The impact of your gift is far-reaching

Denver Catholic Staff

Throughout 2019, Catholics have answered Christ’s call to serve others and advance his kingdom through their gifts to the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal. Since its creation in 1965, the Appeal has continually addressed the physical, spiritual, educational, and pastoral needs of people throughout our archdiocese.

This year, nearly 22,000 Catholics have united to offer help and hope to others through their participation in the Appeal. Their gifts are shared with nearly 40 archdiocesan ministries that bring the light, hope, and love of Christ to others. Three of the largest ministries supported by the Appeal include Catholic Charities, Religious Education and our schools, and our two seminaries. So, what have they been up to this year?

Catholic Schools

While many other schools can claim rigorous academic standards, none can provide education with the fullness of faith and authentic moral formation. What motivated Michelangelo? Gave so many composers their heart-moving melodies? Illuminated so many scientific discoveries from the genome to the Big Bang (both made by Catholic priests)? Over 8,500 students partake in our tradition of academic excellence which relies on ACA support. Our schools educate the head and the heart, forming men and women to be intelligent, hardworking, and compassionate.

“As our Catholic faith should be in all aspects of life, faith and moral formation is at the center of the education our kids are receiving,” said Michael and Kelsey Lynch, whose school-aged children attend St. Mary’s Catholic School in Greeley.

“We would never choose a school simply for its academic excellence, while overlooking faith and community and we wouldn’t choose a school simply because it is Catholic,” said Kate McGreevy Crisham, whose children attend St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Denver. “We are so fortunate in Denver to be able to choose Catholic schools because they are academically excellent AND thoroughly Catholic.”

Seminaries

Along the lines of education, our seminaries are currently educating and forming 113 men who will serve as our future priests. It takes an average of seven years of rigorous graduate-level study once in seminary before a man is ordained, and considering their priestly salaries, student loans aren’t an option! Once ordained to the priesthood, these men will each serve the faithful of northern Colorado for an average of nearly 50 years!

When asked what he is most looking forward to after his ordination to the priesthood in May 2020, Adrian Hernandez, a transitional deacon at Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary, replied, “I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of story God is going to write with me. As Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said, ‘I am just a simple pencil in God’s hand.’ He is the writer, I’m just the pencil.”

Biblical And Catechetical Schools

If seminary formation sounds enticing but God’s plan for your vocation led you on a different path, our seminary offers Biblical and Catechetical Schools for lay people. Their programs range from short seminars on various topics to our flagship Denver Catholic Biblical school; a part-time study of the Bible over four years. Countless people enrolled in the Biblical School can’t say enough about how much it has deepened their understanding of Scripture.

“Never have the words of St. Jerome, ‘ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ’ been more evident,” said Frank S. “It’s difficult to put into words the transforming power the Catholic Biblical School has and continues to have. I literally leave class in complete wonder of the beauty contained in Scripture. My only regret is not having discovered this hidden treasure much sooner!”

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities operates with a hand-up approach, trying to help lift our neighbors out of poverty and foster long-term goals and independence. Over 105,365 men, women, and children received assistance from Catholic Charities in the past year, including Jennifer and her family.

“Catholic Charities has helped us become a closer family and provided independence not only to myself by in my children as well,” Jennifer said.  “Our hopes and dreams are to become more self-sufficient so that we can then share the compassion, kindness, and knowledge to others less fortunate like us.” 

We could certainly write a whole lot more success stories from just one of our ministries but hope this peek into what the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal does will inspire you to find ways to bring your own talents and gifts to our archdiocese. Why not make 2020 the year you volunteer regularly with Catholic Charities? Or enroll in a course (or enroll your kids or grandkids in one of our schools!)? Thank you to all who support the ministries of the archdiocese with their time, talent or treasure. We hope to see even more of you in 2020!

COMING UP: Church and state partner to carry out corporal works of mercy during pandemic and beyond

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In times of great need and crisis, we find strength in unity and collaboration, and amid the coronavirus pandemic, this truth remains within the Archdiocese of Denver.

For many years, the Archdiocese of Denver and local Colorado government officials have found ways to work together toward common goals and better serve the people of Colorado, which often includes carrying out corporal works of mercy such as feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. And through the COVID-19 pandemic, these partnerships continue to be a crucial part of Colorado’s and the Church’s response to those in need.

The City of Denver and the Archdiocese of Denver have a history of partnering to support people in need. During the pandemic, Mayor Michael B. Hancock and his administration have worked with the archdiocese to safeguard the homeless population and extend testing for COVID-19 to communities at higher risk of struggling with the virus.

“These types of true collaborative relationships really make the difference because you can call on your partners [and] you have established relationships that are built on trust and built on true engagement and true focus on a mutually agreed upon mission,” Mayor Hancock told the Denver Catholic. “Catholic Charities and the archdiocese have been just tremendous partners over the years with us.”

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver told the Denver Catholic that “the Catholic Church is motivated to care for the poor and needy by Christ’s commandment to love one another as he loved us.

“The coronavirus pandemic,” he added, “has highlighted this important work and underscored the essential role the Catholic Church plays in fostering a society that upholds the God-given dignity of every person.

“It has been a blessing to be able to work with the City of Denver over many years to serve these vulnerable populations.”

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and the Archdiocese of Denver have partnered with Mayor Michael Hancock and the City of Denver in the past to better serve people in need, and they’ve continued those collaborative efforts through the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Catholic Charities)

Recently, on July 10 and July 23, Mayor Hancock and the City of Denver hosted events in partnership with Ascension Catholic Parish in Montbello to provide testing for COVID-19 and a mobile food pantry to the local community.

“We have been looking for opportunities to be in the communities, to do the testing, to meet people where they are. And we recognize that Latinos and African-Americans in particular have been most vulnerable to this virus,” Mayor Hancock said. “We needed to really just make sure we took the opportunities for testing to those communities.”

Then, on Aug. 6, Ascension hosted another event in collaboration with the City of Denver where the mayor’s office gave away free backpacks with school supplies, healthy food baskets, baby products, feminine hygiene products and more.

“I am very thankful for Mayor Hancock’s collaboration to help the people of Montbello,” said Father Dan Norick, pastor of Ascension Parish. “I also thank God for the people in Montbello who are caring for each other in these difficult times. May Jesus be praised!”

Mayor Hancock said that hosting these events at Ascension Parish made sense because of the established relationship the City of Denver and the Archdiocese of Denver have developed over the years.

“When you’re looking for who you partner with during these opportunities, you turn to who’s most familiar with you and who you’ve had a trusting collaboration with,” he said. “And it just so happens the archdiocese and the parish there have been the ones that we’ve worked with over the years. So it was very natural. It’s a place where people are familiar and a place they trust.”

It’s not only during the pandemic that this partnership has been fruitful, though. A strong partnership between Samaritan House and the city has existed for quite some time, and this relationship has borne much fruit over the years. Samaritan House strives to be more than a just a homeless shelter, providing education, life skills classes and one-on-one support for its residents to empower them to break free from the cycle of poverty and support themselves independently.

In August 2017, the City of Denver and Catholic Charities of Denver cut the ribbon on the first all-women’s shelter in the city. Called Samaritan House Women’s Shelter, it follows Samaritan House’s established model of helping those experiencing hard times find a way out of poverty and ultimately, bring hope to their lives. Each night, it offers 225 beds for women who are in need of immediate shelter.

Back in April, Catholic Charities teamed up with the City of Denver and took the lead on an auxiliary women’s shelter set up at the Denver Coliseum. (Photo by Catholic Charities)

Back in April, in response to the pandemic and out of a need to maintain social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the City of Denver and Catholic Charities of Denver partnered to set up the Denver Coliseum as a 24/7 auxiliary emergency women’s shelter that’s that was able to accommodate up to 300 women. Catholic Charities staff took the lead at the shelter with full support from the City of Denver. The auxiliary shelter has since returned to the regular women’s shelter facility, but this collaboration between the city and Catholic Charities was crucial as cases of COVID-19 climbed in April.

“When the pandemic hit, Catholic Charities had to find a way to social distance the ladies in its Women’s Emergency Shelter,” said Mike Sinnett, Vice President of Shelters and Community Outreach. “We also had to provide them 24/7 care to honor the governor’s Stay-at-Home order and triage for the virus. Working with the City of Denver staff, we came together as a shelter community and obtained the use of the Denver Coliseum downtown. We were able to better provide social distancing, 24/7 shelter with three meals a day and other amenities, including showers and case management.

“We believe this effort with the city protected our most vulnerable community and helped prevent the spread of the virus. But more importantly, we made it safer for women experiencing homelessness during this pandemic.”

Featured image: Father Dan Norick hands out supplies during a community giveaway event hosted at Ascension Catholic Parish in Montbello in conjunction with the City of Denver. (Photo provided)