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May 12, 2010
Appeal funds educational efforts via schools, evangelization and in the public square
By Julie Filby
Money raised by the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal supports the lifelong education of the faithful through ministries such as the Office of Catholic schools, Colorado Catholic Conference, the Catholic Biblical and Catechetical schools, and the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.
Office of Catholic Schools
The Archdiocese of Denver Catholic Schools is the largest private school system in the state with more than 10,000 students, enrolled at 37 parish elementary schools and two high schools, in 18 cities.
A portion of the monies collected through the ACA funds personnel costs and other services provided by the Office of Catholic Schools to help the school ministry achieve their mission. Services provided by this team of five include policy promulgation, safety guidelines, financial review, legal advice and school accreditation.
“Rather than investing in one particular school, support of the ACA serves 39 schools through the many services we provide,” explained Superintendent Richard Thompson. “It would be very difficult for any of our Catholic schools to exist today without the support of our office (and other archdiocesan offices) which are supported by the appeal.”
ACA helps fund other archdiocesan offices that support the school ministry including parish finance, human resources, risk management, the Denver Catholic Register and finance and administration.
In a time when public school districts are seeking options to ride out challenges, Catholic schools are no different. Thompson is grateful for the generosity and passion of donors.
“We definitely share their passion,” he said. “And will continue to work hard and steward the resources we are provided to preserve as many schools as possible—and keep them affordable and accessible to as many families as possible.”
Colorado Catholic Conference
The Colorado Catholic Conference is the public policy and lobbying arm of the three dioceses in Colorado. The conference works with other religious and secular groups in promoting the common good in the areas of education, health, housing, life issues, employment, and other basic needs.
Basing its mission on the Gospel and Catholic social teaching the conference acts cooperatively to ensure a dignified and productive life for people of all ages.
“As a state and nation we will continue to be faced with important legislative issues, and the Catholic voice is needed now more than ever,” said director Jennifer Kraska. “If people aren’t aware of what is happening and don’t speak out, then as Catholics we are failing to fulfill our obligation as faithful citizens.”
During the past legislative session, the conference worked on the following issues: fetal homicide legislation, payday loan reform, immigration and medical ethics.
“Since this is an election year, we’ll also be encouraging people to get out and vote,” Kraska said.
In addition to educating Catholics on legislation, the conference also provides information on practical ways to get involved. For information call 303-894-8808, visit www.cocatholicconference.org or become a fan on Facebook.
“The ACA is important to us because it provides a needed source of funding for the conference and its operations,” she said. “We’re grateful for the support we receive from the ACA.”
Catholic Biblical School and the Catechetical School
A share of ACA funds designated to St. John Vianney Theological Seminary supports its divisions dedicated to educating lay men and women: the Catholic Biblical School and Catechetical School.
The Biblical School is a four-year, in-depth Bible study program within the context of Catholic tradition. This year 148 students will graduate—the second largest class in the school’s 27-year history.
This year’s class of first-year students is among the school’s largest with more than 200 enrolled. In total, there are currently 640 students enrolled and more than 2,000 graduates of the program.
“We hope to offer seven new first-year classes in the fall at different locations throughout the archdiocese and in the Diocese of Colorado Springs,” said director Ben Akers.
The Catechetical School provides instruction in Catholic doctrine and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” This year the program educated nearly 500 Catholic school teachers, providing the provisional certification required by the archdiocese to teach in Catholic schools.
The Catechetical School offers a variety of classes including a two-year class “A Walk Through the Catechism” and a specialized class on the Mystery of the Priesthood.
For information on both schools, visit www.sjvdenver.edu or call 303-715-3195.
Office of Evangelization and Catechesis
The Office of Evangelization and Catechesis works with parishes and other archdiocesan entities through classes and conferences, such as the annual Living the Catholic Faith Conference, to “build up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12).
“Evangelization is central to the Church’s mission,” said James Cavanagh, director for Denver metro-area parishes. “The Church exists for no other reason than to bring Christ to the world.”
To help serve the archdiocese’s geographic region, two locations are maintained: Cavanagh’s Denver-metro area location is housed at the John Paul II Center at 1300 S. Steele St. in Denver—and director for northern, Eastern Plains and Western Slope parishes, Don Schneider, maintains a front-range location and media center at 825 3rd Ave. in Longmont.
The ministry supports parish religious education directors and coordinators by providing resources, helping hire parish staff, assisting with formation and other on-site programs, and training catechists. This fall’s training schedule will include large archdiocesan events and Western Slope Ministerial Day on Sept. 25 in Edwards.
“Next year, part of our ministry will focus on helping catechetical leaders catechize about the new translation of the Roman Missal,” said Schneider. “We also hope to focus even more on catechetical leader training, especially for those who are newer to the ministry.”
ACA funding is critical to the work of the office.
“Without its funding, we wouldn’t exist,” Schneider said. “Many of the parishes we serve are on shoestring budgets, so almost everything—from (office) rent to operating budget to program expenses—comes from the ACA.”
In all there are nearly 40 ministries supported by the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal. ACA donations are tax deductible, and can be made in one lump sum or in payments over several months. Cash, checks or credit cards are accepted.
ARCHBISHOP'S CATHOLIC APPEAL
For more information or to contribute
Web: www.archden.org (click on Offices, Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal)
Mail: 1300 S. Steele St., Denver CO 80210