Through persistent prayer and dedication to Sacred Scripture, Our Lady of Loreto parish in Foxfield has had a hand in four recent religious vocations.
Over the next several months, two women who attended Our Lady of Loreto are taking vows with religious orders and becoming sisters, while one young man will be ordained to the transitional diaconate before becoming a priest. Additionally, Father Matthew Magee, who was just ordained in May, was a longtime parishioner of Our Lady of Loreto.
Monsignor Ed Buelt, pastor of Notre Dame parish in Denver, previously served as pastor of Our Lady of Loreto for 18 years, during which he came to know these four parishioners and their families very well.
Monsignor Buelt insisted that he didn’t do anything special during his time as pastor at Our Lady of Loreto to encourage people to discern religious life. What he did do, though, was begin the majority of his homilies with three simple words.
The Word convicts people of its truth and they want to give their lives over to it.”
“Open your bibles,” Monsignor Buelt told Denver Catholic. “I encouraged everyone to bring their bibles, to write in their bibles, to open their bibles. I didn’t do anything special other than that.
“We were just faithful to the Eucharist and especially to the breaking open of the Word as a homily in the Eucharist. The Word convicts people of its truth and they want to give their lives over to it.”
The Word, and a whole lot of prayer, he said. During his time at Our Lady of Loreto, Monsignor Buelt celebrated one votive Mass a week specifically for religious vocations, and another specifically for priestly vocations. He has since carried this tradition over to Notre Dame parish.
“The whole parish is praying a Eucharist for vocations, and the church offers those two Masses to pray for vocations,” he said.
The first of the vocations, Father Matthew Magee, was ordained a priest May 14 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. He is now serving as Parochial Vicar at in Northwest Colorado at a cluster of parishes: St. Michael in Craig, Holy Family in Meeker and St. Ignatius in Rangely.
Father Magee said he is the first “homegrown” vocation from Our Lady of Loreto, having attended the parish for the past 18 years since its founding, and even being the very first communicant to receive Holy Communion there. The constant prayers and encouragement from Monsignor Buelt and the parishioners were instrumental in his vocation.
“I owe Our Lady of Loreto so much for my vocation,” Father Magee said. “What gave me strength over the eight years of seminary was knowing that people had been praying for me and supporting me in my vocation.”
Sister Mary Brigid, took her first vows as a Religious Sister of Mercy Aug. 14. Her baptismal name was Neely Meeks, and she served as the youth minister at Our Lady of Loreto from 2011 to 2013.
“At some point, she was convicted of the mercy of the Lord and of a religious vocation,” Monsignor Buelt said. “She somehow wanted to bring those together in a religious order dedicated to the mercy of the Lord, and that search led he to the Religious Sisters of Mercy.”
Sister Mary Alexandra, known previously as Allie Moffit, will take her final vows as a Little Sister of the Poor in Rennes, France on Aug. 28.
“Something inspired her on her own to contact and then begin to volunteer at Mullen Home for the Aged,” Monsignor Buelt said. “She made the trek there quite often, and she was convicted in her service there.”
Daniel Eusterman will be ordained to the diaconate in Rome on Sept. 29. He’s been studying in Rome for the past three years at the same seminary Monsignor Buelt studied at, and said Monsignor Buelt has invested in him greatly since he entered seminary in 2008.
“He’s been a big support,” Eusterman said of Monsignor Buelt. “[He’s] definitely been a huge role of support and walking along with on as a solid fatherly presence.”
Featured image by Daniel Petty