Grand Junction Deanery Hispanic Ministry celebrates ‘Days of Mercy’

By Carlos Ruiz, Office of Hispanic Ministry

rsz 1img 4230The Church of the Grand Junction Deanery was filled with the workings of the Holy Spirit on August 12 to 13, as over 300 people gathered in Delta to celebrate the Hispanic Ministry "Days of Mercy."  Bishop Stephen Berg spent quality time with the people throughout the weekend, celebrating reconciliation for over three hours and the closing Mass late Saturday evening.  Faithful parishioners and professional pastoral leaders from six communities came together to form the Grand Junction Deanery Hispanic Ministry steering committee.  Collaborating across the region, the HM steering committee planned the event over the past several months, under the guidance of the Office of Hispanic Ministry and deanery clergy.  Empowered by the Spirit, the lay leaders of these parishes gave testament to their faith by working hard to create an atmosphere of prayer, formation and community.  Local St. Michael’s leaders organized generous parishioners to open their homes and host families from Gunnison overnight.

 The days included included adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, reconciliation and a Eucharistic procession.  Fathers Don Malin, Albeiro Ciro Herrera and Andres Ayala as well as Carlos Ruiz presented catechetical workshops on the "Year of Mercy" as declared by Pope Francis, corporal and spiritual Works of mercy, and reflections on the Blessed Sacrament.  Saturday night ended with a solemn celebration of the Mass, led by Bishop Berg and concelebrated by deanery priests, and accompanied by Deacons Dan Leetch, Jerry LeBlanc and Price Hatcher.  Joyful musicians from Carbondale enlivened the weekend with prayerful song.


Pueblo area parishes collaborate for VBS

By Chris Armstrong

vbsWhat does collaboration look like?  Touted as ideal for the Church, this idea is working in the Diocese of Pueblo. The recipe for successful collaboration includes: parishes with one vision for Vacation Bible School, talented people willing to do their share, young adults and teens trained for leadership roles, sharing food, laughing and taking time to work together.  It is a perfect mix for a successful program.

This past summer, the parishes of Christ the King, Cathedral, Holy Family, Our Lady of the Meadows all in Pueblo, along with St. Benedict in Florence and St. Michael in Canon City came together to share resources and people-power to bring Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si to the 200 plus children from the southside of Pueblo to the city of Canon City.


St. Peter, Gunnison holds first international fiesta

Gunnison bishopFather Andres Ayala-Santiago, pastor of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, and the parishioners are so very grateful to the people of Gunnison, Crested Butte, and Lake City as well as to the many visitors for the wonderful support in making the first International Fiesta Fundraiser a great success. Approximately 200 people attended the beautiful outdoor bilingual Mass in Bill’s Park.  The international foods and music were enjoyed by many.

Bishop Stephen Berg was the main celebrant of the Holy Mass honoring St. Peter, the patron saint of the church, and Father Andres concelebrated the Mass with him. Deacon Lloyd Hawes, eight altar servers and the Knights of Columbus assisted.

The 14 tables of international food included specialty foods and desserts from various countries. They food was  Polish, Slovenian, Colombian, Italian, Mexican, El Salvadoran and American.  The children enjoyed playing games which included a piñata and playing “catch” with Father Andres using water-filled balloons.


Cathedral parish heeds call of "Laudato Si"

DSC 0487In January 2016 the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart parish decided to make some contribution to Pope Francis' Laudato Si, his encyclical on the environment.  After checking with CDOT, the parish found that there  were a number of miles of highway that had no volunteer cleanup activity.  Realizing that the interstates were off limits and that Highway 96 west toward Wetmore and Westcliffe had some open miles, the parish decided to pick up trash starting at mile marker 49 and going west for two miles to mile marker 47 on State Highway 96.  After viewing the highway department's videos regarding things they had to beware of such as needles, meth lab refuse, snakes and other creatures, they went on the first pickup, the day after Earth Day, a good coincidence.  The volunteers collected 36 bags of trash, some of it car parts, paper products, bottles of all kinds, little shot containers for alcohol and plenty of beer cans.  Some of the cans were from an ancient age like perhaps from the beginning of the Coors dynasty.  The most trash was from the littlest things:  cigarette butts and those Styrofoam packaging materials that spread out like peanuts from  Hades.  So far volunteers haven't found much money, but if any is ever found and it's not returnable, it goes to the parish building maintenance fund.

Intriguing items found were old cell phones.  While they did not pick up a workable cell phone on this trip, Fr. Jim did tell the group of one that he picked up in Durango a few years ago.  Surprisingly, the phone turned on and went to a text message.  The message was,  "Honey, is the wedding still on?"  There was a general feeling among the crew that this message may have been discarded along with the phone. While they group hasn't found anything quite that personal  in the Pueblo area, they are well aware of the surprises that can be found in the ditch. 


Cathedral of the Sacred Heart exceeds DMF goal for five consecutive years

DMF Fathers DayFor the fifth year in a row, the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Pueblo met and exceeded its DMF Goal. Working hard to come up with new ideas to get parishioners enthused about the campaign, the Cathedral DMF Committee introduced three programs to keep interest alive each year.

The main program to raise funds for the DMF Campaign is our “heart tree.”  Every person who makes a pledge to the DMF has his/her name put on a red heart, which is placed on the heart tree.  It is an exciting witness as parishioners watch the bare tree branches fill up with hearts each week during the DMF campaign.  People look forward to seeing their names added to the tree and this acts as an incentive to make a pledge.

The second program is conducted during the month of May and features a “Mother’s Day garden.”   Parishioners are asked to purchase a flower to honor their mothers.  These flowers are placed in the garden and displayed during the entire month of May.


Blessed Sacrament Sisters celebrate 60th anniversary

Blessed Sacrament 60thBishop Stephen Berg was the main celebrant at a Mass on June 25 at St. Mary Help of Christians in Pueblo  to honor the 60th anniversary of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament. Seven priests concelebrated. Also in attendance were Sr. Josephine Roney from Waterville, Maine representing the American sisters, Sr. Maria Fe, provincial superior and Sr. Maria Catherine who came from the Philippines for the occasion.

The foundation in Pueblo was started by the American sisters in 1956 and continued by the Filipina sisters in 2009, but the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament were formed long before coming to Pueblo. The congregation was founded by St. Peter Julian Eymard on July 31,1859, in Angers, France. The Congregation is centered on the person of Christ in the fullness of the Eucharistic Mystery and wholly dedicated to his love and glory. The celebration of the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours, and Eucharistic adoration give form to its mission of prayer.

When four sisters arrived in Pueblo in 1956 from their convent in Maine, Bishop Joseph Willging, the first Bishop of Pueblo along with Msgrs. Elwood Voss and George Holland welcomed them. Their first home in Pueblo was on Oakland Avenue, a structure originally built as  the home for the  CF & I superintendents. It then  served for a few years as a convent for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and later as the minor seminary for the Diocese of Pueblo. 


Three attend Jubilee for Deacons at Vatican

deaconsBy Deacon Jerry LeBlanc

From May 27 to May 29 Deacons Vince Rogalski, Price Hatcher and Jerry LeBlanc and their wives attended the Jubilee for Deacons in Rome.  The Holy Father invited a variety of different groups to Rome during this Year of Mercy.

During their time in Rome, the deacons attended two catechetical talks.  The first talk was titled The Deacon:  Image of Mercy for the Promotion of the New Evangelization at the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.  The following day the talk was The Deacon:  Called to be a Dispenser of Charity in the Christian Community.  Approximately 2,000 deacons from around the world participated in this event.   Prior to traveling to Rome they visited the Cathedral in Orvieto, the Basilica of St. Francis and the Basilica of St. Clare in Assisi. 


Diocese receives grant for Benedictine Oblate in Prison Program

Logo Year of MercyThanks to a generous donation from Catholic Extension, the Diocese of Pueblo was able to breathe new life into a longtime prison ministry offering, the Benedictine Oblate in Prison Program.

The $10,000 came as a part of Catholic Extension's "Year of Mercy" grant. This special initiative offered in this Jubilee Year of Mercy aimed to provide 10 dioceses with the opportunity to better serve the poor, displaced, and vulnerable. The Diocese of Pueblo was chosen as one of the ten for its revival of this prison ministry program.

"I think that speaks to the strength of the program and how well it fit with Pope Francis' directive to 'Go out the peripheries,' " said Michelle Sandoval, grant writer for the diocese. "I also continue to hear from those involved that the Benedictine Oblate community is a 'perfect fit' for those who are incarcerated."


Newman Baccalaureate Mass inspires ASU students to serve

ASUCatholic graduates from Adams State University were honored and blessed at a baccalaureate Mass held on May 8, Mother’s Day, at Sacred Heart Parish in Alamosa one week before Commencement.  All liturgical ministries, including music ministry, were performed by ASU students.   Fr. Michael Chrisman inspired the graduates with a call to be Christ-like in serving others.

Nursing major Katherine Wartman recalls having a feeling of “immense gratitude” during the Mass.   A young wife and mother of three, Wartman added, “Our faith helps us to see that our accomplishments come from Christ, and our knowledge and skills are to give to others.” 

Another graduate, Beth Streeter said, "It was comforting to graduates being reassured that God is always present in our lives, even in the unsure transitional period every student faces after graduating.  She continued, "Father Michael knows how to relate passages to struggles we go through today and is always encouraging."



SWCYC: Save the Date

By Martha Sandner


logoOctober 1, 2016 marks the fifth annual Southwest Catholic Youth Conference (SWCYC) to be held at the Farmington Civic Center, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. This awesome event that reaches out to nearly 1,000 youth each year is sponsored by LifeGuard of Durango.

Bob Rice, an internationally known speaker, musician and inspirational teacher at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, will be bringing his own worship band and a very active sense of humor as keynote speaker for SWCYC. Our female keynote this year is Lisa Cotter, a nationally sought after speaker on the topics of dating, marriage, motherhood, and femininity, who balances sound theology with humor and practical insights. Youth favorite, actor David Henrie, will be present once again to encourage the youth to fearlessly spread their faith to the world.