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: What parents want most from their child’s school — and how Catholic schools fulfill it

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By Carol Nesbitt

What do parents of school aged kids want most of all from their child’s school?

Safety

Photo by Andrew Wright/Denver Catholic

It’s probably first and foremost to know they’re safe — not only from physical harm, violence, and drugs, but also other negative influences kids have to navigate in today’s complicated and confusing world, including cultural pressures to do what ‘feels good’ instead of what is right, just and moral.

This past year, some news media outlets questioned the safety of students in Denver’s Catholic schools because of sex abuse from decades ago. The reality is that the Church and all of the Archdiocese of Denver’s Catholic Schools have worked diligently to ensure the safety of all students. In fact, many parents say they specifically chose Catholic schools here because they feel their children are safer than the alternatives. But the term “safe” is much broader in today’s society.

“Their physical safety, as well as the safety of their souls, is something that is always on our minds as parents,” said Kelsey Lynch, a parent of two school-aged children. She and her husband, Michael, said that knowing their children were safe in school was one of the main reasons they chose St. Mary’s Catholic School in Greeley.

“St. Mary’s has proven over and over that our children’s safety is on the forefront of their minds,” she said. “They are taking every preventative step possible to keep our children safe from the evils that are so prevalent in our world today. With open communication, facing the hard topics instead of shying away from them, and vetting all people that our kids will come in contact with, we feel a Catholic school is the safest place for our kids to receive an education.”

The safety of their children’s souls is equally as important to mom Kelsie Raddatz and her husband, Justin, who have five children. Their two oldest attend St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in Loveland.

“There is truly no greater lesson to learn than to know that you are so incredibly loved by God and that God is so good. These crucial lessons aren’t allowed to be spoken in public schools,” Kelsie said.

Faith

Photo by Andrew Wright/Denver Catholic

That’s why the Raddatzes make the financial sacrifice to send their kids to St. John’s, with the strong belief that not only will their children be physically safe, but that they will fully understand that their purpose in life is to share Jesus’ love with others through everything they do; whether it be in the classroom or on the playground, speaking to others the way they would speak to Jesus.

“Every single moment is an opportunity to see Jesus present and to serve Him as well,” Kelsie continued. “What a blessed environment for our kids to learn and practice such crucial lessons!”

The Lynches say they can’t do it alone. For their children to become the saints they are called to be, the Lynches know that they need to work in partnership with their school community.

“Our kids’ teachers and classmates get more time with our kids during the week than we do, so it’s important that the people they are surrounded by are also helping them grow into the individuals God created them to be,” Kelsey said. “Our kids are learning what it is really like to have a strong faith family and the importance of a community that stands together in prayer and action to serve each other and the world around them, in both good and trying times.”

Kate McGreevy Crisham and her husband John echo the Lynch’s in their desire to have a strong faith foundation in their children’s education. That’s why they send their kids to St. Vincent de Paul in Denver.

“We are so fortunate in Denver to be able to choose Catholic schools because they are academically excellent AND thoroughly Catholic,” Kate said.

She and her husband wanted their faith to surround their children at home and at school. “We wanted God to be a part — actually the center — of the educational process of drawing out, igniting curiosity, working with challenging concepts and, as important, failing, struggling, and building resilience,” Kate shared. “Catholic schools value that process, encourage it, and love kids through it.”

Character

Photo by Brandon Young

She said she can see Jesus incarnate on a daily basis at St. Vincent de Paul.

“I see Jesus when I see an 8th grade boy stop to high five a group of kindergarteners. When I talk to the teachers of my kids, I see Jesus in their pure interest in what is best for my child — not what I want to hear — yet their words are delivered with professionalism and yes, love.

“From the maintenance staff to the principal, hearts are aligned in the work being done to educate the whole child.”

After exploring various options for preschool for their eldest child, Christy and Scott Kline toured Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, and although there was a free public school across the street, there was no question where they would send their kids. The decision was about so much more than simply educating their child.

“We have a ‘caught caring’ award (at the school) that is multi-faceted,” Christy said “Children are recognized for doing good — not academically — but in ways that benefit society and communities as a whole. Teachers and administration are ‘looking for the good’ in the school and finding it. When you look for something, it stands out.”

She feels that by looking for the best in people, you bring out the best. Kline also believes that strong parental involvement helps keep the school as safe as possible.

“The onus is on all of us to create an open, safe, transparent culture going forward, not just in Catholic organizations, but in all organizations and activities where children are involved,” Christy said.

Academics

Photo by Brandon Young

That same responsibility is on parents to choose schools that will reinforce the values they’re working to teach their children at home. David and Kathy Silverstein have had four children in Catholic schools in Denver over the past 20 years. Although there were many options for schools, including a charter school near their home, once they stepped foot inside St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Longmont, they knew it was the ‘only choice’ for their kids. As their children transitioned into high school, the Silversteins found that Holy Family High School was another perfect fit.

“In today’s world, finding a school that excels at education, sports and extra curriculars is challenging enough, but to find a school, particularly a high school, that prioritizes kindness, morality, personal responsibility, strength of character and just plain old being a good person — that is the uniqueness of Holy Family High School,” said Kathy. “An atmosphere of respect lives within the halls, between teachers, between students. It’s expected.”

For these families and countless others, they have experienced that it is the overall commitment by Catholic schools to keep students safe, to help them truly know they are loved by God, to incorporate faith into every subject area, and to set high expectations for students which reinforces parents’ decision to choose Catholic schools for their kids.

“My greatest desire for my children is for them to know how deeply they are loved by Jesus (and us, too!) and that their whole purpose in this life is to share Jesus’ love with others through every single thing they do,” Kelsie Raddatz said. “The classrooms are such a beautiful example of Jesus’ presence!”