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ACA helps support ministry to youth and minority populations
By Julie Filby
ARCHBISHOPS CATHOLIC APPEAL
Nearly $3 million has been pledged to the 2011 Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal (ACA) that hopes to raise $8.6 million.
“The appeal is off to an impressive start,” according to Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., in a letter read at parish Masses recently.
The ACA funds nearly 40 ministries that serve an estimated 541,000 Catholics in the Denver Archdiocese’s 119 parishes and 24 mission churches. Archbishop Chaput asked the faithful to support this year’s appeal “to the very best of their ability.”
“We are called—regardless of our age, our career or our social standing—to address the spiritual and material needs within our society, just as Christ did in ancient Israel,” he wrote. “Your participation in the appeal will fund an array of Christian ministries which were created to proclaim the word of God, to educate our youth, to feed the hungry, to shelter the homeless, to protect the unborn, and to train our seminarians.”
Three ministries supported by the ACA are the offices of Hispanic Ministry; Black Catholic Ministry; and Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry.
Hispanic Ministry encompasses formation and catechesis, family and youth ministry, migrant and prison ministry, and the Charismatic Renewal Movement (annual conference is set for June 25-26).
Through Centro San Juan Diego and Bienestar Family Services program, they provide adult education including English as a Second Language; citizenship and GED preparation; computer, finance and small business training; and leadership development. Thirty-two students are enrolled in the ministry’s program offering a bachelor’s degree in religious studies through top Mexican university, Universidad Anahuac.
In 2010, the ministry served more than 30,000 individuals.
“In conjunction with the ACA we’re able to reach a significant Hispanic population, that comprises approximately 52 percent of the Catholic population in the archdiocese,” said Jennie Marquez, assistant director. “This ministry and its programs give us the direct communication to continue to educate and form our future Hispanic Catholic leaders.”
In October 2010, Centro held its first annual Latino Senior Health Fair that offered flu shots, blood screenings and prostate cancer testing. Some 175 participants and 30 volunteers attended.
“Approximately seven individuals were diagnosed positive for prostate cancer as a result,” said Marquez.
The ministry’s 30-minute weekly TV show “Fe Católica Viva” (“Catholic Faith Alive”), that debuted in November 2009 on Azteca America Colorado, continues to reach 6,000 regional households, as well as an international audience.
“Recently the show went international and is being broadcasted through Maria+Vision,” said Marquez. “It continues to bring the message of the Gospel to the Spanish-speaking Catholic community, and those who have distanced themselves from the Church.”
The show can be followed on YouTube (www.youtube.com/fecatolicaviva), Twitter and Facebook.
“We’re very thankful for the support of the ACA,” said Marquez. “As we continue the work of engaging and educating Hispanics, the support of parishioners to the ACA is vital.”
Black Catholic Ministry
The mission of Black Catholic Ministry is to answer the call of Christ to the black Catholic community by sharing “the richness and warmth of our ethnicity, cultural values and deep spirituality with the entire Catholic community.”
The office serves the pastoral needs of the black Catholic community in northern Colorado through events such as the annual Black Catholic Retreat, an all-inclusive retreat; Days of Reflection; and the St. Josephine Bakhita and St. Katharine Drexel Award, honoring a Catholic who has excelled in service to the black Catholic community (nominations are due Aug. 1, see www.archden.org/blackcatholicministry).
The office coordinates the implementation of the Pastoral Plan of the National Black Catholic Congress, which convenes every five years; publishes a quarterly newsletter (to sign up email email@example.com); and maintains a resource bank of speakers, publications and websites.
“We’re united with other Catholics by our common faith, shared hope and mutual charity,” said director Mary Leisring. “We’re grateful for the support of the ACA, allowing us to proclaim the good news, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, answer that call as fully integrated members in the faith.”
Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry
According to director Chris Stefanick, the ACA helps the Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry fulfill their mission “to raise up disciples of Jesus Christ among the young people of northern Colorado by offering support and training to those who serve them, and through highly effective events.”
The office coordinates training for youth ministers and pastors; and organizes educational and social events for young people (see archdenyouth.org), such as the Theology on Tap series of talks that attracts 150-300 young adults each month, the three-day Steubenville of the Rockies conference that draws 2,000 youth (set for July 8-10), and the Mountain Madness conference at YMCA of the Rockies that welcomed its largest crowd ever this year of 600 middle-schoolers.
The office also promotes Archbishop Chaput’s College Freshmen Send-Off Mass scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sunday, June 5, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
“I’ve been working in the archdiocese long enough to see the results of the work we do, and good works of the youth we serve,” said Stefanick, who has served the archdiocese for five years. “This work would come to a grinding halt without financial support.”
“Everyone is asked to respond to the ACA with a generous heart,” said Todd Smith, director of annual giving.
Donations are tax deductible. Cash, checks or credit cards are accepted.