From May 30-June 1 thousands
of people turned out to venerate a relic from St. Juan Diego's cloak
on display at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The turnout
was a tremendous tribute to the faith of the people of Denver and their
devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego. It was a great
honor that the Tilma of Tepeyac Tour, sponsored by the Apostolate for
Holy Relics, chose Denver to begin this inspiring pilgrimage across
This event was especially dear
to our hearts because on Saturday, July 12, we will open the doors to
Centro San Juan Diego, which will continue the longstanding tradition
of service and dedication to the faithful started by the old Sacred
Heart School, in which the center will be housed. I will join Archbishop
Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., in the dedication and blessing of the center,
located at 28th and Lawrence Streets in downtown Denver.
We are excited to be opening
this long-awaited facility. Centro San Juan Diego will be a unique place
combining spiritual, educational and corporal care into one center geared
toward strengthening low-income families and assisting them toward self-sufficiency.
It will be a leadership home and a place for empowerment.
For 30 years the archdiocese's
Secretariat for Hispanic Ministry has successfully met the temporal
and spiritual needs of the Hispanic community. Centro San Juan Diego
will centralize those programs and will enable the archdiocese to expand
them. It will provide pastoral training in the formation of catechists
and parish leaders to serve throughout the Archdiocese of Denver, and
will offer Bible study groups. In cooperation with the city and county
of Denver, state agencies and private organizations, Centro San Juan
Diego will provide comprehensive services in employment assistance,
English as a Second Language training, after-school care, GED (high
school equivalency) programs, tutoring, substance-abuse and family counseling,
legal aid and financial services.
In addition, it will offer
classes in parenting, computers, small business training and other services.
While we are pleased to have completed phase one of this project, there
still is much work to be done. We pray that Our Lady of Guadalupe and
St. Juan Diego will instill in the hearts of the people of Denver an
eagerness to reach out to those less fortunate. We all are called, as
was St. Juan Diego, to give of our time, talent and means.
I am deeply grateful to the
countless individuals who have already given to this project. Because
of you, innumerable minds and hearts will be opened to the infinite
love and mercy of Jesus Christ. On behalf of the individuals and families
whose burdens will be eased because of your charity, the archbishop
and I thank you, and we ask Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego
to bless you abundantly.
As we approach the dedication
of the center, let us keep in mind that we all are called to continue
in this special mission of service. St. Juan Diego was just a normal
person who was called by Our Lady to carry her message of love and hope
to those in need. Each one of us is also called to be an emissary who
is eager to take the roses of God's gifts everywhere, and to show every
man and woman the merciful image of Our Lady of Guadalupe engraved clearly
on the "tilma" of our lives. As a result of Juan Diego's yes to Our
Lady of Guadalupe, thousands of Aztec Indians were converted. In Centro
San Juan Diego, we too, are saying yes to Our Lady of Guadalupe — we,
too, are willing to meet the spiritual and temporal needs of thousands.
Let us keep in mind that the love of God first manifests itself in love
for one another. Faith in God, therefore, goes hand-in-hand with love
for the poor and those in need.
May Jesus, through the intercession
of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego, bless us and Centro San