The National Western Stock Show welcomes the Catholic faithful

The National Western Stock Show is a historical event that has been celebrated in Colorado since 1906.

For over 100 years, the stock show has presented many activities and shows for family enjoyment, among them livestock, horse, trade shows, exhibitions and rodeos. Twenty-five years ago, the fair organizers decided to add a Mexican Rodeo, and that was the beginning of The Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza.

In 2019, the National Western Stock Show is supporting various Catholic ministries. If you would like to attend the Catholic Families Night which will be celebrated at the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m., buy your tickets with the promo code: (Catholic). To support the Black Catholic Ministries by attending the Black Cowboy Rodeo, which will be celebrated at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Rodeo on Monday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m., use promo code: (ARCHDEN).

Gerardo (Jerry) Diaz, known as El Charro de Corazon, was assigned as the producer of the Extravaganza.

He spoke with the Denver Catholic about charrería, his faith and his friendship with Father Tomás Fraile.

“First, I want to say that I am very honored that God has given us the blessing, and the ideas to make this beautiful show, which is the most festive and colorful of the Stock Show,” said Diaz.

Jerry is a man of great faith and he brings God to every one of his presentations. As part of its tradition, “From the very first show [celebrated 25 year ago], 20 minutes before the show, we gather together — everybody, the charros, dancers, riders, even the president and the coordinators of the fair —and we pray. We always invite a priest or a deacon to lead the blessing. It’s in our hearts, as people of God. I never start any show without the blessing of God. Without God one is nothing,” he said.

Gerardo places great importance on family and, following the example of his father, Don Pepe Diaz, introduced the tradition of charrería to his son. Nicolas Diaz debuted as the fifth generation of charros in the NWSS arena a year after his birth. He has performed for 14 years next to his mother Staci Diaz.

The Archdiocese of Denver is thankful for the families that participated last year, contributing to the fundraiser with the purchase of their ticket. We hope to see you again at the rodeo!

Buy Tickets

Enter promo code “CATHOLIC” on top of the page for the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza or promo code “ARCHDEN” for the MLK Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo. For more information visit nationalwestern.com.

COMING UP: Catholic Baby University prepares parents for the real deal

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Heidi and Jim Knous had no idea that something like a Catholic childbirth education existed. But not long after finding out the great news that they were expecting their first child, Brady, they came across an article in the Denver Catholic introducing Catholic Baby University — a program designed to teach expecting parents the nuts and bolts of both childbirth and Catholicism.

“I think it’s special because it gives you an opportunity to step back from all the registries and baby shower… and to really take time to come together as a couple to think about this vocation, what parenthood is … and how you want that to look for your family,” Heidi said.

“I think there’s a lot of distractions when you’re about to have a child,” Jim added. “Everybody knows it’s going to be tough and you’re going through a lot. Everybody’s trying to tell you, ‘You should do this, you should do that.’ But Catholic Baby U really gives you a solid understanding of what having a child is going to be like and includes the values that we learned as a family in raising a baby in the Catholic faith.”

Jim and Heidi Knous and their son Brady, are parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Denver. (Photo provided)

 

The Catholic Baby University holistic program for parents — offered both as a weekend retreat or a six-class series — is the result of the partnership between Rose Medical Center and the Archdiocese of Denver and was inspired by the previously-founded Jewish Baby University.

The classes touch on topics dealing with childbirth instruction, postpartum experience, baby safety and the Catholic faith — and they are taught and facilitated by certified birth and safety instructors, mental health professionals, and members from the Office of Evangelization and Family Ministry of the Archdiocese of Denver.

“Statistically, people become more religiously involved when they have children, so we want to respond to people’s desires to reengage their faith with the coming of their child,” said Scott Elmer, Director of the Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries of the Archdiocese of Denver and also a facilitator of the program, in a previous interview. “We want to be there to welcome them, celebrate the new life, and give them the tools they need to incorporate God into their home life.”

For Jim and Heidi, who are parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, the experience of having both the childbirth and Catholic aspects in this preparation did not disappoint, as they learned from each one.

“It was a great opportunity to come back and think about things from a basic level again and how to bring our child into the faith — things that you haven’t necessarily thought of or how you would teach a child something, [like praying],” Heidi said.

“Something we learned [that really made me reflect] was that the bond between me and Brady and between Heidi and Brady are very different. It happens at very different times,” Jim shared. “Right away when Heidi finds out she’s pregnant, then her bonding with Brady already starts all the way until Brady’s born. As a dad, it doesn’t start until he is born and I’m actually holding him.”

Heidi assured the concept of “gatekeeping” also helped them prepare for parenting better.

“[Gatekeeping] is when, as a mom, you get really wrapped up in, ‘Only I know how to change baby diapers, only I know how to feed the baby, only I know how to do this,’” Heidi explained. “And I am someone who I could’ve seen thinking that I could be the only person that knew how to take care of [my child]. But gaining that understanding helped us co-parent a lot easier from the very beginning because I was aware of it.”

“I would tell [expecting couples] that Catholic Baby University is a great place to start, to gain community, to meet other people that are in a similar place that you are in; having people in the same room who are just as excited, just as terrified who also want to learn,” Heidi concluded. “It’s just a really awesome opportunity to take advantage of.”