Paul Dudzic named Chief Development Officer for archdiocese

Paul Dudzic visited the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception during a visit to Denver, 18 years ago. Then-Archbishop Charles J. Chaput celebrated Mass, and the service inspired a decision that would change the course of Dudzic’s life—to choose “citizenship” in the Archdiocese of Denver.

Dudzic recently answered another call—to lead the new Office of Development for the Archdiocese of Denver, as chief development officer.

A native of Connecticut, and lifelong Catholic, Dudzic graduated from Connecticut’s Fairfield University, earned his juris doctor from Duke, then an MBA from the University of Chicago. He went on to work for large law and consulting firms.

“I visited Denver, attended Mass at the cathedral, and just fell in love with the archdiocese,” Dudzic said. “I loved everything about it.”

He was so moved by Denver’s Catholic community, he uprooted his life in San Francisco and moved here with his wife, Patricia, only because it felt more Catholic.

“I was getting a little tired of the less-than-traditional environment of San Francisco,” he said.

In Denver, he worked the next 16 years in law, consulting, and as president of the investment firm Pinnacle Development in Greenwood Village.

“I’ve done a lot of development work in and around Denver,” he explained. “I’ve sat on a series of boards here. I’ve worked on the bridge project at the University of Denver, and I chaired the development committee for Denver Botanical Gardens.”

A long list of other roles includes serving as vice chairman of the Augustine Institute, and work with Seeds of Hope – a ministry that helps economically disadvantaged children attend Catholic schools.

Paul and Patricia are parents to Michael, a freshman at Mullen High School; Christopher, a fifth grader at St. Mary’s School in Littleton; and Megan, a junior at Regis Jesuit High School.

“I consider myself a citizen of the archdiocese, and I love to share that passion with others,” he said, explaining why he accepted the job. “I want to share my love of the priests, bishops, seminaries and laity. I think we have the best archdiocese in the country, bar none. It is extraordinary. From Archbishop (James) Stafford, to Archbishop (Charles) Chaput, to Archbishop (Samuel) Aquila, our archdiocese has had leadership that is unwavering from an orthodoxy perspective.

“We have friendly, approachable people leading our church at all levels, and it is highly unusual.”

Invitation to mission

Dudzic feels so impassioned about the archdiocese, and the work it does, he says calling and asking for money will be a pleasure. He has never known of a community with such a generous base of Catholic philanthropists.

“I believe that by asking people for donations, I invite them to participate in the mission of our church,” he said.

The Development Office of the Archdiocese of Denver will coordinate the core services formerly provided by the Catholic Alliance for ministries and institutions of the archdiocese, such as Redemptoris Mater and St. John Vianney seminaries, Catholic Charities, Centro San Juan Diego, Seeds of Hope, Bishop Machebeuf and Holy Family High Schools, and the Prophet Elijah House for retired priests. The office will also assist in growing the annual Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal.

As chief development officer, Dudzic plans to expand funding beyond the traditional base of loyal donors. That will include trying to align people with causes they care most about.

“What work are we doing that aligns with your heart? That’s what we will try to help donors discern,” he said. “I believe that in growing the services provided to many of the poor, homeless and struggling in our community, we can reach a lot of non-Catholic donors more than ever to support our mission. We can share Christ’s vision for taking care of our poor, for taking care of our community in a way that transcends a religious boundary.

“You don’t have to be Catholic to help people sleep at night at the Samaritan House. You don’t have to be Catholic to help put kids in a good Catholic school if the public school is not getting the job done.”

He enjoyed his successful career of law and investing, and looks forward to leveraging those experiences in his new role.

“I’d be a fool to think any of this work is about me,” he said. “I go to work every day knowing it is for Christ, and through him. It makes fundraising a lot easier, when you know it is for God.”

Featured image: Paul Dudzic pictured here with his family. From left: Michael, Paul, Christopher, Megan, Patricia. (Photo provided)

COMING UP: Past 25 years remembered, next 25 anticipated at More Than You Realize conference

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“Be not afraid!”

This was the rallying cry at the Aug. 11 More Than You Realize conference, echoing the very same call St. John Paul II gave exactly 25 years ago when he visited Denver for World Youth Day in 1993.

Over 5,000 faithful from across the Archdiocese of Denver filled the seats of the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland at what was the largest Catholic gathering in Colorado since WYD ’93. The all-day conference was presented in both English and Spanish tracks, featured a dynamic lineup of renowned Catholic speakers, and culminated in a powerful commissioning Mass.

The name More Than You Realize and consequently, the logo resembling an eyechart, stems from the idea that almost everything may appear a certain way at surface level, but upon closer inspection, it can be more than one realizes and seen in a different light. This is especially true when it comes to the Catholic Church.

Over 5,000 gathered at the Budweiser Events Center Aug. 11 for the More Than You Realize conference, which celebrated the last 25 years since World Youth Day in Denver and looked to the next 25. (Photo by Jason Weinrich)

In planning for nearly two years, pastors from each parish of the archdiocese hand-picked those parishioners and members of their community who they wished to attend the conference, which revolved around the idea of discipleship. Through engaging videos and talks given by speakers such as Chris Stefanick, Luis Soto and Dr. Edward Sri, attendees were invited to join a new movement of discipleship within the archdiocese, echoing the one sparked 25 years ago at World Youth Day.

“[I] had a great rejuvenating time at the More Than You Realize Conference,” said Alex Martinez, a parishioner at St. Pius X Parish. “I am excited to see the MTYR movement take shape.”

Brenda Garrett, a parishioner of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception said, “It was an amazing event, so blessed my pastor Father Ron from the Cathedral Basilica sent me. I am so proud to be part of this movement.”

The key to evangelization

Cardinal J. Francis Stafford spoke before Mass began about the impact of World Youth Day 1993 and the challenges the Church faces today.

“What does the summer of ’93 teach us about our present circumstances in 2018?” the cardinal asked. “The Holy Spirit was sent out in a special mission to our Church in 1993. The power of that sending was unexpected and disorienting to me as archbishop and to most others.”

Cardinal J. Francis Stafford speaks during the More Than You Realize conference. (Photo by Jason Weinrich)

But despite urban violence, threats of boycotts, organized protests and other issues prior to World Youth Day 1993, “a fundamental change took place in the Church of Denver,” said Cardinal Stafford, “but not only here — among the young people who came throughout the world, [and] even the Holy Father.

“Above all, our Church was transformed,” he said.

Cardinal Stafford said that to evangelize those who don’t know the Gospel, we first need “…a deep awareness of the delight of the Father taking in each of us as baptized men and women,” he said.

“I would urge you to think deeply and to pray deeply about realizing how delighted God is in you — each of you — because you are received by the Father as being [part of] the body of his Son, who is beloved.”

‘Jesus is much more than you realize’

In his homily given in both English and Spanish, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila also touched on what World Youth Day 1993 means for us today.

“The world likes to tell us many things about ourselves,” he said, “and not many of them today are good or uplifting. Just look at the distorted image of beauty that is prevalent today, let alone the distortions of what it means to be a human person…

“The devil is certainly having a field day in a world that has abandoned God, and even in some members of the Church who have a weak faith in Jesus,” he said.

But despite similar issues taking place in 1993, the pope brought to Denver a message of hope.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrates the commissioning Mass that closed out the conference. (photo by Andrew Wright)

“When St. John Paul II spoke to the youth gathered for the prayer vigil on Saturday night at Cherry Creek State Park, he reminded them that God and a much bigger role for them to play in history,” said Archbishop Aquila.

That message is just as important today, within an archdiocese and Church that stand at a crossroads, the archbishop said.

“We have an opportunity to make a major impact for Jesus Christ, even as the surrounding culture is becoming less Christian.”

The pope opened the doors for those who attended to become greater disciples of Christ — not just directly after World Youth Day, but forever.

“St. John Paul II believed in retrospect that a revolution had taken place in Denver,” said the archbishop. “We, today, are the inheritors of this spiritual revolution, and we must not be afraid to put out into the deep to let our nets down for a catch.

“Jesus is much more than you realize. The Church is more than you realize. And your role in the plan of God is much more than you realize or [can] even imagine,” he said.

“And so, I beg you as your shepherd today to open your hearts to Jesus and speak heart-to-heart with him who loves you most.”

Aaron Lambert, Moira Cullings and Vladimir Mauricio-Perez contributed to this report.