Joyful recipients, cheerful givers: End-of-year giving in the Archdiocese

The end of the year is a time to celebrate with gratitude not only the first coming of our Lord and our hope for his second coming, but also the many material and spiritual graces we have received during the year. And the sign of a joyful recipient is a cheerful giver, as we desire to reciprocate our gratitude toward God by helping others in need when we realize how much we have received from him. Below is a list of all the ministries that fall directly under the umbrella of the Archdiocese of Denver. Giving to any of these organizations will make a direct impact in the charitable and evangelizing efforts of the archdiocese as it reaches out to the poor and builds up the kingdom of God.

Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal

Benefiting nearly 40 ministries, the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal is one of the best ways to support the outreach efforts of the Archdiocese of Denver. Donations from the faithful allow these ministries to focus on what they were created to do: minister to people and lead them closer to Christ. Visit archden.org/donate.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of Denver is the archdiocese’s “charitable arm,” which seeks to extend the healing ministry of Jesus by helping the poor and those in need. For more information visit ccdenver.org/ways-to-give.

Annual Seminaries’ Appeal

The St. John Vianney and Redemptoris Mater Seminaries of the Archdiocese of Denver are nationally-recognized for their exceptional academic and spiritual formation. Currently, 128 seminarians would benefit from this much-needed support, which helps provide funding for academic programs, food and housing, seminarian health insurance and more. Visit sjvdenver.edu/support-sjv-today.

Seeds of Hope

Seeking to cultivate minds and hearts for Christ, Seeds of Hope strives to make Catholic education accessible to families who desire it. By providing scholarships, the organization gives families the opportunity to provide for their children a Catholic education where spiritual, mental, academic and physical formation is provided. Visit seedsofhopedenver.org/donate.

Centro San Juan Diego

A nationally-recognized organization that provides services to members of the Spanish-speaking community in the Archdiocese of Denver, Centro San Juan Diego helps form tomorrow’s Hispanic leaders. In partnership with the Office of Hispanic Ministries of the archdiocese, it hosts numerous faith-based courses and programs. Visit centrosanjuandiego.org/donate.

Bishop Machebeuf High School

Named after the first bishop of Colorado, Bishop Machebeuf High School has been recognized as a Top 50 Catholic High School by the Cardinal Newman Society in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012, based on its strength in academic excellence, civic education and Catholic identity. Visit machebeuf.org/donate.

Holy Family High School

Holy Family High School was founded in 1922 and “seeks to provide a Catholic learning environment that stresses academic excellence, fosters mutual respect, demands responsibility and encourages self-growth,” based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Visit holyfamilyhs.com/donate.

Prophet Elijah House

This new retirement center for priests is located on the St. John Paul II Center campus of the Archdiocese of Denver and is set to open in early 2019. Consider giving to this center, which will enable those priests who have dedicated their lives to the spiritual nurturing of the faithful by providing the sacraments to live in fraternal community. Visit elijahdenver.org/support-our-priests.

Annunciation Heights

Annunciation Heights is the archdiocese’s new Catholic youth and family camp and retreat center located just south of Estes Park. Displaying the beauty of God’s creation, Annunciation Heights is a place where people can “withdraw from a hectic and busy culture and come to know and experience a true friendship with Jesus.” Visit annunciationheights.org/get-involved.

Catholic Biblical School

The Biblical and Catechetical Schools under the Lay Division of St. John Vianney Seminary are helping form a new generation of missionary disciples in Denver. Through the St. John Paul II Scholarship Fund, the Lay Division grants around $150,000 yearly in scholarships to nearly half of its student population. Visit sjvlaydivision.org/donate.

COMING UP: Catholic Baby University prepares parents for the real deal

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Heidi and Jim Knous had no idea that something like a Catholic childbirth education existed. But not long after finding out the great news that they were expecting their first child, Brady, they came across an article in the Denver Catholic introducing Catholic Baby University — a program designed to teach expecting parents the nuts and bolts of both childbirth and Catholicism.

“I think it’s special because it gives you an opportunity to step back from all the registries and baby shower… and to really take time to come together as a couple to think about this vocation, what parenthood is … and how you want that to look for your family,” Heidi said.

“I think there’s a lot of distractions when you’re about to have a child,” Jim added. “Everybody knows it’s going to be tough and you’re going through a lot. Everybody’s trying to tell you, ‘You should do this, you should do that.’ But Catholic Baby U really gives you a solid understanding of what having a child is going to be like and includes the values that we learned as a family in raising a baby in the Catholic faith.”

Jim and Heidi Knous and their son Brady, are parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Denver. (Photo provided)

 

The Catholic Baby University holistic program for parents — offered both as a weekend retreat or a six-class series — is the result of the partnership between Rose Medical Center and the Archdiocese of Denver and was inspired by the previously-founded Jewish Baby University.

The classes touch on topics dealing with childbirth instruction, postpartum experience, baby safety and the Catholic faith — and they are taught and facilitated by certified birth and safety instructors, mental health professionals, and members from the Office of Evangelization and Family Ministry of the Archdiocese of Denver.

“Statistically, people become more religiously involved when they have children, so we want to respond to people’s desires to reengage their faith with the coming of their child,” said Scott Elmer, Director of the Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries of the Archdiocese of Denver and also a facilitator of the program, in a previous interview. “We want to be there to welcome them, celebrate the new life, and give them the tools they need to incorporate God into their home life.”

For Jim and Heidi, who are parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, the experience of having both the childbirth and Catholic aspects in this preparation did not disappoint, as they learned from each one.

“It was a great opportunity to come back and think about things from a basic level again and how to bring our child into the faith — things that you haven’t necessarily thought of or how you would teach a child something, [like praying],” Heidi said.

“Something we learned [that really made me reflect] was that the bond between me and Brady and between Heidi and Brady are very different. It happens at very different times,” Jim shared. “Right away when Heidi finds out she’s pregnant, then her bonding with Brady already starts all the way until Brady’s born. As a dad, it doesn’t start until he is born and I’m actually holding him.”

Heidi assured the concept of “gatekeeping” also helped them prepare for parenting better.

“[Gatekeeping] is when, as a mom, you get really wrapped up in, ‘Only I know how to change baby diapers, only I know how to feed the baby, only I know how to do this,’” Heidi explained. “And I am someone who I could’ve seen thinking that I could be the only person that knew how to take care of [my child]. But gaining that understanding helped us co-parent a lot easier from the very beginning because I was aware of it.”

“I would tell [expecting couples] that Catholic Baby University is a great place to start, to gain community, to meet other people that are in a similar place that you are in; having people in the same room who are just as excited, just as terrified who also want to learn,” Heidi concluded. “It’s just a really awesome opportunity to take advantage of.”