Join local Catholic nonprofits in #GivingTuesday movement

Denver Catholic Staff

‘Tis the season to do good, but especially on Giving Tuesday.

Americans are more generous than ever, according to a report by Giving USA, especially on Giving Tuesday, an online movement specifically focused on giving to charity on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Giving USA found that U.S. charities saw an estimated $410 billion in donations in 2017, an increase of nearly 5.2 percent from 2016. Giving to religious organizations increased 2.9 percent, with an estimated $127 billion in contributions. And many givers chose #GivingTuesday to share their generosity, giving $274 million last year, according to The Nonprofit Times.

On this special giving day and throughout the holiday season, people volunteer, raise awareness and donate money to charitable organizations of their choice. Such online giving opportunities to Catholic organizations are available right here in Northern Colorado

Giving that does good

“Leaving a gift in support of our Catholic faith is perhaps the easiest way to show your love for our God and His Church – giving back a portion of all He has given us,” said Jean Finegan, director of planned giving and development for The Catholic Foundation of Northern Colorado.

The Catholic Foundation, based in Denver, is a generous giver’s most efficient way to support multiple charities, with its ability to offer various options including appreciated stock, planned gifts, real estate and personal property, retirement plans, insurance policies and more.
Finegan said even if cash is not on hand, there are other avenues to give back in faith.

Making a difference

Giving is as much about the receiver as the giver, and Catholic Charities of Denver offers something for everyone.

Its continuum of care model offers multiple services to those in need. From Marisol Health, a network of medical clinics that provide life-affirming care, to shelter services, which provide short- and long-term housing and supportive services to help individuals and families become self-reliant—givers can see their generosity provide both material and spiritual support.

Catholic Charities offers opportunities to pray, volunteer and donate to all its ministries including Early Childhood Education, Gabriel House Project, Marisol Women’s Services, Shelter Services, Family and Senior Services, St. Raphael Counseling, Archdiocesan Housing and more.

“Charity requires both a person who gives and a person who receives,” said Darren Walsh, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Denver. “Giving Tuesday makes it easy to participate in charitable work with the click of a mouse, and what better way to take part than by supporting the crucial services we provide to so many in our community. We’re grateful to everyone who makes charity possible.”

Volunteers serve lunch at Catholic Charities in Larimer County.

Investing in future generations

“We really want to make it possible for any family that is in need to send their kid to Catholic school if they so desire,” said Jay Clark, executive director of Seeds of Hope. “The face of Northern Colorado is changing, which means where people are in need is changing as well.”

Seeds of Hope, which makes Catholic education accessible to needy students, expanded its mission to provide aid to any of the Archdiocese of Denver’s 37 Catholic schools, beyond the nine urban schools previously served. Giving to the organization would provide more children with a quality Catholic education and bright future.

Daisy, a former Seeds of Hope recipient, spoke at the annual Evening of Hope Gala on how the scholarship from Seeds of Hope helped change her life. (Photo by James Baca)

Givers passionate about Catholic education can continue their support by giving to Bishop Machebeuf High School and Holy Family High School. Both archdiocesan schools offer a faith-based environment and rigorous academics that setup youth for success.

Bishop Machebeuf High School was awarded recognition as a National Catholic Education Honor Roll School by The Cardinal Newman Society.

Holy Family High School first opened in 1922. Today, the school continues it’s mission to provide a Catholic learning environment that stresses academic excellence, fosters mutual respect, demands responsibility, and encourages self-growth.

Building a community

Centro San Juan Diego, the groundbreaking institute that provides faith formation and education services to enrich the lives of Hispanics in Denver, offers givers a chance to build the community.

The growing number of Hispanic individuals and families in the archdiocese presented a need to empower and support their development into faithful and integrated leaders of the community.

Givers can support the organization’s programs including, citizenship and English classes, tax preparation, small business training, computer classes, Bibles studies, youth faith formation, family ministry, lay pastoral minister certification, online bachelor’s degrees and more.
A gift to Centro is an investment in the community.

Monica Chavez, far left, and Norma Moreno and Esteban Palafox made up the first graduating class from Centro San Juan Diego (CSJD). The bachelor’s degree program is made possible through a partnership between CSJD and Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP). (Photo by Nissa LaPoint)

Help to accomplish great things across the Archdiocese

If you want to give to the Catholic Church but aren’t exactly sure which ministry or parish your donation will best support, then consider the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal. Donations to this appeal make an impact across the Archdiocese of Denver by supporting Catholic schools and students, shelter services, seminaries, religious education, centralized operations and resources, and parishes.

As followers of Christ who embodied perfect charity we are called to support the charitable outreach efforts of our Archdiocesan Church.

 Support priestly formation

The Archdiocese of Denver is blessed to have two well-known seminaries that offer future priests exceptional academic and spiritual formation. Combined, there are 128 seminarians in the St. John Vianney and Redemptoris Mater seminaries. Without the ongoing prayerful and financial support, some priestly vocations might be left without spiritual nourishment and guidance. Your gift will certainly be an encouragement and inspiration for the seminarians and future priests. Donations for the seminaries can be made online at sjvrm.org.

The Archdiocese of Denver is blessed to have two nationally-recognized seminaries that offer our future priests exceptional academic and spiritual formation. (Photo by James Baca)

COMING UP: Why stay in the Church?

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There are many people who have either left the Church or are currently considering leaving because of the scandals of recent decades. We have felt pain and righteous anger at our leaders and have suffered scandal from their betrayal. For some, the grand jury reports and lack of accountability for bishops have been the last straw. It’s hard to blame people for feeling this way, but we have to ask with Peter, “to whom, Lord, shall we go?” (John 6:68).

Significantly, this question comes after many disciples walked out on Jesus for his teaching on the Eucharist, and it is the Eucharist that should be at the center of any response to the crisis. Peter answers his own question: “you have the words of everlasting life” (John 6:68). The Church is Jesus’ own body in the world, and we are members of his mystical body, given eternal life by consuming his own flesh at Mass. Without the Eucharist, Jesus’ presence in the flesh, the very heart of the Church, where would we be?

Bishop Robert Barron echoes Peter’s question in a recent pamphlet-style book, with over a million copies in print, Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on the Sexual Abuse Crisis (Word on Fire, 2019). He turns to the Bible and Church history to look for perspective on the crisis. Because of the centrality of the Eucharist in the Church, the betrayal of some of our priests and bishops takes on greater significance. They act in persona Christi at Mass, offering the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross to the Father, and we depend on them for our sacramental life.

Fortunately, the validity of the sacraments does not depend upon the sinlessness of priests, but rather the holiness of God. Barron points out, however, that priests will not get off easy, given the extremely harsh words that Jesus offers to those who lead children astray: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me;  but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,  it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the man by whom the temptation comes!” (Mt 18:7-9). Barron also references the punishment of Eli, in 1 Samuel 2-4, who as priest and judge of Israel watched his own sons, who were also priests, abuse the people. Barron argues that this scene gives us the best example of God’s retribution for allowing abuse to happen and not correcting it.

Barron also looks at the tumultuous story of Church history for context on the current crisis. Although the Church is the mystical body of Christ, he references St. Paul assertion that we bear our treasure in earthen vessels, as evidenced by the human weakness of Christians throughout history. In fact, this weakness manifests the Lord’s grace guiding and preserving the Church in spite of us. Barron quotes Belloc that a proof of the Church’s divine foundation “might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight” (43). Heresies, sinful popes, and sexual perversity have not fundamentally destroyed the Lord’s work, even if they have turned many people away. God has promised to remain with his Church and his providence will guide us especially through dark moments.

The crisis challenges us and raises the question of why we are Catholic. Most of us have been born Catholic and may take our faith for granted as something we’ve inherited from our parents. We may view belonging to the Church like membership in a voluntary organization. Rather, our life as members of Christ’s Body is a gift from God that changes our identity and unites us to God and our fellow Christians. As we experience challenges to faith, it is an opportunity to embrace this identity even more strongly — not as something that depends upon myself or anyone else in the Church, but on God. We go to Church to honor and thank him and to receive his grace, not to be a part of a human organization.

The Church is a family, called together by God, but, like any family, we experience pain from our own and each other’s sinfulness. As family, we can’t give up on each other, but have to “stay and fight” as Barron exhorts us, helping each other to be faithful to the mission that Jesus gave us: to love one another as he has loved us and to share the Good News of his salvation.

Featured Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash