Loveland parish capital campaign will accommodate growing community

Moira Cullings

During Dick and Sue Reznik’s time in the military, they found themselves moving frequently and simply passing through Catholic parishes as a result.

It wasn’t until they retired and moved to Loveland six years ago that the couple discovered a sense of home at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.

“We found that in so many ways, St. John really demonstrated the love of Christ and really brought to life the love in the city of Loveland,” said Dick.

“We were blown away that as new retirees, we had an opportunity to really become involved in church life much more so than we were able to do while we were in the military.

“We really found in St. John’s a place to establish our faith roots,” he said.

St. John the Evangelist has been a welcoming community for countless parishioners since it was established in the early 1900s.

Consequently, the current church building, which was constructed in 1969, has undergone the wear and tear that comes with the busy life of a parish.

That’s where the “Blessed Past, Faithful Future” capital campaign comes in.

“This is the next step to be faithful to the gift of faith and the community that we’ve received here in Loveland and will hopefully set us up for the next 50 years,” said pastor Father Steve Adams.

Co-chairmen of the capital campaign are the Rezniks, along with Becky and Lou Gerken, who have belonged to the parish for 40 years.

“We believe this campaign is critical for our parish to flourish and transform the lives of future generations here in Loveland,” said Becky.

“Our hope is to welcome new families and individuals, as well as long-time parishioners, to practice and share their faith more fully,” she said.

St. John the Evangelist plans to build a more accessible fellowship hall, parish office building, rectory and youth room, as well as enlarge its nursery. It will also remodel its meeting rooms and renovate the interior of the church.

The interior renovations are particularly essential for this project, as the parish seeks to “bring it up to the standards of the 21st century,” said Dick, particularly with modern audio-visual equipment.

The co-chairs hope the upgrades will enhance parishioners’ faith experience.

“We want the inside of our sanctuary to reflect the beauty of the liturgy and enable a deep relationship with Christ and the sacraments,” said Lou.

This capital campaign is essential for St. John the Evangelist, particularly because it’s the only Catholic parish in Loveland, where the population is somewhere between 75-80,000.

Because of this, “tradition is really important,” said Father Adams. “This is the only place for Catholic sacraments. It’s the only place for Catholic Eucharist.”

One key aspect of the renovation project is creating a “one-stop location for all of our parish family to access those resources under the church umbrella,” said Dick.

This will make it easier for parishioners to access all the parish has to offer.

“Any big function that the church doesn’t really have a place for typically can go to the Knights Hall, which is a very old structure across the street,” said Sue. “It’s hard in the snow for the elderly to get across the street for any kind of function.”

The new fellowship hall will be attached to the church so parishioners don’t have to walk outside to get there.

“This will allow us to do a whole lot more outreach and evangelization,” said Father Adams, “which is exactly where the Church needs to be right now.”

For the Rezniks, getting involved in some of the ministries the parish has to offer, and particularly this capital campaign, has been a blessing.

“It’s been a really unique opportunity to meet more people that we haven’t met and get involved with something that’s so important for our church,” said Sue.

The Gerkens, whose three daughters grew up at St. John Catholic School and whose six grandchildren currently attend it, are also grateful to be a part of this undertaking.

“We are excited about the current capital campaign and are thankful to those who, years ago, had a vision to pass their faith on to future generations here at St. John’s,” said Lou.

“It is time for us to carry that vision forward.”

Donate

To donate to St. John’s “Blessed Past, Faithful Future” campaign, visit saintjohns.us/campaign.

COMING UP: Five Hispanic-American saints perhaps you didn’t know

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The American continent has had its share of saints in the last five centuries. People will find St. Juan Diego, St. Rose of Lima or St. Martin de Porres among the saints who enjoy greater popular devotion. Yet September, named Hispanic Heritage Month, invites a deeper reflection on the lives of lesser-known saints who have deeply impacted different Latin-American countries through their Catholic faith and work, and whose example has the power to impact people anywhere around the world. Here are just a few perhaps you didn’t know.

St. Toribio de Mogrovejo
1538-1606
Peru

Born in Valladolid, Spain, Toribio was a pious young man and an outstanding law student. As a professor, his great reputation reached the ears of King Philip II, who eventually nominated him for the vacant Archdiocese of Lima, Peru, even though Toribio was not even a priest. The Pope accepted the king’s request despite the future saint’s protests. So, before the formal announcement, he was ordained a priest, and a few months later, a bishop. He walked across his archdiocese evangelizing the natives and is said to have baptized nearly half a million people, including St. Rose of Lima and St. Martin de Porres. He learned the local dialects, produced a trilingual catechism, fought for the rights of the natives, and made evangelization a major theme of his episcopacy. Moreover, he worked devotedly for an archdiocesan reform after realizing that diocesan priests were involved in impurities and scandals. He predicted the date and hour of his death and is buried in the cathedral of Lima, Peru.

St. Mariana of Jesus Paredes
1618-1645
Ecuador

St. Mariana was born in Quito, modern-day Ecuador, and not only became the country’s first saint, but was also declared a national heroine by the Republic of Ecuador. As a little girl, Mariana showed a profound love for God and practiced long hours of prayer and mortification. She tried joining a religious order on two occasions, but various circumstances would not permit it. This led Mariana to realize that God was calling her to holiness in the world. She built a room next to her sister’s house and devoted herself to prayer and penance, living miraculously only off the Eucharist. She was known to possess the gifts of counsel and prophecy. In 1645, earthquakes and epidemics broke out in Quito, and she offered her life and sufferings for their end. They stopped after she made her offering. On the day of her death, a lily is said to have bloomed from the blood that was drawn out and poured in a flowerpot, earning her the title of “The Lily of Quito.”

St. Theresa of Los Andes
1900-1920
Chile

St. Theresa of Jesus of Los Andes was Chile’s first saint and the first Discalced Carmelite to be canonized outside of Europe. Born as Juana, the future saint was known to struggle with her temperament as a child. She was proud, selfish and stubborn. She became deeply attracted to God at the age six, and her extraordinary intelligence allowed her to understand the seriousness of receiving First Communion. Juana changed her life and became a completely different person by the age of 10, practicing mortification and deep prayer. At age 14, she decided to become a Discalced Carmelite and received the name of Theresa of Jesus. Deeply in love with Christ, the young and humble religious told her confessor that Jesus told her she would die soon, something she accepted with joy and faith. Shortly thereafter, Theresa contracted typhus and died at the age of 19. Although she was 6 months short of finishing her novitiate, she was able to profess vows “in danger of death.” Around 100,000 pilgrims visit her shrine in Los Andes annually.

St. Laura Montoya
1874-1949
Colombia

After Laura’s father died in war when she was only a child, she was forced to live with different family members in a state of poverty. This reality kept her from receiving formal education during her childhood. What no one expected is that one day she would become Colombia’s first saint. Her aunt enrolled her in a school at the age of 16, so she would become a teacher and make a living for herself. She learned quickly and became a great writer, educator and leader. She was a pious woman and wished to devote herself to the evangelization of the natives. As she prepared to write Pope Pius X for help, she received the pope’s new Encyclical Lacrymabili Statu, on the deplorable condition of Indians in America. Laura saw it as a confirmation from God and founded the Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart and St. Catherine of Siena, working for the evangelization of natives and fighting or their behalf to be seen as children of God.

St. Manuel Morales
1898-1926
Mexico

Manuel was a layman and one of many martyrs from Mexico’s Cristero War in the 1920s. He joined the seminary as a teen but had to abandon this dream in order to support his family financially. He became a baker, married and had three children. This change, however, did not prevent him from bearing witness to the faith publicly. He became the president of the National League for the Defense of Religious Liberty, which was being threatened by the administration of President Plutarco Elías Calles. Morales and two other leaders from the organization were taken prisoners as they discussed how to free a friend priest from imprisonment through legal means. They were beaten, tortured and then killed for not renouncing to their faith. Before the firing squad, the priest begged the soldiers to forgive Morales because he had a family. Morales responded, “I am dying for God, and God will take care of my children.” His last words were, “Long live Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe!”