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: Seeking justice, transparency and accountability, archdiocese voluntarily enters agreement with Colorado attorney general

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Seeking justice, transparency and accountability, archdiocese voluntarily enters agreement with Colorado attorney general

Initiatives include independent investigation and independent reparations program

Mark Haas

With a desire to “shine the bright light of transparency” on the tragedy of sexual abuse of minors within the Church, Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila has announced that the three Colorado dioceses have voluntarily partnered with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser to conduct an independent review of the dioceses’ files and policies related to the sexual abuse of children.

In a joint news conference on February 19 at the attorney general’s office, it was also announced that the three dioceses will voluntarily fund an independent reparations program for survivors of such abuse.

“The damage inflicted upon young people and their families by sexual abuse, especially when it’s committed by a trusted person like a priest, is profound,” said Archbishop Aquila. “While this process will certainly include painful moments and cannot ever fully restore what was lost, we pray that it will at least begin the healing process.”

It is well known that child sexual abuse is a societal problem that demands attention and action,” said Weiser. “I am pleased the Church has recognized the need for transparency and reparations for victims.”

Discussions for these two initiatives began last year with former Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, and then finalized recently with Weiser. Both Coffman and Weiser praised the dioceses’ willingness to address this issue.

“It is well known that child sexual abuse is a societal problem that demands attention and action,” said Weiser. “I am pleased the Church has recognized the need for transparency and reparations for victims.”

Coffman added: “Childhood sexual abuse is not specific to one institution or to the Catholic Church. The spotlight is on the Catholic Church, but this abuse is indicative of what has happened in other institutions. We want to shine a light on what has happened.

“[The dioceses] demonstrated their commitment to acknowledging past abuse by priests and moving forward with honesty and accountability.”

The independent file review will be handled by Robert Toyer, a former U.S. Attorney for Colorado. His final report is expected to be released in the fall of 2019 and will include a list of diocesan priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors, along with a review of the dioceses’ handling of the allegations. The report will also include an evaluation of the dioceses’ current policies and procedures, something that was not included in other states’ reviews, such as the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report.

“We in Colorado have found our own way in the wake of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report,” said Weiser. “We have a set of dioceses here who came to the table to develop appropriate solutions that are collaborative, committed to transparency and put victims first.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, alongside Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, speaks during a press conference announcing a comprehensive joint agreement with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office to conduct an independent review of the dioceses’ files and policies related to the sexual abuse of children at the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center on February 19, 2019, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/Archdiocese of Denver)

“This is not a criminal investigation. This is an independent inquiry with the full cooperation of the Catholic Church,” said Weiser.

Since 1991, the Archdiocese of Denver has had a policy of mandatory reporting of all allegations to local authorities. The procedures were further strengthened by the 2002 Dallas Charter to include comprehensive background checks, zero-tolerance policies, safe environment training, and training for children as well.

“This independent file review presents an opportunity for an honest and fair evaluation of the Church in Colorado’s historical handling of the sexual abuse of minors by priests,” said Archbishop Aquila.  “We are confident in the steps we have taken to address this issue and that there are no priests in active ministry currently under investigation.”

We have a set of dioceses here who came to the table to develop appropriate solutions that are collaborative, committed to transparency and put victims first.”

The independent reparations program will be run by two nationally recognized claims administration experts, Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, who will review individual cases and make financial awards to victims who elect to participate. The victims are free to accept or reject the award, but the Colorado dioceses are bound by what the administrators decide.

The program will have oversight provided by an independent committee chaired by former U.S. Senator Hank Brown. More details will be announced in the coming months, and the program will officially open closer to the release of the final report.

This is similar to a program instituted by former Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput in 2006. Archbishop Aquila said it is important for local Catholics to know the program will be funded by archdiocesan reserves, with no money being taken from ministries or charities at parishes, annual diocesan appeals, or Catholic Charities.

“With humility and repentance, we hope the programs announced today offer a path to healing for survivors and their families,” Archbishop Aquila said.

And acknowledging how painful this has been for everyone in the Church, Archbishop Aquila said he hopes this is step towards restoring confidence among the faithful.

“Helping people to restore their trust, to live their faith, that is essential,” said Archbishop Aquila. “And to help them have a deeper encounter with Jesus Christ, so that is my goal in all of this. I know that healing is possible in Jesus Christ.”

For a copy of the full agreement and a detailed FAQ, visit archden.org/promise.