New Malo Heritage Center to be built

Camp St. Malo in Allenspark is one of Colorado’s most famous and beautiful retreat sites. Until 2011, the site boasted three main structures: the St. Catherine of Siena Chapel, completed in 1953 and affectionately referred to as the Chapel on the Rock, the St. Williams Lodge, constructed as the first building on the site in 1921, and the Malo Conference and Retreat Center, developed in the mid-1980s. Camp St. Malo is the third most photographed place in Colorado, and Michael Six, the director of St. Malo, says it’s the beauty of the site which draws people there.

“They stop because it’s beautiful,” he said. “Beauty has drawn them there. Beauty is one of the names of God, so he’s drawn them there. Just by stopping, they’ve responded to his call through beauty.”

However, a fire in 2011 destroyed most of the Malo Conference and Retreat Center, leaving only the Chapel and the lodge standing. Plans to rebuild the Retreat Center on the same site were initiated shortly after the fire, but these plans were thwarted when a treacherous flood in 2013 devastated much of the land and the infrastructure needed to rebuild it. The unpredictable conditions of the land and the possibility of future sediment flows and mudslides led to a decision by the Archdiocese of Denver not to build on the original site and to tear down the remnants of the retreat center that remained standing.

While plans to build a new Catholic retreat center at another location are still in the preliminary stages, the Denver Catholic is pleased to announce that plans to renovate the still-standing St. Williams Lodge at Camp St. Malo and transform it into a beautiful visitor and heritage center are well underway, as are other site improvements.

These renovations are currently slated to begin this winter. Additional plans include cosmetic and functional additions to the chapel, adding more spaces for parking, installation of handicapped-accessible access ramps and transforming St. William’s Lodge into a visitor and heritage center, complete with bathrooms, a gift shop and a museum highlighting the history of Camp St. Malo.

“We want to to tell the story of Camp St. Malo,” Six said.

There are also plans to add a new memorial walk that’s meant to pay homage to the path Pope Saint John Paul II hiked during his visit to Camp St. Malo in 1993. Much of the original path he walked on was destroyed during the floods in 2013.

John Paul II’s visit to Camp St. Malo is but a snippet of the camp’s rich history. Originally intended as a boy’s camp, the site was founded in 1916 and it blossomed into the location it is today. This is merely the next chapter for this renowned mountain haven, and Six hopes the renovations will draw people closer to Christ, or at least begin to spark more conversation.

“Everybody needs to draw closer to Christ, so no matter where you are, this is an opportunity to start asking some deep questions that in daily life, you tend to gloss over,” Six said. “The idea is this is where the New Evangelization happens.”

To make a donation to the renovation efforts, or for more information on Camp St. Malo, visit http://campstmalo.org.

COMING UP: Collegiality and eucharistic integrity

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The concept of the “collegiality” of bishops has been sharply contested since the Second Vatican Council debated it in 1962, 1963, and 1964. That discussion was sufficiently contentious that a personal intervention from Pope Paul VI was required to incorporate the concept of episcopal collegiality within the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church in such a way that the pope’s primacy and universal jurisdiction were safeguarded. The debate about collegiality has continued ever since. Now, however, it’s focused more on what kind of collegiality exists within national conferences of bishops. Is it an “affective collegiality” of mutual support and encouragement? Or is episcopal collegiality within bishops’ conferences “effective,” such that a conference has real teaching and legislative authority?  

Whether collegiality is “affective,” “effective,” or some combination of the two, it ought to be clear what truly “collegial” behavior isn’t.   

It isn’t individual bishops attempting end-runs around their national conference, appealing for Roman interventions that would forestall debates that their brother bishops wish to engage. It isn’t bishops trying to browbeat the conference chairman into changing an agenda to suit the tastes of a distinct minority — and misleading their brother bishops as to what they’re about when soliciting support for such a gambit. And it isn’t trying to filibuster a conference meeting so that no action is possible on an agenda item that the great majority of bishops wish to consider and act upon. 

If any of those three maneuvers qualifies as collegial, then “collegiality” has no more meaning than the claim that my poor Baltimore Orioles have a great starting rotation. 

For years now — and by “years,” I mean long before the idea of a “President Biden” entered the stream of national consciousness — the bishops of the United States have been concerned that ours is becoming less of a eucharistic Church than Vatican II called us to be when it taught that the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of the Church’s life. Pope St. John Paul II reaffirmed that conciliar summons when, in his final encyclical, he taught that “the Church draws her life from the Eucharist,” which “recapitulates the heart and mystery of the Church.” Yet all around us we see declining Sunday Mass attendance: a sadness that preceded the pandemic but has been further exacerbated by it.  Moreover, surveys suggest that too many Catholics think of Sunday Mass as essentially a social occasion, rather than an encounter with the living God in which Christ is offered to the Father and is given back to his people in holy communion — a communion in and through the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ, received under the forms of bread and wine.

If the Church lives from the Eucharist and yet the people of the Church don’t participate in the Eucharist as often as they should, or don’t understand what they’re celebrating and receiving when they do, then the Church suffers from a serious eucharistic deficit. Those ordained to leadership in the Church are obliged to do something about that. 

That is why the U.S. bishops have been determined for some time to undertake a comprehensive program of eucharistic education throughout the Church. For the great majority of bishops, that determination has been intensified by the fact that our eucharistic deficit is being compounded by the eucharistic incoherence of public officials who, rejecting authoritative Catholic teaching based on both revelation and reason, nonetheless present themselves for holy communion as if they were in full communion with the Church. The longstanding episcopal failure to address this incoherence exacerbates the eucharistic deficit in American Catholicism by implying that the Church really doesn’t mean what it teaches about the sacred nature of the Eucharist. 

Those suggesting that this is all about “politics” are either ill-informed or deliberately misleading the Church and the gullible parts of the media. Concern for the eucharistic integrity of the Church includes, but goes much deeper than, concerns about the eucharistic incoherence of Catholic public officials who act as if the Church’s settled convictions on the life issues and on worthiness to receive holy communion don’t exist. That is why the U.S. bishops are forging ahead with developing a teaching document that will clarify for the whole Church why we are a Eucharistic community, what the Eucharist truly is, what reception of the Eucharist means, and why everyone in the Church should examine conscience before receiving Christ in the sacrament. 

The wheels of collegiality may grind slowly. In this case, however, they are grinding truly, and for the sake of the Gospel.

George Weigel is an independent columnist whose weekly column is syndicated by the Archdiocese of Denver. The opinions and viewpoints expressed by Mr. Weigel therein are his alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the Archdiocese of Denver or the bishops of Denver.