Opportunities abound at Mary’s Homes of Hope

Moira Cullings

For about 20 years, Lynn Reid helped provide maternity homes for women in need. As fulfilling as the work was, she noticed that something was absent.

“One of the pieces that we really found missing is the place that the women ended up was government housing,” said Reid. “That pushed them back into a dependent lifestyle and, most of all, God was absent.”

Reid decided to branch out and create a new opportunity for women and families — one that would offer them a permanent home.

Mary’s Homes of Hope opened its first home in Arvada on June 1. It currently offers single women, women who are pregnant, and women with born children a Christ-centered home and opportunities for stable success in the world.

Lynn Reid started Mary’s Homes of Hope to offer women opportunities for long-term stability.

Mary’s Homes operates with spiritual assistance from the Capuchin Franciscans here in Denver. Priests from the order are able to say Mass at the house, which will soon have its open chapel with the ability to host the Blessed Sacrament.

The home is designed for women who have experienced homelessness, among other struggles.

“Right now, there are so many of our brothers and sisters on the streets that have jobs, that want to get their lives together and are trying hard, but they don’t have a permanent place to live,” said Reid.

“This has been a calling and a prayer for a long time.”

Women who stay at Mary’s Homes have the chance to participate in Bible studies, faith classes and workshops hosted by local professionals.

When a woman moves into the home, she has the opportunity to learn from workshops offered by professionals, participate in Bible studies and faith classes, and budget her income while paying a small rent based on her earnings and bills.

Compared to a maternity home or temporary housing, Mary’s Homes of Hope allows women to stay as long as they need — sometimes, Reid and her team of volunteers imagine, that will mean for life.

Currently, one woman lives in the house along with Reid, and other spots are available. To qualify, the women need to have a job and undergo a criminal and a credit background check.

Reid prays that someday Mary’s Homes of hope will open up more houses, and that they will be able to serve husbands as well.

This has been a calling and a prayer for a long time.”

And from the way everything fell into place when the first house was opening, that dream doesn’t seem far off.

“We began researching, and a Catholic family came forward, purchased the [current] home and now leases it back to us,” said Reid.

Mary’s Homes of Hope offers women a Christ-centered place to live.

Following that, the woman selling the house — who happened to be Catholic — invited Reid to a garage sale, where she planned to sell much of her furniture and house décor.

“As we looked around,” said Reid, “I finally said to her, ‘Would you do me a favor? Would you pray and see what you would want for everything?’ She said, ‘Sure.’ The next day she called, and she practically gave everything to us.

“This was God at work,” said Reid.

Reid looks forward to housing more women in need, and her hope for them is simple: “That they know how much God loves them.”

For more information, call Mary’s Homes at (303) 424-9007.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Mary’s Homes of Hope as a ministry of the Capuchin Franciscans. Mary’s Homes operates independently with assistance from the Capuchins for Mass and pastoral support. We apologize for the error.

COMING UP: Meeting Christ in the Mass and sacraments

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As Catholics, we recognize Jesus’ Eucharistic presence to be the source and summit of our faith. Nonetheless, we can take His presence at Mass and in the tabernacle for granted. We pray through our liturgical rituals, but our words and gestures can lack meaning when we simply go through the motions. When we use the beautiful ritual of the Mass and sacraments to guide our prayer, however, they can lead us into a deeper encounter with Christ.

Two recent books can help us to understand the Mass and sacraments better and to approach them with fresh eyes: Christopher Carstens’ A Devotional Journey into the Mass: How the Mass Can Become a Time of Grace, Nourishment, and Devotion (Sophia, 2017) and Msgr. Nicola Bux’s No Trifling Matter: Taking the Sacraments Seriously Again (Angelico, 2018).

Carstens takes us on a “devotional journey into the Mass” to approach it in “a more profoundly spiritual way” (29).   He writes with a broad sacramental vision which embraces not only the Mass but also the symbols surrounding it. A great example of this comes from the first chapter, “how to enter a church building,” which reflects upon how to approach the physical building of the church itself. “So the door to the parish church, which stands before us now — is no ordinary entrance. It appears different because it is different: it is a mark of God’s house and a sign protecting those within, as at that first Passover. It is an entrance into the Great King’s city and His Temple . . . where we touch God, as in Jerusalem” (13-14). Carstens uses a “sacramental principle” to help us recognize “how God communicates with us through sensible signs” (9).

This devotional journey takes the reader through the stages of the Mass to perceive the deeper reality that we access through faith. In order to reap the fruit that God wants to give us at Mass, Carstens teaches us that “proper disposition . . . is paramount” (88). Through all of the outward actions, signs, and rituals, God aims at “something deeper:  . . . the heart of man. . . . the undivided love of man” (60; 61). For this reason, in the need for intimacy with God, “silence is an essential ingredient for both individual and corporate prayer” (35). The participation and prayers we offer at Mass should foster our relationship with God. The “conversation should take the form of prayer — a prayer of surrender” (92). Taking a devotional journey through the Mass, with Carstens’ help, should prepare us to enter into this conversation of surrender more fully each week.

Msgr. Bux, an Italian priest and professor, takes us deeper into the sometimes-forgotten history, theology, and liturgy surrounding the Mass and the sacraments. He walks us through each of the sacraments, building upon the teachings of the saints (especially St. Ambrose and Padre Pio), but also the difficulty of experiencing the spiritual reality of the sacraments in the modern world. He also leads us deeper into the Mass, “the greatest and most complete act of adoration,” noting the “interdependence between the Eucharist and the other sacraments: . . . they flow forth from the Eucharist and flow together into it as to their source” (86). The centrality of the Eucharist comes from the fact that through it we enter the heart of God.

The other sacraments reinforce this contact, as “we touch Christ” through them. This entry into the divine life begins at baptism and deepens in confirmation. Bux supports restored order confirmation, speaking of the need for strengthening and equipping for battle at an earlier age, rather than giving into the flight that usually occurs after it is received in the teenage years. When it comes to confession, Bux speaks of how “Christ pardons everyone who recognizes himself to be a sinner,” though the sacrament aims at “sincere, overwhelming interior repentance that brings the soul to be reconciled with the Creator” (103; 104). He also speaks beautifully of how through the sacrament of marriage, “spouses participate in the power of [Christ’s] love” in their love for each other. “Their love, responsible fecundity, and humility, their attitude of mutual service and their mutual fidelity, are signs of Christ’s love, present in them and in the Church” (166).

Both authors teach how to appreciate and enter into the Mass and sacraments more fruitfully, so that, in Bux’s words, we can experience “a prolongation of the liturgical life of the Church” in our own lives (196).