us build the first home
for Blessed Juan Diego in Colorado
15 , 2002
Reverend José H. Gomez
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver
On Tuesday, April 16,
the Hispanics of northern Colorado undertook an ambitious task to build
Centro Juan Diego: Hispanic Institute for Family and Pastoral Care. We are
confident about this task because it was started under the patronage of
Our Lady of Guadalupe with the intention of honoring the one she called
"the littlest of my children" our brother and future saint
Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin.
The project intends
to build a home for Juan Diego. A home which the future saint does not want
to keep for himself, but wants to share with the growing Hispanic community
of our archdiocese. Centro Juan Diego will be a formation institute that
will serve the Hispanic population's pastoral and family needs.
Because of their numbers,
Hispanics have become the most important immigrant group in the United States.
They are especially significant in the Church, as in a few years Hispanics
will comprise the majority of Catholics in the nation.
This means we Hispanics
have a great responsibility to provide energetic leadership to the Church
in the United States to achieve the new evangelization Pope John Paul II
envisions for this millennium.
But we Hispanics will
not be able to serve the Catholic community in this way without well-formed
leaders and there is no leadership without formation.
The goal of Centro
Juan Diego is to offer resources and formation to the Hispanics of northern
Colorado and beyond to achieve our evangelization mission.
The Lord has mysterious
ways to carry out his plan of salvation for the world. Throughout the years
merciful God has willed groups of immigrants to come to this great nation
to help the Church set roots and grow. In this way Catholics from Ireland,
Italy, Poland and Germany arrived successively. In recent decades, Hispanics
have become the fastest growing Catholic group.
In the beginning,
Hispanics arrived at the southwest regions lands that had belonged
to the king of Spain and then to Mexico, and which had been previously evangelized.
Today Hispanics arrive at all corners of the United States: our brothers
and sisters stretch from the agricultural fields in Florida to the fishing
waters of Alaska.
It is important that
our brothers and sisters not only keep the precious gift of faith
which Pope John Paul II called in 1984 "richness amidst poverty, which
no thing or person should take away" but that they strengthen
and share it.
This is precisely
the importance of this initiative we have embarked upon in the archdiocese:
to create a home where Juan Diego continues sharing the truth of faith.
A place where he continues showing the blessed image of his tilma to Hispanics
of today and of the future, so that it may remain in their minds and hearts,
and that it may be in many more minds and hearts throughout the United States.
This project is a
blessing, but as with every blessing it needs human cooperation to be achieved.
All Hispanics have the responsibility of contributing in any possible way
for this project to be realized. All aid is welcome; no contribution is
too little. On the contrary, the sum total of small contributions is what
has really made the difference throughout history.
has donated the former Sacred Heart of Jesus School, a large, historical
building from the 19th century, to this project. We need to renovate the
facility to respond to the needs of the Hispanic community.
As the future saint
himself would have wanted, Centro Juan Diego will be everybody's home. There
Hispanics will be able to receive material assistance, and family counseling
and formation to provide Hispanic ministry to parishes. Hispanics who want
to hold retreats and meetings will find there an open door that says with
Juan Diego: "My home is your home."
We Hispanics already
comprise 32 percent of the Denver population and this number is still
growing in the archdiocese. Let us try to make our presence known not only
in numbers but also in witness of faith and unity. Let us carry out projects
for the good of our community and of the Church.
If we accomplish Pope
John Paul II's dream of creating exemplary leadership the fruits will not
be limited to our community but will multiply and enrich the entire Church
and the nation.
We entrust the success
of our project to holy Mary of Guadalupe and Blessed Juan Diego.