Pope Francis will have a piece of Colorado with him when he celebrates Mass and feeds his flock with the precious body and blood of Christ.
After a chance connection, a Colorado man seized the opportunity to send silver extracted from the mine “In God We Trust” to a silversmith in Argentina charged with crafting the pope’s new liturgical vessels.
The whole idea was inspired by the Holy Spirit, said Zachary Urban, parishioner of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Wheat Ridge.
“It all kind of fell together,” Urban said. “It is definitely a rare opportunity to be a part of this.”
Urban shipped 3 ounces of silver extracted from the gold in a mine in Alma, Colo., to Adrian Tallarols in Buenos Aires during Holy Week. The silver will be used to craft one of several vessels needed during Mass, including a chalice.
The holy vessels will then be presented to the pope in Rome.
“We wanted to make this happen as a gift on behalf of our parish and the citizens of Colorado to give something from Colorado to be used by the pope,” Urban said.
Before the silver was sent, Father Jason Thuerauf of Sts. Peter and Paul blessed it with holy water.
The opportunity first arose after Urban remembered his connection to Tallarols, a seventh-generation silversmith. It was on his honeymoon in Argentina that 34-year-old Urban and his wife, Melinda, were shopping in the city and decided to look at the handiwork inside the silversmith’s store. They purchased an item and discovered Tallarols had made vessels for Pope Emeritus Benedict.
“He has a picture of him at the time presenting the chalice to Pope Benedict,” Urban said.
After their honeymoon, Urban stayed in touch with the silversmith through email and Facebook messages.
On the day of Pope Francis’ selection as the new leader of the 2,000-year-old Church, Urban thought of his Argentine friend.
“When he was elected that day it clicked that the pope is from Argentina and my friend is from Argentina,” he recalled.
The next day, Urban sent a Facebook message to Tallarols asking if he was going to make new liturgical vessels for the pope, and if so, if he could send silver from Colorado for him to use.
“Then I had to go about trying to find silver,” Urban said.
After talking with a multitude of people, Urban found a Fort Collins man who had a private reserve of silver, some pieces of which came from the “In God We Trust” mine.
“That was a sign we were going in the right direction,” he said.
He spent $145 to purchase the rectangle of silver extracted from gold found in the mine.
Feeling that a FedEx envelope was not a reverent way to ship the blessed material, Urban carefully tucked the silver into a Maplewood box marked with the sign of the Holy Spirit.
The silver was then shipped to Tallarols’ workshop in Argentina. The silversmith will use the silver to craft, among other items, a chalice, plate and spoon. The spoon is used in Eastern-rite Catholic Churches Divine Liturgy to give parishioners Communion under both species.
The silver that will be mixed with silver from South America is symbolic, Urban said, of the Church’s unity.
“It has a lot of symbolism in mixing the different cultures together and different pieces of the Catholic Church together,” he said. “I think it provides an opportunity to show we all become one Church together.”