Statement on Divine Mercy Supportive Care

Denver Catholic Staff

The following is a statement by the Archdiocese of Denver on Divine Mercy Supportive Care:

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

Since 2014, many of you have learned about and been supportive of Divine Mercy Supportive Care’s work to bring faith-filled, professional hospice care to those approaching the end of their life. The archdiocese is sincerely grateful to Deacon Alan Rastrelli, M.D., and the many staff members who dedicated themselves to providing authentic Catholic care until he left in February 2017.

Around the same time, the archdiocese developed concerns about Divine Mercy Supportive Care’s business practices and Catholic identity and attempted to engage in dialogue with its leadership. Unfortunately, these attempts over several months were unsuccessful and led to the archdiocese withdrawing its ongoing support from Divine Mercy Supportive Care, including removing it from the Official Catholic Directory.

Since the decision to withdraw the archdiocese’s support, Divine Mercy Supportive Care has been acquired and is now under new management. It has been rebranded as Divine Hospice & Palliative Care, and the archdiocese is discussing with the new owners the extent to which it intends to follow Catholic standards for end-of-life care.  For those in need of end-of-life care, please consider the resources listed below.

End of Life Resources

Counseling
The organizations listed below offer counseling for those struggling with the issues raised by terminal illness, such as a loss of autonomy, a perceived decrease in the quality of life, coping with grief and loss, and the impact of illness on family members.

• Sacred Heart Counseling Services is a ministry of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver and has multiple locations across northern Colorado.

• St. Raphael Counseling is a Catholic apostolate with offices in Denver, Littleton and Louisville.

End of Life Care

• Porter Hospice & St. Anthony Hospice serve the Denver Metro area.

• Collier Hospice Center, Good Samaritan Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital all provide hospice and palliative care.

• Dominican Home Health Agency provides medical equipment and in-home nursing visits to the poor, sick elderly.

COMING UP: Centro San Juan Diego to celebrate its ‘Quinceañera’ Oct. 11

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“The more prosperous nations are obliged… to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin” (CCC 2241).

With the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in mind and the vision and mission of answering the Church’s call to welcome and aid the newcomers, Archbishop Charles Chaput and Monsignor José Gómez created Centro San Juan Diego in 2003.

Fifteen years later, the mission of Centro continues more urgently than ever. On Oct. 11, the institution will celebrate its 15th birthday — or as it’s called among Hispanics, its ‘Quinceañera.’

Centro was created to meet the urgent needs of the growing Hispanic immigrant community in Colorado after the arrival of what was considered one of the largest wave of immigrants to the U.S. between 1996 and 2004, explained Juan Carlos Reyes, Executive Director of Centro San Juan Diego.

“The creation of Centro was necessary, not only so Catholic immigrants could find the Church welcoming them, opening its doors and helping them to actively participate in the Church’s life, but also, for the immigrant community in general, regardless of their faith, to offer them an area of social work,” Reyes explained.

Since its creation, Centro has helped thousands of people. In fact, nearly 5,000 Hispanics reach out to Centro every year to receive faith formation and educational services. With the Pastoral Institute, the family, children’s and young adult’s ministries, and the educational and leadership programs, Centro has become the main resource center for both long-term residents and newcomers in Colorado.

At Centro, students start by learning English, preparing for their citizenship, and/or becoming entrepreneurs by attending small business classes.

Twice a month, Centro offers a legal night (Noche Legal) to provide legal advice from lawyers in different areas of law to those seeking help but with no financial means to do so.  During tax season, Centro provides tax preparation services at a low cost. Additionally, a tax preparer certification is available for those who want to pursue it.

“One of the programs that has given us more recognition is the partnership Centro has with Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP), a university in Puebla, Mexico that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Spanish that are valid in both countries,” said Reyes. This partnership began in 2012 and provides online education at low cost to any Spanish-speaking individual, regardless of their citizenship status.

A positive effect on families

One of the most touching testimonies shared by a Centro student came from Monica Chavez, who was the first graduate from the UPAEP program.

“During her graduation ceremony speech, she paused and, addressing her children, she said, ‘There are no excuses now [for them not to graduate],’” recalled Reyes. “The services at Centro are offered to help families, to help parents be the best parents they can be. The education this student [received] has had a direct effect on her life. We are almost certain that her children will graduate [due to her mother’s example].”

Centro San Juan Diego’s mission is continuous. Earlier this year, the “Sister Alicia V. Cuarón Education Fund” was created to honor the legacy of Sister Alicia V. Cuarón, the founder of the previous family services program and a lifelong advocate for Hispanic issues in business, leadership and empowerment. The education fund supports the family services and programs at Centro.

“This education fund is an effective tool to respond to the Church’s call to help immigrants, regardless of their ethnicity or economic status,” stated Reyes.

The future of Centro

When asked about Centro’s future, Reyes enthusiastically responded that among its promising plans, there is a great opportunity “to establish regional offices on the Eastern Plains and Western slope to reach the immigrant community in those areas.” They also plan “to extend vocation and education courses through the archdiocese and create new programs that will address the growing and diverse needs of immigrants, such as education, leadership development, job training and readiness, while ensuring easy access to its award-winning services.”