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Deacon founded homebuilding ministry
By Denver Catholic Register
Deacon Michael Howard
Longtime Deacon Michael Howard, who founded a ministry building homes for the poor in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, died Aug. 10. He was 69.
Born Jan. 18, 1942 in Denver, he married his wife, the former Barbara Kirk, in August 1965.
The couple reared three children: Julie, Jeffrey and Janna.
He worked as a pressman for The Denver Post for many years, except for a two-year stint in the U.S. Navy where he served aboard the aircraft carrier Shangri-La.
A member of Shrine of St. Anne Parish in Arvada, his active parish involvement nourished his desire to explore the vocation of deacon, a ministry that was just re-emerging into the Church after centuries of dormancy. He joined the second group of men in the Archdiocese of Denver’s then-brand new diaconate formation program in 1972 and was ordained a deacon by Archbishop James V. Casey on March 22, 1975.
His first assignment as deacon was to Spirit of Christ Parish in Arvada, where he soon took on fulltime pastoral ministry, specializing in marriage and family issues. He was proud to be among the founding parishioners of Spirit of Christ, which quickly became home to hundreds more Catholic families in and around the Arvada area.
In addition to his parish ministry, Deacon Howard held positions of leadership in the archdiocese’s diaconate community, serving as deacon of the northwest district for three years and as associate secretary for deacons from 1986-1991.
In 1999, while on a trip to San Alfonso Mission in Juarez, a group that received support from the Spirit of Christ community, Deacon Howard felt impelled to improve the situation of impoverished families there and started the homebuilding ministry Southern Exposure Inc., which evolved into a major charitable outreach of Spirit of Christ. Since its inception, the ministry has built 250 homes, 30 percent of which are for single women with children.
A vigil was held Aug. 15 at Spirit of Christ Church. A funeral Mass was held there the following day. Interment was at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
Longtime Deacon Michael Howard established Southern Exposure Inc.