wrote about the mission of the Capuchin Franciscans in Denver over the past 50 years.

“This year our province joyfully commemorates 50 years of Capuchin presence in Colorado,” Brother Schenk wrote. “Pope Pius XI once said of the Capuchins, ‘When help was sorely needed, in places that were abandoned and where no one else would go, there you will find the Capuchins.’

“Over the past 50 years, we have striven to be faithful to that identity, bearing the joy of the Gospel to the marginalized and forgotten. It was need that brought us westward and it was need that inspired our multitude of ministries to the poor, lost, sick, dying and imprisoned of Colorado.”

Fifty years ago, Capuchin Franciscan friars made their way to Colorado to serve the people here, and they have been a vibrant piece of the faith community ever since. (Photos courtesy of the Capuchin Franciscans)

The Capuchins came out west to Kansas in 1878 in response to a request from Bishop Louis Mary Fink of Leavenworth to care for the numerous German-speaking immigrants from Russia’s Volga River who were settling in the area around Hays. In 1970, following the Capuchin charism of going where they are needed, they expanded their ministry to Colorado at the request of Archbishop James Casey, who needed assistance in pulling Annunciation Parish in Denver back together.

On the morning of May 5, 1970, Father Paulinus Karlin and another friar on loan from Puerto Rico left Kansas and drove to Annunciation where a new chapter of Capuchin history began. The Capuchins remain at Annunciation Parish to this day, where they continue to embody the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi in brotherhood, poverty and fierce dedication to the parish and the people in the surrounding neighborhoods.

“Today we continue the ministry of St. Francis of Assisi, bearing the Gospel to peoples and places that are neglected and forgotten,” Brother Schenk wrote. “Whether it be in the poor parishes ministering to immigrant populations, in the hospitals and care centers where our friars kneel in prayer at deathbeds or on the city streets where we offer food and fraternal love to the downcast and destitute, we want to venture where no one else will go.”

In March, the friars began livestreaming Mass from the St. Francis of Assisi Friary in Denver. Fifty years ago, Capuchin Franciscan friars made their way to Colorado to serve the people here, and they have been a vibrant piece of the faith community ever since. (Photos courtesy of the Capuchin Franciscans)

Among the many footprints the Capuchins have laid down in Colorado is the Samaritan House, which is now the largest Catholic homeless shelter in Colorado. Although they are no longer directly involved with its operation, the friars helped to plant the seeds for it through their Samaritan Shelter opened in 1982, and they maintain a constant presence there through a friar who serves as a chaplain.

One of the more innovative ways that the Friars reach out to those in need is through a food truck that the province launched in November 2018. Painted Franciscan brown with colorful artwork depicting local friars engaged in ministry as well as Saints Francis of Assisi and Padre Pio, and Blessed Solanus Casey, the truck includes white text on the back acknowledging partnership with the Routzon Family Foundation, while messaging on the sides identifies it as belonging to the Capuchins and describing their mission as “Messengers of God’s mercy” and “Brothers to those in need.”

Two Sundays a month the truck heads to downtown sites where the homeless gather. There, friars and volunteers hand out sack lunches and beverages. They also give out seasonal items those living on the street may need such as hats, gloves and socks. Resources the poor can avail themselves of such as medical and mental health services are listed on the lunch bags.

“At first the people were hesitant because they saw a food truck and thought they had to pay,” said Capuchin Brother Jude Quinto, recalling the truck’s first run Nov. 25. “But when they saw friars in brown habits running around, then they knew what we were up to and a crowd started forming.”

The friars opened a food truck in November 2018 as a way to help the homeless of Denver have access to free, healthy meals. Fifty years ago, Capuchin Franciscan friars made their way to Colorado to serve the people here, and they have been a vibrant piece of the faith community ever since. (Photos courtesy of the Capuchin Franciscans)

Additionally, in 2011, the friars founded the Julia Greeley guild in honor of Julia Greeley, a former slave and lay Franciscan whose cause for canonization is currently underway. If she is canonized, she would be the first saint declared from Colorado.

Today, pandemic or not, the Capuchin Franciscans of the St. Conrad Province continue to live out their charism of brotherhood and sharing the Gospel with those who need it most/

“We continue to seek out the abandoned places where aid is sorely needed,” Brother Schenk concluded, “working alongside the laity to bear the good news of the Gospel where the need is desperate and few are willing to go.”