Colorado Catholicism

By Thomas J. Noel

Casey: the Gentle Shepherd (1967-1986)

After Archbishop James V. Casey first came to Denver, protesters camped on the cathedral lawn. Every group under the sun, including some priests and nuns, seemed to be demanding something during the 1960s. Antidemonstrators were protesting demonstrators: Everyone seemed to have a chip on her or his shoulder. Some said the Church must reform; others thought that Satan was on the loose.

The United States' war in Southeast Asia attracted the most protest. Bob Dylan, a popular singer who accompanied himself on guitar and harmonica, led youngsters in songs such as "Masters of War," which struck back at militarists who "play with my world like it s your toy." During the spring that Casey came to Denver, millions of demonstrators all across America marched, spoke, and used civil disobedience to denounce what the veteran journalist Walter Lippmann called "the most unpopular war in American history." Archbishop Casey would become a leader of the American hierarchy in calling for an end to the Vietnam war.

During the sizzling summer of 1967, Afro-Americans rioted in Detroit, Newark, and other cities, leaving almost 100 dead, several thousand injured, and estimated property damage of $500,000,000. Steel-grated storefronts subsequently became standard fixtures in America's core cities. Denver's black militant Lauren Watson and Chicano radical Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales warned that the same thing could happen in Colorado unless whites began to accept darker-skinned peoples as equals.

The numbers of Spanish-surnamed people had soared from 8.7 percent of Denver's population in 1960 to 16.8 percent in 1970. Corky Gonzales, a Denver native, poet, and former professional boxer, emerged as a spokesman for the most militant Chicanos. Gonzales wrote an epic poem for his Mexican-American people, "I Am Joaquin," which included the lines:

As Christian church took its place 
     in God's good name, 
 to take and use my virgin strength 
   and trusting faith, 
 the priests, 
               both good and bad, 
                               took--
 but 
       gave a lasting truth that 
               Spaniard 
                     Indian 
                          Mestizo 
 were all God's children. 

Dealing with militant Hispanics would become the touchiest of Archbishop Casey's troubles. On the evening of March 23, 1976, a special command action team of the Denver Police Department defied the pastor and picked the lock to enter Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in North Denver. Police expected to find dynamite and weapons but found only sacks of pinto beans. The parish and its activist pastor Jos Lara, CR, had been stockpiling not weapons but food for the poor. Archbishop Casey, though he had not granted permission personally, accepted the blame for allowing the church to be raided. In an astonishing demonstration of his humility and efforts to reach out to critical militants, the archbishop apologized for the incident from the pulpit of Guadalupe Church.

"The times they are a-changing," as Bob Dylan's raspy voice put it. Times were changing in the Church as well, with the revolutionary recommendations of Pope John XXIII's Vatican Council, held in Rome during the early 1960s. As with any revolution, the changes horrified some and struck others as only token concessions designed to preserve the status quo. Malcontents on both sides left the Church, as did priests and nuns in record numbers. Priests, after centuries of using Latin and facing the altar, had to face their congregations, use English, and endure amateur guitar Masses. Nuns shed their traditional habits for lay attire. Implementing the recommendations of Vatican II became the greatest challenge of Archbishop Casey's episopacy.

His early days before Denver

Nothing in the background of this shy farm boy prepared him for the chaotic 1960s and 1970s. Jimmy Casey was born September 22, 1914, in Osage, Iowa, a corn-belt village 120 miles northeast of Des Moines. He was the second of two children of Nina (Nims) and James Casey, a farm machinery dealer, state senator, and postmaster of the town of 3,500 people. Despite Jimmy's antics—such as sawing the handles off a neighbor's wheelbarrow—his father never yelled at him or lost his temper. He set an example of patience perpetuated by the future archbishop.

At Osage High School, Jimmy began to shine. He was elected senior class president and captain of the football team. He played clarinet in the band and made the basketball, debate, drama, and track teams. "He was a terrific athlete, an over-achiever who loved competition," recalled Jimmy's high school coach. "He made up for his small stature by his scrappiness." Despite his passion for competitive sports and his natural leadership, Jimmy Casey also had a shy, solitary side reflected in the poetry he began writing at the age of eight. After some of his poems were published in the Des Moines Sunday Register, townsfolk dubbed him "the child poet laureate of Osage."

Casey majored in philosophy at Loras College, a Catholic institution in Dubuque, Iowa. After graduating in 1936, he entered the seminary, spending four years at the North American College in Rome before ordination on December 8, 1939. Father Casey said his first Mass in one of the chapels of St. Peter's Basilica. In 1940, Father Casey sailed home to America. From the glory and grandeur of Rome, he went to the assistant pastorate at St. John parish in Independence, Iowa, where he taught in the high school and coached boys and girls basketball. Interviewed forty-two years later, a member of his championship girls basketball team remembered Coach Casey fondly:

He used to come over to the gym after supper to shoot baskets with us and give us some pointers. . . . He was so proud of us that he set up games in other towns with teams who were not on our regular schedule just so he could show us off. . . . He had this wonderful way of bringing out the best in everybody.
In 1944, the young priest joined the World War II effort as a chaplain in the Navy. He spent two and a half years in the South Pacific, reaching the rank of lieutenant. From 1946 to 1949, he studied canon law at the Catholic University of America, receiving his doctorate in 1949. Doctor Casey quipped that his dissertation, A Study of Canon 2222, Paragraph One, had more footnotes (421) than pages (127).

Archbishop Henry P. Rohlman of Dubuque recruited Casey in 1949 as his secretary. Father Casey served as president of the Canon Law Society of America, directed the Family Life Bureau of the Dubuque diocese, was chaplain of the Mount Carmel house of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and was moderator of the Catholic Lawyers Guild. Pope Pius XII, whom Casey had met in Rome, named him a monsignor in 1952. By his own admission, Casey was "playing hooky" on the golf course in April 1957, when Archbishop Leo Binz tried to reach him with the news that Pope John XXIII had appointed him auxiliary bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska.

"When we were told to lie prostrate on the floor," Casey recalled later of his consecration ceremony on April 24, 1957, "I could hear someone asking, Are they dead? " Nebraskans found their new bishop all too lively. "Most of us just shook our heads," recalled Monsignor Clarence Crowley of Lincoln in an interview with the Denver Catholic Register of April 28, 1982. "And while we were shaking our heads, [Casey s] projects not only were accomplished in short order, but were so successful that we were all in a state of amazement." Lincoln's builder bishop erected a new chancery building and an ultramodern, sleek Cathedral of the Risen Christ. He completed a school for retarded youngsters, a retreat house, high schools, grade schools, and a Newman Center. He also undertook the painful task of closing and combining some Catholic schools, a process he would continue in Denver.

Bishop Casey, concluded the Southern Nebraska Register, "accomplished more for the Diocese of Lincoln in 10 years than any other comparable period in our history." After establishing his reputation as a doer in Lincoln, Bishop Casey was appointed on February 22, 1967, by Pope Paul VI, to succeed Archbishop Urban J. Vehr in Denver.

His early days in Denver

The sound of trumpets and the prayers of 1,600 Coloradans welcomed Casey to his installation ceremony as archbishop of Denver; a pageant that included white-clad Dominicans, Jesuits in black, Franciscans in brown, and monsignori in purple. Rabbis in yarmulkes, Orthodox bishops in their beards and black robes, and Protestant clergymen added an ecumenical note to the solemn two-hour installation. Retiring Archbishop Vehr led his fifty-two-year old successor across the sanctuary to the episcopal chair, where he was installed by Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi, the apostolic delegate. Casey's eyes glistened with tears as he was handed the shepherd's staff, a symbol of his care for a new flock—the 261,944 Catholics in the Denver archdiocese.

Television crews from channels 2 and 7 captured Casey's humble words that day: "I do not come to you as one thinking he has all the answers. I do not even know all the questions. I come among you poor and weak but with a special role to fill as your archbishop and your shepherd. Please pray for me." Afterwards, prominent Coloradans of all faiths joined the installation banquet in the Onyx Room of the Brown Palace Hotel, where cigars and the cordial wagon were circulated after the meal.

At his first Denver press conference, Casey squinted into a battery of cameras, microphones and television lights. Asked about a new Colorado law permitting abortions, Casey quipped, "It happened before I got here." Then he added seriously, "I have moral convictions about this, but also, as a good citizen, I recognize the authority of civil law, and I respect the good faith and conviction of others."

In his first year, Denver's new archbishop appointed a full-time director of religious vocations, sanctioned Masses in private homes and started an archdiocesan census and school study. He gave nuns and priests greater control over their assignments by establishing the archdiocese's first Sisters Council and Priestly Personnel Board. The "fresh air" promised by Vatican II flowed into the Archdiocese of Denver, where the new archbishop's office was dominated by a large oil painting of Pope John XXIII. Archbishop Casey's sense of humor and mature spirituality were part of the change. Virginia Culver of The Denver Post noted:

His candor could be refreshing. He was a priest who readily confessed that he disliked hearing confessions— Sometimes a priest can be helpful, but there are an awful lot of scrupulous people. And it's hard to talk them out of their scrupulosity. Staying cooped up in that little confession box and hearing piddling sins is reallly uncomfortable for me. Returning from a national bishops conference on human sexuality, he once joked, "If God had spoken to me in the beginning, I would have advised some other means of procreation than sex. Sex creates a lot of problems."
Whereas Archbishop Vehr had lived as a prince of the Church, Casey chose a different lifestyle. The archdiocese had purchased for him a large home at 869 Vine Street near Cheesman Park. Casey, who often said he came to serve, not to be served, declined the offered services of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood who had cared for Archbishop Vehr. He moved into the large house with his housekeeper from Lincoln, Emily Mar-stradoir, and his handyman, Leonard Biskup, the brother of Archbishop George J. Biskup of Indianapolis. In 1972, Casey moved out of the Cheesman Park mansion and into a penthouse at the Park Lane Apartments on the northern edge of Washington Park. Emily and Leonard, his faithful servants, moved into private residences in Littleton, commuting to work for the archbishop. Casey, who preferred to cook his own meals and read while eating, was delighted with his new-found freedom.

One of Archbishop Casey's first moves in Denver was to invade Mile High Stadium, the corral of the Denver Broncos. Since this professional football club's formation in 1960, they had inspired a major cult that the archbishop joined. Casey joked that the 75,000-seat stadium was the largest church in Colorado and cleared his schedule for the Sunday rituals there. In 1967, he announced a rally at the stadium to launch his "Year of Faith" for the archdiocese. Despite freezing weather, 30,000 Catholics joined him for the services. Coloradans needed faith. Not only were the world, the country, and the Church experiencing trying times: That fall the Oakland Raiders demoralized the Broncos, 51 to 0. Casey's Year of Faith proved to be a successful recharging of Colorado Catholicism, and that fall the Broncos went to the Super Bowl.

Expansion of parishes and chancery

Archbishop Casey's faith must have been bolstered by the glorious day in August 1967, when he created four new parishes. The Church of the Risen Christ in Southeast Denver took the name and used the same dramatic contemporary architecture as Casey's cathedral back in Lincoln. The other three churches served Denver's booming suburbs, which outgrew the city's core during the 1960s. Aurora emerged as the third largest city in Colorado and Lakewood the fourth largest by 1980. Both of these suburbs, as well as the flourishing neighboring towns of Arvada and Littleton, received two new churches during the Casey years. On the outskirts of the metro area, new parishes were founded in Boulder, Conifer, and Wattenberg. Four thriving ski-resort towns—Dillon, Eagle, Snowmass, and Winter Park—earned new parishes, as did the fast growing Northern Colorado towns of Fort Collins, Longmont, and Windsor. Of the twenty-four parishes Archbishop Casey dedicated, all but seven were in the booming Front Range urban corridor between Littleton and Fort Collins.

Reflecting Casey's commitment to Vatican II, these new churches were dramatically different from earlier ones. Not only did modern architecture distinguish them; they were built and operated with considerable input from the laity. Not one had the traditional Catholic school so important to Casey's predecessors. Rather, they had classrooms for after-public school and weekend religion classes, business offices, and reconciliation rooms instead of confessionals.

Whereas Archbishop Vehr strove to create a parish within walking distance of every Denver Catholic, Archbishop Casey felt that in the age of automobiles and freeways larger parish boundaries were possible; huge suburban parishes were also a way to deal with the declining number of nuns and priests. Perhaps they were also something of a reaction to the many struggling core city parishes: Denver's ten suburban parishes averaged over 2,000 registered families while the average core city parish had less than 400.

From the day Casey took over, his chancery seemed under siege by protesters. The Church, like the local, state, and federal governments, was picketed by militants demanding more for the poor and for minorites. Between 1968 and 1970, reformers camped in front of the chancery and the cathedral. Julia "Julie" Boggs, the archbishop's long-time secretary, said she will never forget the day a protester burst into the chancery carrying a cross to dramatize his demands. In a 1987 interview, she recalled the scene:

Here was this new archbishop from nice, quiet Lincoln, Nebraska and those [expletive deleted] camped out in two pup tents in front of the chancery. Two of their leaders were renegade priests. Because of all the threats we had to take the archbishop out the back door. To make matters worse, his first chancellor ran off with his first secretary. That's when George Evans recruited me. They knew I wouldn't run off with a priest. They're too damn spoiled!

Despite all the picketing and the protesters, Archbishop Casey absolutely would not say anything bad about them. He was the most compassionate, caring man. A lot of very troubled people came to see him and I can't remember one who didn't leave his office looking relieved.

Inside the besieged chancery, Archbishop Casey began working to expand archdiocesan services, many of which accommodated groups who were protesting his inaction. Between 1967 and 1986, Casey transformed a tiny office where three priests often did their own typing to a bureaucracy of 170 employees. Often using lay personnel, the archbishop created many new offices: Aging; Campus Ministry; Catholic Youth Services; Chicano Concerns; Data Processing; Family Life Services; Handicapped Services; Housing, Justice, and Peace; Major Giving; Parish Services; Priestly Personnel; Prison Ministry; Pro-Life; Single Adults; and the Renew Program. With this battery of new programs, Archbishop Casey set about implementing the reforms of Vatican II and transforming the Denver archdiocese.

The Denver Catholic Register

The new archbishop critically scrutinized the main claim to fame of the Mile High archdiocese—the Register system of newspapers. After Monsignor Matthew Smith's death in 1960, Monsignor John B. Cavanagh became editor. Cavanagh had worked on the paper ever since his ordination in 1936, first in the editorial department, then in circulation. As editor, he installed modern, high-speed Goss Headliner presses and, in 1960, added typesetting machines.

Monsignor Cavanagh suffered a heart attack in 1965 and retired on October 10, 1966. Daniel Flaherty, who had been with the Register since his ordination in 1954 and had launched the paper's military edition, assumed the editorship. Despite the efforts of the organization Smith had built up, the Register s circulation dwindled after his death. Many of the diocesan editions became independent, and new publications began eating away at the empire. When Archbishop Casey arrived in 1967, the Register was losing $728,000 a year. To plug this financial drain, Casey sold the national network to Twin Circle Publishing Company of Culver City, California, which printed the paper in Texas. For a few months, the Texans even printed the home edition of the Register before Archbishop Casey brought it back to Denver.

After several short terms by lay editors, Archbishop Casey selected one of his most colorful and outspoken priests for the job—Father Charles Bert "Woody" Woodrich. This Buffalo, New York, native had worked for a New York City advertising agency before coming to Denver's St. Thomas Seminary. Archbishop Casey appointed Woodrich archdiocesan information director on June 12, 1968, acting editor of the Register in 1972, and editor in 1977. Editor Woodrich soon transformed the paper:

I asked Casey for directions but he told me that I was the editor and should know what to do. One thing we did agree on was that we didn't need a newspaper to compete with the Post and the News, but more of a specialized Catholic news- and feature-oriented publication. I decided to be absolutely open with the press. When Casey's chancellor ran off with his secretary, we didn't hide it. We let out everything and it blew over in twenty-four hours. You only get in trouble when you're hiding things.

I couldn't type, write, or spell but tried to make the Register exciting and readable. I never did a column but made the paper a forum for readers opinions. I emphasized headlines, graphics, and introduced color photographs. And under Jim Pierson we jumped from $80,000 a year to $800,000 a year in advertising income. And we went from 14,000 to 82,000 in circulation. I wasn't a Monsignor Matthew Smith poring over words—over the minutiae—I just wanted the paper to look good, to have sex appeal.

In 1983, Father Woody turned over the editorship to a long-time staff member, James Fiedler. By 1987, when Woodrich retired as executive editor and was replaced by Robert H. Feeney, the Register had evolved into a 30 to 40 page-tabloid. Circulation climbed to more than 85,000 by 1988, making it the most popular weekly newspaper in Colorado.

Growth of the chancery

Sale of the newspaper left Casey with the large plant in the 900 block of Bannock Street. In 1971, he moved the chancery from the crowded old Matz home at 1536 Logan Street into the Register building, where he also found room for various archdiocesan offices that had been scattered around the city. The old chancery was demolished to build a new rectory for the cathedral. For four years, Casey supervised the archdiocese from the old newspaper building before buying the Bankers Union Life Building for $2.25 million. This modern, granite-clad, six-story office building at 200 Josephine Street has been the home of the archdiocese ever since. When the archdiocese first moved in in 1975, critics protested the move as extravagant and fussed about the other major tenant—the Central Intelligence Agency.

To orchestrate the multiplying archdiocesan programs, Casey recruited the executive director of the National Council of the Catholic Laity in Washington, D.C., Martin Work. Work began in Denver in 1970 as director of administration and planning. Besides being a skillful administrator, Work also exemplified Casey's plan to bring lay people into church administration. Work and Casey had met at Vatican II, where they had labored together on recommendations for expanding the role of the laity. Together, the two men began promoting the idea of lay councils and business managers for parishes. For priests accustomed to full control of their parishes, this was not always easy.

In 1972, Work began issuing public financial reports. In the September 20, 1973, Register, the archdiocese announced that it was finally operating in the black. Instead of relying on high-interest, short-term bank loans, as in the past, Casey used bond issues. After tabulating income and expenditures for all the parishes, schools, institutions, agencies, and the chancery, the archdiocese ended the 1973 fiscal year with a surplus of $1,061,900. The $19,124,600 budget that year included $14 million for parishes and parish schools, $1.1 million for community services, $1 million for high schools, and $1.2 for general operations. By 1985, Casey's last full year of life, the budget had climbed to over $45 million. Archbishop Casey and Martin Work tightened central administrative control, consolidating all parish and institutional debt. In 1978, they opened the Office of Major Giving under the direction of Reverend John V. Anderson, who subsequently raised about $2 million a year. By the 1980s, the archdiocese had a top bond rating—AAA—and enough investments and assets to cover its $10-million bonded indebtedness, according to archdiocesan director of real estate and investments, Bill McCook. Reverend Michael J. Chamberlain, who served Casey in the chancery office in various positions before succeeding Bishop Evans as vicar general in 1985, reported:

Before Casey and Work set up the business office, pastors had much more discretion, could squirrel away funds in Altar and Rosary Society treasuries or wherever. Consequently, the archdiocese did not know what its resources were and what it could do. Casey's idea was to make the chancery a resource center for all the parishes. He also used this consolidation to establish better employee salaries, health care, and retirement benefits.
Reverend Edward M. Hoffmann, who served Casey as secretary and chancellor, described the archbishop as "a careful administrator who assigned responsibilities and then put great confidence in his assistants. He delegated much responsibility and gave much freedom to his subordinates. That made him wonderful to work for." "He would talk to anybody," recalled Julie Boggs, "so I became his watchdog."

People were constantly interrupting him. Finally, we installed a secret buzzer system so he could push the button hidden under his desk and I would dash in to say his next appointment was waiting. I had to shoo people out so he could lunch on the clam chowder and corned beef on rye sandwiches I made for him.

Bishop George Evans

Father Edward Hoffmann recollected in a 1987 interview that Casey wanted work done on the most appropriate level of the bureaucracy. If a decision had to be made at the top, Casey would discuss it in staff meeting, solicit advice, and then make the decision. After Martin Work retired in 1984, Casey came to rely most heavily on Bishop Evans. Other members of Casey's inner circle jokingly called Evans the "vicar for everything."

Born in Denver on September 25, 1922, Evans attended St. Vincent de Paul grade school, where the parish center now is named in his honor. Afterwards, the lanky youth sailed through Regis High School, Notre Dame University, and St. Thomas Seminary before his ordination on May 31, 1947. Evans earned a doctorate in canon law at the Lateran University in Rome in 1950. Upon his return to Denver, Archbishop Vehr appointed him vice-chancellor. Named a monsignor in 1960, Evans succeeded Monsignor Gregory Smith as vicar general in 1968. On April 23, 1969, Evans was installed as the auxiliary bishop of Denver.

In 1971, Bishop Evans amazed some observers by moving into a one-bedroom unit of archdiocesan housing at 1300 South Irving Street. The bishop felt it took "first hand, living-in experience to make one sensitive to the problems of the people who live in our projects" and "that even a bishop can be happy in the kind of housing we're running."

Bishop Evans maintained that "the role of the church should be that of the conscience of our society, alerting it to the problems and providing examples for their solution." Although Archbishop Casey shied away from public demonstrations, he encouraged Evans to represent the Church at antiwar and social justice rallies. With singing stars Judy Collins and John Denver, Evans addressed 30,000 anti-Vietnam war demonstrators gathered at the Colorado State Capitol on June 15, 1972, for an "Evening of Peace." When several Sisters of Loretto were charged with trespassing at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant, Bishop Evans went to court with them. He took a public stand against the death penalty; he lobbied the state legislature on behalf of the poor, the elderly, and the homeless. When Southeast Asian refugees sought a home in Colorado, Evans spearheaded the archdiocesan placement efforts and personally adopted one family.

This tall, wiry bishop seemed to be everywhere. After Martin Luther King's assassination, Evans rode through Five Points with black militant Lauren Watson "to show a justifiably angry black community that some in the white community were listening." He marched with César Chávez and the United Farm Workers in California, trying to unionize migrant laborers. He conducted a protest prayer in 1984 on a railroad track over which nuclear weapons were scheduled to pass and joined Governor Richard D. Lamm in condemning deployment of MX missiles in the Rocky Mountain West. When giving Bishop Evans the 1984 B'nai Brith Humanitarian Award, the regional director of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League called him "the most energetic person I've ever worked with." Evans served as a board member and chair of the AMC Cancer Research Center, as a board member of the Auraria Higher Education Center, and as the president of the Colorado Council of Churches. Evans further championed ecumenism as president of the Denver Area Interfaith Clergy, a group he helped found. He also startled some Catholics by publicly sharing a Passover meal with Rabbi Daniel Goldberger of Temple Emanuel.

The bishop's private as well as his public life exemplified charity. Evans federal income tax forms in the archdiocesan archives reveal a total 1983 income of $11,612, of which he gave away $7,070, including $1,420 to the Colorado Women's Employment and Education Fund and $2,600 to the Sisters of the New Covenant, an ecumenical sisterhood that had settled in Commerce City in 1981. "Bishop Evans was super special," reported Sister Rosemary Keegan, SL, in a 1986 interview. "He was especially good to sisters and to the Sisters Council. After Vatican II he helped sisters move up and into all sorts of jobs." As a defender of women's rights, Evans spoke out in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment to give women equal protection under the federal constitution. Outlaw women also had Evans ear; for years he heard confessions and said Masses for them in the Denver County Jail. Bishop Evans attended countless meetings and once quipped: "If I get to purgatory and find out that all these meetings don't count, that'll be hell." Evans had to go to many more meetings after October 1984, when Archbishop Casey was hospitalized for months. Thanks in part to his noon matches at the Denver Tennis Club, Evans never exceeded his high school weight of 155. Despite his physical fitness, friends saw him age rapidly trying to fill in for the ailing archbishop. He died on Friday, September 13, 1985, at St. Joseph Hospital, after a painful four-month battle against cancer of the colon.

Ignoring his own illness, Archbishop Casey insisted upon saying the funeral Mass at the cathedral for his beloved colleague. Governor Lamm eulogized Evans as "always on the cutting edge of life and—-in my mind—that is the highest expression of religious conviction. He brought a tremendous vitality to his faith and to his community." Bishop William C. Frey, shepherd of Colorado's Episcopalians, noted that he hesitated to pray that Evans rest in peace because "resting in peace was the last thing George wanted in life."

Bishop Richard C. Hanifen

Archbishop Casey's second auxiliary bishop was, like Evans, a Denver native. Richard C. Hanifen came from a clan with deep roots in Colorado. His grandfather, Edward Anselm Hanifen, Sr., immigrated from Canada to Leadville during the 1880s silver boom, ultimately becoming a successful mine owner whose properties poured forth not only silver but also lead and zinc. The bishop's father, Edward A. Hanifen, Jr., cofounded a leading Colorado investment firm—Hanifen, Imhoff, Inc. Richard, the third of four children, was born June 15, 1931. He attended St. Philomena School in the parish where his family was active and prominent. His mother, Dorothy Ranous Hanifen, recalled that the future bishop as a boy sat in the front pew at daily Mass so that if one of the altar boys did not show up, "he'd get that extra chance to serve Mass."

After graduating from Regis High School and College, Hanifen entered St. Thomas Seminary. He was ordained in 1959 by Archbishop Vehr, who encouraged the young priest to pursue a masters degree in guidance and counseling at Catholic University and a degree in canon law at the Lateran College in Rome. Following stints at Our Lady of the Mountains in Estes Park and at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Hanifen was chosen by Archbishop Casey as his chancellor in 1970. Impressed by Hanifen's pastoral abilities, Casey worked with Rome to elevate him to the rank of auxiliary bishop in 1974. A year later, Casey created the vicariate of Colorado Springs in that rapidly growing city and put Hanifen in charge as the vicar. When Colorado Springs was made a diocese on January 30, 1984, Hanifen was selected as its first bishop by Pope John Paul II.

Archbishop Pio Laghi, the papal nuncio, assisted by Archbishop Casey and Bishop Arthur Tafoya of the Diocese of Pueblo, installed Hanifen as the crosier carrier of Colorado Springs in a ceremony at the Pike s Peak Center. Hanifen, an easy-going and friendly leader, transformed this long-time stepchild of the Denver archdiocese into a proud and independent diocese. In 1984, the baby diocese contained ten counties—Chaffee, Cheyenne, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Kit Carson, Lake, Lincoln, Park, and Teller—with a combined population of approximately 65,000 Catholics.

St. Mary's Church in downtown Colorado Springs became the cathedral of the new diocese, which encompassed 15,560 square miles, twenty-four parishes, ten missions, fifty priests, 230 sisters, five grade schools, and one high school. Of his plans for the new diocese, Hanifen told the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph on January 21, 1984: "A bishop should not be a glaring watch dog of orthodoxy but a good shepherd of his flock." On September 5, 1984, Hanifen launched The Catholic Herald, a monthly diocesan newspaper.

Archbishop Casey gave the new diocese a $3-million "dowry," enabling Colorado's third diocese to make a sound, debt-free debut. Bishop Hanifen graciously accepted what he called "a Christmas present of memorable proportions." Years later, Hanifen would express his appreciation for less tangible gifts from the archbishop. "He was a man of gentleness but also courage. It was his vision which eventully brought about the formation of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. Catholics of the Colorado Springs diocese will always be grateful for his love and leadership."

Catholic school closings

All in the archdiocese was not growth, however. While his predecessors, particularly Archbishop Vehr, had gloried in opening Catholic schools, Casey undertook the thankless task of closing and consolidating them. Initially, Casey hoped to solve the financial crunch in Catholic education by enlisting state support, advocating the voucher system whereby parents could direct that their educational taxes go to a school of their choice. But in 1971, the state legislature voted down this proposal to help nonpublic schools. Monsignor William H. Jones, the superintendent of Catholic schools, remembered school-closing and consolidation as one of the toughest issues bedeviling Archbishop Casey:

We had to tackle the consolidation question. The numbers of teaching nuns, teaching priests, and pupils were all declining. If we ever hoped to have new schools in new parishes, we had to consolidate the many Catholic schools of the core city. We tried to look at every alternative. Notre Dame University did a school study for us. Our appointed Catholic School Board looked at the question in detail, we held public meetings. Every parish was given a vote on whether or not it would support keeping those high schools open. The majority felt they could not afford to. We decided that consolidation was the answer.
By closing some of the more poorly attended schools, the archdiocese hoped to pump limited personnel and resources into the survivors. Although this rationale seemed painfully obvious to the chancery office, implementation generally provoked controversy and criticism. Such was the case in 1973 when the archdiocese announced, in the Denver Catholic Register: "To improve the facilities for the Catholic high school students of Denver, it was decided to establish a new Central Catholic High School by consolidating Cathedral, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Joseph High Schools."

As Sacred Heart had closed in 1939 and Annunciation and Mount Carmel during the 1960s, the core city was left with only one Catholic high school. Critics, of whom there was no shortage in the 1970s, charged that Casey was abandoning the poor in the inner city. This uproar had hardly subsided when the decision came in 1982 to close Central Catholic High School nine years after its opening. Casey had never attended Catholic schools until college, and some felt this explained his apparent lack of commitment to Catholic education. Denver, which once had eleven Catholic high schools, now had only two archdiocesan high schools (Holy Family and Machebeuf) and four private ones (Mullen, Regis, St. Mary's Academy, and Marycrest, which would close in 1988). Of the twenty-three Catholic high schools in Colorado during the 1950s, only six remained open as of 1989.

Regis High School, which became a separate entity from Regis College in 1923, broke ground in 1988 for a new, twenty-seven-acre campus at the northeast corner of Parker and Arapahoe roads. This suburban, Arapahoe County site was donated by Richard Campbell, a trustee of the school. Plans were laid to sell the old high school site at 5232 Lowell Boulevard to Regis College to help finance the new high school, estimated to cost more than $5 million, according to high school president Ralph Houlihan, SJ. Mullen High School, which had opened in 1931 as a boys orphanage and dairy, evolved into a boarding school ten years later. In 1965 Mullen became a day student-only high school and in 1989 began admitting girls. Catholic elementary schools, which continued to be supported primarily by the parishes, survived the 1960s and 1970s in greater numbers than did high schools. When Archbishop Casey came to Denver in 1967, the archdiocese boasted seventy elementary schools with 21,365 students. When he died in 1985, thirty-seven elementary schools hosted 10,247 students.

In the city of Pueblo, all Catholic schools were closed by Bishop Buswell in 1971. Five Catholic elementary schools survived in the Colorado Springs diocese: St. Joseph's in Salida; and Corpus Christi, Divine Redeemer, Holy Trinity, and Pauline Memorial in Colorado Springs. The only new Catholic school to be opened in Colorado since the 1960s is St. Stephen elementary in Glenwood Springs.

Why this decline in the number of Catholic schools during an era of growth and prosperity? At least four factors can be identified.

  • The drastic decline in the number of sisters, whose self-sacrifice had made Catholic schools possible, was the key factor. The number of teaching sisters in the Denver archdiocese fell from 492 in 1962, to 385 in 1972, to 147 in 1982. Whereas religious, both men and women, taught for $1,500 a year or less, the average salary of lay Catholic school teachers was $13,461. Father Lawrence St. Peter, who helped Monsignor Jones administer Catholic schools during the 1960s and 1970s, explained the problem in a 1987 interview:

    Without nuns, it is very difficult to keep Catholic schools open. That's not only because lay teachers salaries are much higher but also because parents are less willing to make the extra financial sacrifices to send their children to lay teachers. They equate Catholic education with nuns.
  • The number of children per Catholic family declined. This demographic phe-nomenon initially escaped the attention of educators trying to cope with the World War II baby boomers who began flooding schools in the 1950s. Between 1948-1949 and 1958-1959, Catholic elementary and high school enrollment in the archdiocese climbed from 13,951 to 24,640. Enrollment stabilized during the 1960s, reaching 25,282 in 1968-1969. The 1950s and 1960s were the golden age for Catholic schools, but between 1968 and 1978, the elementary and high school population fell to 15,719.
  • Catholics developed a greater acceptance of public schools. Whereas sending children to public schools when Catholic schools were available was once considered a serious—if not mortal—sin, both the hierarchy and laity grew much more tolerant of public schools after World War II. As Catholic immigrant groups became better integrated into the American mainstream, the differences between Catholics and other denominations narrowed during the ecumenical 1960s. The 1960 election of a Catholic, John F. Kennedy, as president, was one of the most obvious signs that ill will between Catholics and non-Catholics was waning. Growing tolerance as well as the growing numbers and quality of public schools led a majority of Catholics to use non-Catholic schools.
  • The cost of education soared. In 1941-1942, the archdiocesan superintendent of schools calculated the cost per pupil per year at $113.72. By 1949-1950, the average cost had risen to $213 a year. Since then, the costs of teachers salaries, of equipment in a science-minded age of computers, and of everything from textbooks to utilities to building materials have soared. By 1983-1984, according to the Denver Archdiocesan Education Office, the average cost per student per year had climbed to $1,067. As of 1986-1987, Catholic elementary schools in the archdiocese were a $10-million program supported 61 percent by tuition, 25 percent by parish subsidies, and 14 percent by other fund raising. By 1988 the cost per pupil had climbed to $1,400 a year. As tuition averaged only about $707 a year, the parishes used bingo and other revenue to keep schools open, with archdiocesan support from the Archbishop Annual Campaign for Progress (AACP). Eighty percent of the school expenses went for salaries, which averaged $13,461 in 1986-1987, only half what the public schools offer.

Countering criticism that the archdiocese ignored core city schools, the Archdiocesan Education Department spearheaded creation of an urban school coalition in the 1980s. Annunciation, Guardian Angels, Loyola, Presentation, St. Francis de Sales, St. Joseph, and St. Rose of Lima elementary schools united to form Denver's Schools in Urban Neighborhoods (SUN), a coalition to cope with core city school issues. Sister Jean Anne Panisko, SCL, principal of Annunciation since 1981, reported that SUN addresses the special problems of "at risk" students likely to fail or drop out. SUN has stressed that all ethnic groups succeed. As of 1986-1987, Catholic schools in the archdiocese were 16.4 percent Hispanic, 4 percent black, and 1.3 percent Asian.

Catholic schools now usually out perform public schools, if national standardized tests are a valid criterion. James S. Coleman, a professor of education and sociology at the University of Chicago, noted for his educational studies, analyzed the successes of Catholic schools in Public and Private High Schools and High School Achievement: Public, Catholic, and Private Schools Compared. In both works, Coleman found that Catholic school students are better educated and that Catholic schools did better at training black and Hispanic students. This national finding was locally verified in a study of Denver archdiocesan elementary school children taking the California Test of Basic Skills between 1983 and 1985. They scored from 8 to 28 percent above the national average. Catholic school pupils excelled in English language arts, math, reading, and spelling, in that order. Moreover, they tended to exceed the national norm by growing percentages each year. Composite test scores show third graders 15 percent above the aver-age and seventh graders 28 percent above the national norm.

During Archbishop Casey's administration, various superintendents dealt with the rapidly changing school situation, including Monsignor William H. Jones, and fathers Lawrence St. Peter, Tom Woerth, and Joseph M. O Malley. In 1983, Archbishop Casey picked a layman, Michael J. Franken, former principal of an inner city school in Chicago and of Sacred Heart grade school in Boulder, as superintendent and secretary of archdiocesan schools. Franken reflected in 1988:

We must rekindle the spirit of support for Catholic Schools by focusing on their mission, their quality, their accessibility, their affordability. I believe we can do this but it will necessitate a strength of conviction, magnitude, and breadth we have lacked in the recent past.
Archbishop Casey gave schools, as well as parishes, greater flexibility. The tight guidelines imposed upon schools during the Vehr era were relaxed. Each school was given much greater freedom to select its textbooks, to structure its program, and to tailor courses to its particular student body. Subsequently, some abandoned the use of student uniforms, adopted non-Catholic texts for secular subjects, and began curriculum experimentation. Sister Jarlath McManus, CSJ, the associate secretary for Catholic education, explained in 1987 that, despite the low pay, many teachers accept Catholic school positions:

Catholic schools allow more creativity and confront teachers with less bureaucracy. We also pride ourselves on having fewer alcohol, drug, and disciplinary problems. We've maintained our reputation for concentrating on traditional, basic education—the four Rs—reading, riting, rithmetic, and religion.
The education office's 1988 profile of archdiocesan elementary school teachers found that of the 510 teachers, 472 (93 percent) are lay. Of the lay teachers, 74 percent are married and 60 percent are parents, with an average teaching experience of 10.7 years. "Catholic schools are experiencing something of a renaissance," Sister Jarlath reported in 1988.

Catholics, and Americans in general, are returning to the idea that religion and morality are basic to education. We've gone back to emphasizing religion courses every year in every grade. We're trying to regain some of the old values that Catholics took for granted before teaching nuns and Catholic schools began disappearing. About 14 percent of our students are non-Catholics. After declining enrollments and school closings of the 1970s, enrollment in all archdiocesan schools during the 1980s seems to have stabilized at about 13,000 students each year.

Religious education

While providing secular education, Catholic schools also continue to emphasize religious education. The Religious Education Department of the Archdiocesan Education Office, headed by Cris Villapando since 1987, oversees adult and family religious education programs. Reverend Lawrence M. Freeman directs a Special Religious Education office that, by 1988, had programs for the developmentally disabled in twenty parishes. With the closing of many Catholic schools, the majority of Catholics, children as well as adults, now receive training from Religious Education Programs. Fred L. Eyerman, director of the media center and adult faith formation, noted in 1989:

Religious Education is responsible for the development of about 90 percent of our people. During Archbishop Casey's time, Denver became a national leader in religious education programs which replaced traditional Catholic schooling. Many programs and processes developed here have been adopted in other parts of the country. Our Christians in Search program had write-ups in America magazine and our Mile Hi Congress for Religious Education, which is now in its twentieth year, is known nationally.
One of the most successful adult religious education programs has been the Catholic Biblical School, which has been operating since 1982. The Biblical School, a pet project of Archbishop Casey, grew out of awareness that many Catholics hungry for scriptural understanding were joining Protestant Bible study groups. Sister Macrina Scott, OSF, who had just finished graduate studies in scripture at the University of California at Berkeley, was enlisted to start the Catholic Biblical School. She set up a four-year course, with weekly sessions. Graduates, of whom there are about 100 a year, were pre-pared to go back to their own parish and launch further Bible study programs.

Loretto Heights and Regis

Beginning in the 1950s, the rapid expansion of inexpensive public higher education threatened Catholic colleges. Faced with declining enrollments and the necessity of raising tuition to hire lay teachers, Loretto Heights College fell upon hard times. In 1968, the Sisters of Loretto sold the college for $1 to a coalition of alumni, teachers, and supporters who endeavored to operate the school as a nonsectarian private college. Twenty years later, in 1988, Loretto Heights was again financially strapped and threatened to close its doors for good until a merger with Regis College was negotiated to save the school.

Regis College fared much better. Indeed, during the 1970s and 1980s when many private schools declined or died, Regis thrived. Credit should be given, according to college historian Harold L. Stansell, SJ, to David M. Clarke, SJ, who became the twenty-second president of Regis on August 1, 1972. Clarke, who held a doctorate in physical chemistry from Northwestern University, had served as academic vice-president at Gonzaga University in Spokane and at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.

President Clarke gave Regis a more effective board of trustees, bringing in laymen such as Peter Coors of the brewery clan, Max Brooks, president of Central Bank of Denver, and Walter F. Imhoff of Hanifen, Imhoff, Inc. Subsequently, Regis renovated Old Main and added new buildings such as the Coors Life Directions Center (with the help of $1 million from the Coors Foundation).

Enrollments since the 1970s have stabilized at around 1,000 on-campus students. Off-campus programs, however, have mushroomed, attracting 3,000 to 4,000 part-time students a year. Regis has reached out into other Front Range communities, offering programs in Colorado Springs, Longmont, Southeast Denver, and Sterling. When Regis celebrated its centennial in 1987, the college really could celebrate. Instead of the twenty-four students of 1887, Regis could claim 5,500 full- and part-time students. Over the course of a century, the college had evolved into a fully accredited institution offering twenty-seven undergraduate degrees and masters degrees in business administration and adult Christian development. A student-faculty ratio of fifteen-to-one enabled Regis to provide a seminar format in many classes. Of the full time faculty, 75 percent hold a Ph.D. or the highest degree available in their field. "The Regis spirit," as President Clarke declared in a special Regis centennial issue of the Denver Catholic Register, September 30, 1987, "allowed us to survive the trying times and celebrate the richest."

Campus ministry

More attention has been given to Catholic students on non-Catholic campuses since the 1930s when George Cardinal Mundelein, the archbishop of Chicago, roared that if students "choose to go to a state university, they can go to hell!"

To augment the Newman Club movement active on Colorado campuses since the Boulder club opened in 1906, Archbishop Casey created an archdiocesan campus ministry office in the early 1970s. The term "campus ministry" came into vogue after Vatican II to describe what had been known as the Newman Club or Melvin Club movement. Both clubs were founded by a student, Timothy Harrington. While an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, Harrington encountered anti-Catholic faculty and discussed this with his Thanksgiving dinner hosts, the family of Professor Melvin.

Before you challenge a professor, Melvin urged Harrington, know what you are talking about. This inspired Harrington to organize the Melvin Club at the University of Wisconsin in 1883. Later, while a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, Harrington read John Henry Cardinal Newman's "The Idea of a University" and founded the Newman Club movement on that campus in 1893. Both clubs fostered religious reading, study, and prayer as well as sociability with other Catholics.

Following World War II, hundreds of thousands of veterans—among them many Catholics—armed with new federal student loans and grants, had flooded colleges. In the spirit of Vatican II, campus Catholic communities tried a more positive approach, viewing college years as a time when idealism is high and permanent value systems are formed. By 1989, more than 2,000 Catholics worked among students in campus ministry programs throughout the United States. In the Arch-diocese of Denver, campus ministries have been established on all college and university campuses, Catholic and non-Catholic, targeting an estimated 46,000 Catholic students and 4,000 Catholic faculty and staff.

The Office of Campus Ministry also sponsors a theologian-in-residence program at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado. The AACP has provided roughly $100,000 a year to support the Campus Ministry program, which by the 1980s had seventeeen full-time employees as well as several part-timers and volunteers. The Office of Campus Ministry, which is part of the Education Secretariat, has been directed since 1982 by Reverend George Schroeder, who reported in 1988:

Catholics are now attending colleges and universities in numbers that far exceed their percentage of the general population. Our Campus Ministry goal is to promote theological study and reflection on the religious nature of human beings so that spiritual and moral growth may keep pace with intellectual growth.

Priests and laity

Archbishop Casey's greatest effort was to elevate the laity to a much more instrumental role. He issued a brief and eloquent statement on May 5, 1976: "To Consider Prayerfully the Work of the Coming Day." In this four-page document Casey prescribed a much greater role for the laity in parish administration. Parishes which once had from two to four priests began to notice a shortage in the 1960s. To fight the decline in religious vocations, Archbishop Casey appointed the archdiocese's first full-time director of vocations in 1967. Thanks to rigorous recruitment, the number of priests in the archdiocese increased from 327 in 1967 to 356 in 1986. This increase, however, did not meet the demand in an archdiocese that had grown from 261,844 Catholics in 1967 to 330,270 in 1986. The shortage was exacerbated by the resignations of at least forty-five priests during the 1960s and 1970s. "I was crushed by their leaving," Archbishop Casey told the Denver Catholic Register of April 28, 1982. It was, he added, the most difficult task he faced as archbishop.

Sorrow for the loss of priests could only be partially eased by the joy Casey took in elevating lay persons to positions of responsibility. "I believe," the archbishop declared, "that all baptized people are to share equally in the work of the church. I do not see the clergy on an exalted level." "The role of bishops and priests," Casey added in 1969, "is to recognize the talents of lay people and call them out to take positions of leadership." Parishes began to use lay men and women as religious education directors, youth ministers, liturgists, business managers, and senior citizens coordinators. Women religious and lay people began to minister side by side with the clergy, distributing communion, reading, and guiding their fellow parishioners. Sanctuaries once occupied exclusively by a priest and altar boys were crowded during Mass with lay men, women, and children who were all given roles in the revised liturgy. In unprecedented moves, Casey selected laymen for key chancery positions. Besides Martin Work as director of administration and planning, he appointed James H. Mauck the first lay director of Catholic Charities and Michael J. Franken as the first lay secretary for education and superintendent of Catholic schools. Richard J. Bowles, a permament deacon, was named the first lay director of the Liturgy Office, and Cyndi Thero became director of pastoral process and, later, of the Parish Council Services.

Following Vatican II recommendations, Archbishop Casey started the permanent diaconate as the heart of the lay revolution. A two-year training program was launched at St. Thomas Seminary under the direction of Reverend Leo Horrigan. Archbishop Casey ordained the first class of ten permanent deacons on April 6, 1974. Another thirteen deacons, many of them married men, were ordained in 1975. By 1985, eighty-five deacons had completed the two-year training and gone to work in the parishes of the archdiocese. Deacon Bowles reflected on Archbishop Casey's role in promoting the laity to prominence in a 1987 interview:

Despite the reluctance of some clergy and lay people, Casey never lost his conviction that Vatican II was essential. While attending the Vatican II Council in Rome, he really caught the infectious enthusiasm of Pope John XXIII. In an archdiocese used to a stern father, as Vehr and other previous bishops had been, Casey insisted that the laity take adult responsibilities, not just follow directions of priests and nuns.

Religious sisters and lay women

By opening up many positions to nuns, Archbishop Casey attracted many to the archdiocese, where they were given freedom to experiment with a wide variety of ministries. As Vicar General Michael J. Chamberlain put it in 1988:

Casey created an atmosphere, complimented by bishops Evans and Hanifen, of openness, of tolerance for experimentation. He would listen to any proposal. But you had to have done your homework, to have a rationale, a game plan, and a way to pay for it. He would pin you down on the why and the how.
Casey, who had been chaplain of the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dubuque, Iowa, encouraged nuns to expand their horizons. He raised sisters annual salaries, in 1974, from $3,100 to $4,600. The same year, he appointed Sister Helen Flaherty associate vicar for women religious and two years later named her vicar; she may have been the first woman religious in the nation elevated to that rank.

The archbishop's efforts were deeply appreciated. He became remembered, in the words of Sister Loretto Anne Madden, as "a man who in a quiet way was deeply committed to justice. . . . [H]e was one of the most outstanding church leaders in the United States in promoting women to leadership po-sitions in archdiocesan offices."

Casey established a Commission on the Status of Women to explore expanding roles for women in the Church. Real change came on March 9, 1970, when the archbishop au-thorized distribution of communion by not only nuns but also lay women. At the same time, Casey made Mass attendance easier by allowing Saturday afternoon and evening services to fulfill the obligation for Sunday Masses.

Archbishop Casey raised eyebrows even higher when presenting his quinquennial report in Rome in 1983. He told Pope John Paul II, according to The Denver Post of November 8, 1983: "American sisters feel alienated and some anger, because they are treated in a paternalistic way by the church. They aren't treated as co-workers and with the dignity they deserve."

Denver's archbishop appointed Sister Loretto Anne Madden, SL, director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, which lobbies for the archdiocese at the state legislature. He named Sister Rosemary Wilcox, assistant director of administration and planning, the first of many administrative posts she would hold in years to come. Many nuns took advantage of the new worlds opened to them to accomplish much on many fronts. Sister Cecilia Linenbrink, OSF, at St. Elizabeth's in Denver, decided in 1964 to "take a new look at my own involvement with people in poverty areas—not so much to see what I could do, but what they needed." This Franciscan found that many Spanish-speaking people needed and wanted a high school education and English lessons. So Sister Cecilia founded the Adult Learning Source to prepare people to take the high school equivalency exam and earn a diploma. Hundreds took her course, and, by 1974, other churches, community centers, and schools had adopted it, using volunteer teachers to train 5,000 students in the first decade of Sister Cecilia's popular program.

In 1989, Sister Cecilia's program celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary, having touched the lives of 27,000 students taught by more than 6,000 volunteers. Sister Cecilia, who holds a Ph.D. in education, is now executive director of the first and foremost Colorado group combating illiteracy, which she says afflicts one in five adults in the United States. "Most of these people just want to read," she told the Denver Catholic Register of December 23, 1987. "Some want to be able to read to their children and grandchildren. Others just want to read the newspaper."

Sister Julia Benjamin, OSF, took on one of the most difficult of tasks, reaching out to women who had fallen into prostitution. She became a "streetwalker" herself, passing out her card, with its butterfly logo and message of hope: "If you want to get off the street and out of prostitution, call Sister Julia at 455-9705 8 A.M. to 9 P.M." When women called, she offered them refuge at the Magdalen Da-men House, formerly part of the Marycrest Convent at West 52nd Avenue and Decatur Street. Sister Julia, who earned a psychiatric social work M.A. at the University of Denver, has made working with street women and women in or out of jails and prisons her mission. "We've just received $92,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development," she reported in 1988. "This will enable us to remodel fa-cilities and expand our program so we can offer not just a shelter but extended treatment programs."

Sister Helen Falvo, OP, came to Denver in 1975 to coordinate the SUN program. Archbishop Casey was so impressed with her work that he appointed her vicar for women religious in 1979. The Colorado Council of Churches was likewise impressed with the work of this Dominican nun and in 1982 elected her its president; she spearheaded efforts at ecumenical cooperation until her untimely death in 1983. Sister Anna Koop, SL, founded the Catholic Worker House at 2420 Welton Street in 1979, offering housing, a soup line, and employment to the down and out. The Catholic Worker House put the unemployed into business making coffins in the Catholic Worker woodworking shop, which sells coffins for $210 to $225, "cremain" boxes for $30 to $84, and prayer benches for $15. Nicole Santisteven, a teenage correspondent for the Denver Catholic Register, reported in her October 28, 1987, column on volunteering at the Catholic Worker House Soup Kitchen, "I found it difficult to see Jesus in those people. . . . I smelled alcohol and dirt and it scared me." But, Nicole concluded, "we have to remember that Jesus is in the person who walks through the soup line as much as He is in the person who distributes the food."

Hundreds of nuns took on new projects. For most it was slow, hard work with little reward. But they made schools, parishes, hospitals, the chancery, and other institutions work. Sister Elizabeth Skiff, SC, for example, turned rooms filled with scattered boxes of documents into a usable repository after Archbishop Casey reorganized the arch-diocesan archives in 1973. When Sister Elizabeth retired to the Sisters of Charity motherhouse in Cincinnati in 1981, Sister Ann Walter, OSB, stepped in to continue the archival mission of organizing, preserving, and providing public access to the priceless historical documents, photographs, manuscripts, records, and memorabilia beginning with Father Machebeuf's letters from 1860s Denver.

"Come in and see this fascinating corner of the chancery office," Sister Ann smiled in 1989. "Practically every day we get a new and unusual request and find some new jewel of information here, like the photo of the M nster Cathedral from Bishop Matz's cousin. It suggests that Matz had our basilica designed along the lines of his hometown cathedral." When Archbishop Casey arrived in Denver in 1967, sisters served primarily as either teachers or nurses. By the 1980s, however, they filled a maze of different ministries. Sister Rosemary Wilcox, recalled in a 1988 interview:

During the 1970s, we sisters were first allowed to start making our own choices about what we would be trained for and what work we wanted to do. Archbishop Casey supported this idea. He was a shy but strong Irishman. He would listen to all the pros and cons, then make a decision "in the best long-run interests of the Church." He was willing to take the flack for his decisions and didn't get defensive when people attacked him.
Shortly before his death, Archbishop Casey declared, according to the Denver Catholic Register of March 14, 1986:

I am sensitive to the fact that the changing role of women is hard for some to accept. Still, I hope that we can grow in our appreciation for the need and the beauty of their contribution. . . . I encourage all our people. . . to consider more seriously the tremendous possibilities for ministry in the Church by women and especially women religious. Their professional training, personal spirituality and unique talents contribute substantially to the Church's vitality.

Housing the needy

Perhaps the most dramatic achievement of a nun was a Herculean effort at housing the needy. This $25-million success story began after Martin Luther King was shot and killed at a Memphis motel on April 4, 1968. Archbishop Casey vowed to continue King's work, to do more for minorities and the poor. He set aside $1 million for this purpose and authorized his vicar general, Monsignor George Evans, to set up a housing program.

Evans had someone in mind. He had a talk with Sister Mary Lucy Downey, who had taken vows as a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth in 1954 and was teaching language arts and music to second graders at Annunciation School. This rosy-cheeked, twinkle-eyed daughter of a Butte, Montana, copper miner recalled in 1987:

After creation of the Archdiocesan Housing Committee, Inc. [AHCI] on December 16, 1968, I was the first staff person. Everyone thought housing for the poor and elderly was a great idea—but not in their neighborhood. We lost seventeen court battles trying to build our first housing project.

If only you could hear the stories of where some of our people were living—it would break your heart. Many of them are middle class people, widows who could be your own mom. They don't want or expect charity. They get stuck on the third story of a walkup and can barely get out. Or they are shuffled back and forth among relatives. Many live in substandard apartments with a shared bathroom down the hall or on another floor.

AHCI and Sister Mary Lucy completed the first project, a thirty-unit family complex at 801 South Monaco Parkway, in 1970, with the help of a $1,143,352 loan from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. This southeast Denver townhouse proved to be a successful prototype, a reasonably attractive development that blended into the neighborhood. By the end of 1970, three other low-income family housing sites were completed: twenty-six units at 3700 Humboldt; thirty units at 1900 South Raritan; and thirty units at 1300 South Irving. A second loan from Metropolitan Life in 1971 enabled AHCI to construct Glen Willow townhomes, a thirty-four-unit family project in Boulder.

Archdiocesan family housing achieved a turnover rate of about 25 percent. Most families moved out into private housing or became homeowners after finding or recovering their economic and social equilibrium. This track record encouraged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to fund Sister Mary Lucy's next project, a senior citizen high-rise. This was the first church-sponsored project in America to be funded by HUD, according to Sister Mary Lucy, who noted:

Before we began planning Cathedral Plaza, we visited every high-rise—including the luxury residences—and every senior center in Denver to see what worked best. We discovered that it's best not to hide the laundry room in the basement but to put it on the top floor with a sunny view because it's prime socialization space.

We learned to color code each floor of a high-rise so residents don't become disoriented and embarrassed. Within the high-rises, we found it was important to have a beauty parlor, a lounge, recreation areas, and a clinic.

But the most important thing is to provide a sense of family, of belonging and of loving. HUD's idea of senior housing is just bricks and mortar—no emotional or social support. They prescribe only one person, a manager, but we've snuck in a staff of eight people to do programs at Cathedral Plaza, to make sure that our residents enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Cathedral Plaza, located at 1575 Pennsylvania Street behind Immaculate Conception Cathedral, is a $4.5-million, eleven-story, 154-unit home that opened July 1, 1980. The elderly living there pay no more than a quarter of their monthly income for rent. Residents know each other because of the "buddy system" used in archdiocesan senior housing. If residents have not removed a crocheted ring from their door knobs by 10 A.M., their buddies investigate. Much of the work at Cathedral Plaza, the sister explained, is done by forty to fifty resident volunteers who handle such tasks as manning the front desk, setting table, cleaning up, and housekeeping. Sister Mary Lury elaborated:

This enables the nun whom HUD pays as our "janitor" to spend her time arranging social programs, classes, tours, and other activities. On birthdays we have a special celebration of life and interview the celebrity. We have so many wonderful people here with so many fascinating life stories. We're afraid we ll lose them before we really get to know them.
Cathedral Plaza soon had a long waiting list of would-be residents, which Sister Mary Lucy used to sell HUD on the next project. On April 23, 1981, AHCI completed a second HUD-sponsored senior high rise, Holy Family Plaza in the Holy Family church and school complex at 4300 Vrain Street in North Denver. This five-story, $4.5-million, 120-unit home has become an integral part of the two-block parish complex. Father Lawrence St. Peter, who as pastor of Holy Family welcomed the senior residence, told the story in "The Great Intergenerational Get-Together," in the February 1985 issue of Today's Parish. "The most exciting part of the Holy Family story," he wrote, "concerns parish efforts to integrate the Plaza residents into the total life of the parish." The seniors are urged to become "grandparents" for preschoolers, to supervise them on the playground, tell them stories, show them how to do crafts, and give them one-on-one attention. In Holy Family Grade School, Plaza residents serve as tutors for spelling, penmanship, reading, and other subjects. High schoolers learn oral history by interviewing residents and then staging "This Is Your Life" parties.

Sister Marie de Lourdes Falk, SCL, the director of Holy Family Plaza, also directs daily dances. "We dance with anybody," she boasted: "We dance alone, with each other, with the eighth graders and high schoolers. We've even gone out on the road to show other senior residents how to dance. It's splendid socialibility and great exercise."

Before the dances, Mae Padilla is swamped in "Mae's Angel Fingers Beauty Salon," the Plaza's "Place to Get a Faith Lift." Photographs of residents adorn the walls by the elevators to promote sociability; exercycles on each floor foster dance-floor mobility. The parquet oak dance-floor in Holy Family Plaza looks well-used, as do the walking trails outside. High school students in Holy Family's "Understanding the Elderly" class take residents for walks and talks. "Those high schoolers," Sister Marie de Lourdes reported, "have been able to get people up and out of here who thought they would never walk again. In exchange, our residents teach high schoolers how to play bridge, do crafts, and—of course—how to dance!"

Sister Theresa Madden, SL, of Denver's famous Madden clan of politicians, policemen, priests, saloonkeepers, and Sisters of Loretto, administered the third AHCI-HUD high-rise, Marian Plaza, a $4.2- million, eleven-story, 120-unit senior residence at 1818 Marion Street. "Marian Plaza is a beautiful building," Sister Theresa bragged during our 1987 interview.

We have a roof deck for sunning and mountain viewing behind our crenelated roofline, a whirlpool bath and a beauty shop, but most beautiful of all are the people here. We have both residents and senior day care clients, who for $15 a day get health monitoring, physical exercise classes, physical therapy, educational programs, nutritional meals, recreation, and socialization.
AHCI's successes in Denver led the Diocese of Cheyenne to enlist its aid in constructing St. Anthony Manor, a $3-million, sixty-four-unit senior residence in Casper, which opened in July 1984. Another Wyoming senior residence, the $1.4-million Holy Trinity Manor scheduled to open in 1989 in Cheyenne, will be managed by AHCI. Other AHCI-HUD projects have included St. Martin's Plaza, a $2.4 million, eight-story senior residence opened in 1988 at Marion Street and Bruce Randolph Avenue. The city of Denver provided the land, giving AHCI a ninety-nine-year lease for $1, and Mayor Federico Pe a joined Sister Mary Lucy at the groundbreaking on August 13, 1987, when he praised her "faith and commitment." Madonna Plaza, a three-story, fifty-unit residence, is scheduled to open in 1989 at East 62nd Avenue and Kearney Street in Commerce City. In East Denver at East 14th Avenue and Detroit Street, Higgins Plaza—with ninety independent living and eighteen assisted living units—is projected to open in 1990 on the site of the demolished St. Philomena Church.

Thus, Sister Mary Lucy became landlord of a $30-million housing operation and a certified property manager and real estate broker, who was elected the 1988 president of the Colorado Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Besides being executive director of AHCI and Housing Management Services, Inc., for the Archdiocese of Denver, she served in 1987-1988 as president of the association of HUD Managing Agents for Region VIII and as a national representative of the American Association of Homes for the Aging. "Just before he died," Sister Mary Lucy confided in 1987, "Archbishop Casey urged us to pursue our housing mission and talked about the need for nursing homes. I have been blessed to continue the work that he and Bishop Evans began in 1968."

In 1967, the Franciscan sisters closed St. Clara's Orphanage between West 26th and 29th avenues on Osceola Street. With the support of long-time benefactors such as Ernie Capillupo, proprietor of Ernie's Restaurant & Lounge, the sisters converted the orphanage to the John XXIII Center for retreats and meetings as well as a coffee house for youth. In 1972, the old orphanage was demolished and replaced by Francis Heights and Clare Gardens. Francis Heights is two high-rise residences for the elderly on what had been the orphanage athletic field. Residents of its 400 independent living units benefit from the Federal Rent Supplement Assistance funding of the 1968 Housing Act. Next door, Clare Gardens opened in 1973 as 128 subsidized family townhouses. The old orphanage gym is still used as a recreation center, and the two-story St. Clara's Orphanage bell tower was likewise preserved as a link with the past.

Together with the new housing facilities built by AHCI during the 1970s and 1980s, Clare Gardens, Francis Heights, St. Elizabeth Center, Mullen Home, and St. Joseph Home made the archdiocese a leader in housing the increasing percentage of the population who find themselves old and poor.

For homeless and troubled children, Mount St. Vincent Home has been a haven ever since February 15, 1883, when the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth opened the orphanage at 4159 Lowell Boulevard. Sister Daniel Stefani, SCL, director of Mount St. Vincent s, reported in 1988 that

since 1969 we have specialized in treating children with emotional, social, and academic difficulties. Over the course of the last 105 years, we have adapted our program to the changing needs of child care. Today the six sisters working here care for forty-five children in a resident program and sixteen in day treatment. We have a school and recreation program aimed at preparing children to return to their families or to foster homes and to community schools.
To celebrate their 105th anniversary in 1988, the Sisters of Charity opened another home, the Ryan Residence at 11485 West Exposition Avenue in Lakewood, for boys aged eleven to eighteen. A married couple supervise this operation in a conventional suburban ranch house, from which youngsters attend community schools and recreational facilities.

Samaritan Shelter

Archbishop Casey's last great project was housing for the homeless. Back in 1959, Monsignor Mulroy had suggested converting the Welcome Hotel at 1830 Larimer Street into a shelter for homeless men but dropped the idea after Archbishop Vehr and the St. Vincent de Paul Society showed little financial interest. Archbishop Casey proved to be more sympathetic; he earned his reputation as a gentle and good shepherd when unusually cold, snowy winters and the oil bust of 1983 exacerbated the situation in Denver. An estimated 1,750 were homeless and as many as 200 slept overnight on the pews in Holy Ghost Church. Hundreds more slept on office tower ventilation exhaust grates, in alley dumpsters and doorways, and in cardboard and newspaper nests under the Cherry Creek and South Platte River bridges.

The desperate plight of the homeless led Archbishop Casey to initiate a $50,000 crusade to convert Central Catholic High School to a shelter. The old basement cafeteria, which ninety years earlier had been the procathedral, was converted to a food line and 122-bed dormitory for men. A former classroom became a thirty-one-bed women s dormitory. Several second-floor classrooms were converted into quarters for families, with a nearby classroom recycled as a playroom.

Two other classrooms became storage areas for used clothing while another became a "store" where shelter residents could select secondhand clothing from racks and shelves marked small, medium, and large. In another former classroom, a resource center was launched to provide classes and materials and volunteer counseling on how to cope with poverty, alcoholism, drugs, and finding a job.

On Samaritan Shelter's opening night, November 8, 1983, it quickly reached maximum capacity of 175 men, women, and children and had to turn away more than 100 persons. In exchange for serving food with other volunteers, Samaritan Shelter supervisor Dorothy Leonard gave me a tour one night. This tall, trim young woman explained that the line outside on Logan Street consisted of applicants for the "first come, first served" numbered beds. The large number of applicants allowed the "Samaritan Sheraton" to turn down drunks and troublemakers. Applicants were screened for weapons, drugs, and liquor. Rejects were pointed in the direction of the Denver Rescue Mission at 23rd and Lawrence streets and the Salvation Army's "shelter of last resort" at 2141 Larimer Street. Once admitted to the "Samaritan Sheraton," homeless men, women, and children were allowed to stay up to twenty-eight days, provided they returned by 7 o clock every evening for the free dinner. "If they're not here by then," Dorothy Leonard said, "their bed is given to someone else." After a free breakfast, guests were required to leave by 8 A.M. to look for work, while the staff and volunteers prepared the inn for the next evening.

"Our goal," Leonard said,

is to get people back into jobs and their own living quarters. Many of our people have drug or mental problems. The main thing is just to talk to them, help them get over their difficulties and the shock of being here. We try to get them out and into happier situations but about 50 percent of our people ask for an extension—a second twenty-eight-day stay.
Although Dorothy must have been disappointed to see former residents return, she greeted several by their names, using both Spanish and English, with a hug for the children. While showing me the free "store" piled high with old clothes and shoes, Dorothy explained, "We sort this out using the criteria of keeping only what we would wear ourselves. We get so many clothes here that we ship some to other shelters, to Indian reservations, and to Mexico."

Following its 1983 opening, the Samaritan Shelter captured local and national media attention in People Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and on ABC television's "Night-line." Reverend Charles B. Woodrich, who had accepted homeless in his Holy Ghost Church and helped open Samaritan Shelter, became a public champion of the poor. Both local and national media broadcast his message, as quoted in The Denver Post, November 14, 1984:

A city is more than new soaring skyscrapers filled in the day and emptied by evening. It is people, a milling mix of diversity, that give a city its soul, that bring life to the architecture and the commerce. The rich and the poor are all part of the landscape although the poor are too often unfairly and summarily dismissed as useless, bereft of ambition and content with the minimum needed to sustain life. Our Samaritan Shelter has a different bottom line—one that stresses a caring, human dimension to restore the personal dignity of those who have been denied a sense of self-worth.
Samaritan Shelter, which was overcrowded and inadequate from the night it opened but still the "Sheraton" of homes for the homeless, concerned Casey. Federal, state, and local governments, which once had made the homeless a concern, all backed away from the problem. When the archdiocese received a windfall—$8.5 million for the air rights and land next to Holy Ghost Church—Casey knew what to do with it. With $2.4 million from the developers of the Holy Ghost property, he purchased the block of land bounded by Larimer, Lawrence, 23rd, and 24th streets.

Despite his fragile health, Casey made his last major public appearance at the July 31, 1985, groundbreaking for Samaritan House, wearing a sombrero for the festivities. The ailing archbishop declared: "The thing I m proudest about is the fact that Samaritan House is . . . welcoming every person who comes through that door with the dignity of a child of God."

Barker, Rinker, Seacat & Associates, the Denver architects who had designed several archdiocesan housing projects, were asked to create a dignified, elegant home that would, by its quality, refresh its residents. Samaritan House opened November 22, 1986, at 2301 Lawrence. The red brick structure with a landscaped courtyard contained 125 beds for men, forty-five for women, and eighty for families, as well as a chapel, recreation rooms and, offices. Father William Kraus, a young Kansas farmboy who had joined the Capuchins, became the first full-time director, in 1984, of the old Samaritan Shelter and also directed the new Samaritan House. During a 1988 tour and interview, he told me:

This time, for a change, the poor get to go first class! Usually shelters are recycled old buildings unwanted for anything else so they become human warehouses. This is the first home in the U.S. to be designed as a shelter. San Diego began work on a new shelter before we did but didn't complete their $11 million, 400-bed mission-style shelter until 1987.

Here we have an attractive building with a roomy outdoor deck occupying much of the second floor. Our Chapel of St. Francis is open twenty-four hours every day for quiet prayer, meditation, or just getting away from it all.

Samaritan House shows that the Denver archdiocese is serious about preferential options for the poor. And Isaiah reminds us that when we shelter the homeless our own wounds are healed, our prayers are heard, and our light shines. Therefore our new home not only ministers to the needy but also enriches all who care for the poor.

During 1987, its first full year, Samaritan House relied heavily on 300 volunteers to achieve a remarkable record:
  • 14,020 persons housed
  • 778,200 meals served
  • 2,986 medical clinic visits
  • 364 dental clinic visits
  • 47 families helped to self-sufficiency
  • 1,165 enrolled in jobs program
  • 411 full-time work placements

"The worst thing about operating Samaritan House," said Father Kraus, "is having to turn people away on nights when it's blizzarding outside. Fortunately, Central Presbyterian and Central Baptist churches have also now opened their basements to the homeless on the worst nights."

"The best thing," Father Kraus added,

is that we are able to place almost a third of our residents in full-time jobs that enable them to return to a normal living situation. About a third of our residents are mentally ill, and we work with Catholic Community Services, the Denver Department of Social Services, and the Veterans Administration—half of our men are veterans—to get them treatment. We've never had any real trouble here, although we have to kick someone out about once a week for disturbances. People are really appreciative of this shelter. They form a good, caring community that will come to the rescue of our staff when we get into trouble.
The new Samaritan House incorporates many of the rules and procedures worked out earlier at Samaritan Shelter. If they pass entry screening, new residents are registered, given a bed, a locker, and a cosmetic case with tooth brush, tooth paste, and shaving gear. They are asked to shower each morning. On their first day as residents, newcomers are required to work in the kitchen or on maintenance at Samaritan House. After thus getting acquainted with their new "family," they are given job counseling and sent out to look for employment.

Father Kraus adds, "If you need snow shoveling, grass mowing, house painting, leaf raking, or whatever, give us a call at Samaritan House. We suggest you pay at least $5 an hour. Even better, we hope to get our people into full-time permanent jobs. Samaritan House is just trying to get people back onto their feet."

Catholic Charities

Samaritan House was only the best-known of many projects launched during the Casey years. The archbishop elaborated on his concerns in the Denver Catholic Register of April 28, 1982: "We discover Our Lord in other people, and we love Him and help Him in serving the poor and afflicted. . . . Christ walks on every street and He expects us to recognize him. He is found in our nursing homes, in our prisons, in our hospitals, in our schools, among our neighbors."

Casey's commitment to the poorest of his flock led to the mushrooming of the small Catholic Charities office that Monsignor Mulroy had launched in 1927. Following the death of Monsignor Elmer Kolka, the second director of Catholic Charities, Archbishop Casey appointed William J. Monahan the third director in 1969. Monahan, the first trained master of social work to head Catholic Charities, closed Ave Maria Clinic and dropped the neighborhood health clinic approach. Instead, the sick poor were steered to the updated outpatient facilities in the three Catholic hospitals as well as to the neighborhood clinics opened in the 1960s by Denver's Department of Health and Hospitals.

Catholic Community Services was restructured in 1971 to create offices in Colorado Springs and Northern Colorado as well as Denver. Donald Dunn, Monsignor Monahan's assistant director, replaced him at the helm in 1974. Father Dunn found his office swamped with indigent needy. "The needs are so immense we are barely able to keep up," he told The Denver Post of January 24, 1975. "We give about $1,500 a month in direct aid to persons for food, shelter, clothing, help with back rent and utility payments." With encouragement from Archbishop Casey and Bishop Evans, Dunn, in 1976, set up the Office of Justice and Peace. Inspired by Pope Paul VI's declaration, "If you want peace first you must seek justice," this office tackled issues ranging from discrimination to renter's rights, from protesting the toxic waste and nuclear weapons produced at Rocky Flats to the high drop-out rate among Hispanic students.

Father Dunn also served as a national director of Catholic Charities, U.S.A., before leaving CCS in 1974, when he turned the agency over to James H. Mauck, the first lay director. Mauck, after earning his masters in social work at St. Louis University in 1965, went to work for Catholic Charities in his hometown of Wheeling, West Virginia, where he served as director from 1968 to 1974. "I applied for the Denver job," Mauck explained in a 1987 interview, "because Father Dunn and his predecessors had made Denver a nationally noted leader in Catholic Charity work. Dunn had pioneered a model parish outreach system and expanded the immigration program set up by Monsignor Monahan."

With the help of Father Dunn, who stayed with CCS until he left for the Monteria Mission in 1983, Mauck undertook to maintain and refine the ambitious CCS agenda. The Social Concerns Office, an outgrowth of the social activism of the 1960s and 1970s, strove to empower community and neighborhood groups to meet their own needs through community organizing, the parish social ministries, and an emergency assistance program. The last supplied food, clothing, housing, and friendship through various parish, outreach, and neighborhood assistance centers. It included programs such as the Food Bank Coalition and Operation Rice Bowl, which attempted to collect food and funds at the parish level. As of 1988, the archdiocese operated eight Emergency Assistance Centers.

Family and Children Services of CCS, consisted of Youth Ministry Services, Senior Centers, Marriage Preparation, and the Separated/Widowed/Divorced Ministry. With the closing of many Catholic schools, the archdiocese inaugurated several youth programs during the 1970s, including Catholic Youth Services, Hispanic Youth Ministry, Original Scene Theater program, and youth programs in each parish, while Camp St. Malo and Camp Santa Maria continued to be used as archdiocesan summer camps. Marriage preparation instruction at the parish level was also launched during the 1970s, as were ministries to counsel and comfort separated, divorced, widowed, and single Catholics.

The CCS Senior Centers program is directed by Ralph Lowder, who first went to work for the archdiocese in 1956 as a counselor at Vail Center. Senior Centers work with existing facilities (the Mullen Home, Clare Gardens, St. Elizabeth Center, and the new AHCI residences). Senior Centers also had a contract with the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) to operate Mulroy Senior Center at 3550 West 13th Avenue, a residence that the DHA erected in 1969 and named for one of its founding fathers—Monsignor Mulroy. Senior Services also operates the Alcott Senior Center at 3850 Alcott Street in a five-story senior home built by the DHA in 1980. Senior Centers opened the old St. Joseph School at 4626 Pennsylvania Street in the 1970s as St. Joseph Home for active and independent living. A senior camp was established at Camp Santa Maria in the autumn, after school began for youngsters. CCS Senior Services encouraged John Q. O Connell, CM, who since 1969 has been offering a television Mass for the sick and shut-in. Channel 2 carries this 7 A.M. Sunday Mass for Father O Connell's flock, which numbered around 30,000 viewers by 1988.

Ralph Lowder reported in 1987 that the senior services include pot-luck suppers, health screening, counseling, transportation, exercise classes, arts and crafts, friendly visiting, telephone reassurance, recreation, and information and referral services. Lowder observed that "Catholic Commmunity Services has been providing senior services ever since the 1930s at centers such as Little Flower, St. Anthony s, and Vail, long before senior centers became common in the 1960s."

As the man behind the mushrooming of Catholic Community Services, Archbishop Casey gave much time to thinking about social concerns and putting them into eloquent homilies and written statements. As he once said, "I must speak out, to remain silent would go against everything I believe."

His private side

Mrs. Frank McGlone, a neighbor and close friend, confided, in a 1987 interview:

The archbishop was a brilliant, shy, considerate man, really concerned more than most people realized. He loved learning, always surrounded himself with books. Thomas Merton was one of his favorite authors. He got up early and worked late in his home office, putting deep thinking and concern into his homilies and his pastoral letters. He would meditate for five to ten minutes on a homily even if it were only a Mass in his home for us and our children and grandchildren.
The McGlones and Archbishop Casey built neighboring homes on South Columbine Lane in the Columbine Valley neighborhood on the western edge of Littleton. Casey paid for the house with money he had inherited from his family, refusing to use archdiocesan funding. "The archbishop largely designed the house himself," recalls Doctor McGlone. "He built in a small swimming pool for lap swimming. He called me his athletic director and framed my prescription for him—morning and evening swimming and twice-a-week golfing. This helped him cope with the pressures of his job," McGlone added. "He said he loved golf because people didn't treat him like an archbishop on the course."

Casey also enjoyed driving around his archdiocese, relishing the anonymity of the open road on drives to visit outlying parishes. He brought a black Lincoln with him from Nebraska but swapped it in 1973 for a new dark blue Lincoln Continental Mark III, which he drove until 1981. Then he purchased a black Buick Rivera, followed in 1985 by his last car, a white Lincoln Continental. There were times when he could not drive those cars through the streets of Denver, when at the urging of police he traveled in unmarked cars to avoid radical confrontations. No matter how bad things got, Casey always reserved Wednesdays for golf with his cronies—McGlone, Jim Lannon, and Pete Smythe.

Smythe, a popular radio and television personality, recalled later:

He was a good man and so good to me and for me. It didn't matter that I was a non-Catholic. He called me the agnostic and we called him the Arch. He always had a twinkle in his eye and could figure out a situation and relate to all kinds of people better than anyone I've known.

Political protest

Casey learned from and appreciated Smythe as a consummate media man and began a series of KLDR talk radio appearances. Casey also continued and expanded televison coverage of the midnight Christmas Mass at Immaculate Conception. He welcomed media coverage, declaring, "Too often the Good News of Jesus Christ has been drowned out by the sheer volumne of the consumer gospel." Archbishop Casey eloquently addressed the issues of his time. Of Vatican II, he said, according to the Register of May 11, 1967:

There will be many changes in the church and changes bring confusion. But confusion, we must realize, is an unhappy but necessary by-product of any revolution; and the church is in the midst of a revolution. This is the early dawn of a new day with its chilly mists and grey skies, but noon-day will bring the warm, clear rays of sunlight.
In a 1970 letter to Richard M. Nixon, Casey respectfully urged the president "to set a definite date for the withdrawal of our American military personnel from Vietnam at the earliest possible moment." President Nixon replied in a friendly letter, saying he was negotiating a peace treaty. Denver's archbishop became one of the first American bishops to take a strong and controversial stance against America's intervention in the Vietnamese civil war. A year before the U.S. Conference of Bishops denounced militarism, Casey condemned nuclear war in his statement, Human Life and War:

Life is what our religious faith is all about; and war remains the greatest threat to human life. The Divine imperative: "thou shalt not kill" lies at the heart of the dialogue on human life. Let us all join our voices with Pope Paul VI and cry out to the world: "No more war; war never again."
On another occasion, the archbishop declared that:

This nuclear madness drains precious human resources and captivates our society in an endless maintenance of illusory "balance of terror." Quite simply, the people of the world are crying for food and health care, not for sophisticated, expensive weapon systems; they are crying for justice, not for a phony "security" based on the threat of international violence; they are begging for peace, not for endless displays of diplomatic brinksmanship.
The federal government eventually heeded the protests of its citizens and of such outspoken leaders as Archibishop Casey, withdrawing troops from Vietnam in 1973. When peace came, Archbishop Casey created the Immigration and Resettlement Office to help find homes for hundreds of war babies, and homes and jobs for refugees. Thus, Casey not only fought against an unjust war, he helped heal wounds and resettle victims when peace came.

To the end, Casey was a protestor. In the spring of 1978, he issued a pastoral letter calling for the conversion of the nuclear weapons plant at Rocky Flats to peaceful purposes. When President Ronald Reagan proposed his MX missile building program, Casey, according to the Rocky Mountain News of September 20, 1983, condemned it as "an escalation of the arms race which is unwise, unjustified and will be counterproductive."

Casey was not without his detractors. Widely publicized attacks by militant Hispanics included persistent criticism from Joseph Lara, pastor of Denver's Our Lady of Guadalupe Church until he left the priesthood. Some members of the United Mexican American Students, August 1969, demanded Casey's resignation after he rejected their demand for $100,000 in scholarships. When Casey agreed to administer a $40,000 grant from the National Catholic Campaign for Human Development to Corky Gonzales Crusade for Justice, he was criticized for catering to radicals. Archbishop Casey, it seemed, was "damned if he did and damned if he didn t."

Despite much painful publicity and embarrassing personal attacks, Casey continued to meet with Chicanos, agonized over their complaints, and tried to establish helpful agencies. In 1968, he created the Archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Concerns and in 1981 raised that office to the vicariate level. Eugenio Ca as was appointed the first vicar for Hispanics, who made up roughly a third of Colorado's Catholic population.

Casey's dogged efforts were rewarded, as Celia Vigil, archdiocesan director of Hispanic concerns, later recalled:

I saw the archbishop grow from a person who feared the Chicano community to a real shepherd who was concerned about all of his flock. . . . He was very concerned about the exodus of Hispanics from the Catholic Church. The people loved having the archbishop as the celebrant at their annual Mass for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. . . . The moment I will treasure is when he asked me for a hug.
The civil rights movement found an early supporter in Archbishop Casey, who wrote in 1966:

In the midst of unparalleled prosperity, American Negro people [suffer] degrading poverty [and] are denied equality in seeking jobs and housing for their families as well as the use of educational and recreational facilities. . . . Catholics[ who] were themselves descendants of immigrants are today beneficiaries of the equality and opportunity enjoyed in this country. Yet their cup of hate ran over as they sought to deny this same freedom and opportunity to the Negro American. These suffering, disadvantaged minority people are the real challenge of our day.
Acting against the advice of some who felt Denver had too many small, struggling parishes, Casey allowed blacks to operate their own parish, Curé D'Ars on Martin Luther King Boulevard, smiling on the "soul" Masses which used black musical traditions. Despite some protests from traditionalists, the lively Cur D Ars choir is now in demand at many other parishes. In 1972, Archbishop Casey authorized the creation of Ascension parish in the new northeast neighborhood of Montbello. Thus, he supported the only neighborhood in Colorado that was conceived, planned, and developed to be fully integrated, open to blacks, browns, whites, and anyone else.

Ecumenism

Archbishop Casey often spoke of the Christian, rather than just the Catholic community, emphasizing the commonality, not the differences, among Christians. Under Casey, the archdiocese first joined the ecumenical alliance known as the Colorado Council of Churches. In 1969, the Colorado Conference of the United Church of America named Casey its "Churchman of the Year," giving its award to a Catholic for the first time.

Shortly before his death, Casey startled some Catholics by allowing participation in the Reverend Billy Graham's 1987 Denver Crusade. The preaching of this famous Southern Baptist, Casey explained, helped focus attention on problems of concern to all Christians. At a joint Protestant-Catholic Prayer Service, Casey spoke on "the scandal of Christian disunity":

Christ desires unity in His Church. . . . What we must do now is to make ourselves worthy of the gift of unity. The success of ecumenism is measured by the depth of self-renewal it inspires in us. The road ahead to unity is long and difficult, but we are unafraid.
Stephen Singular, a star Denver scribe, interviewed Casey for the December 1981 Denver Magazine. Singular reported that the archbishop's "face is sober and shows a long life of sacrifice and service. His mouth is downturned and sad and there is a perpetual strain around his eyes." Casey told Singular, "I see the problems of the church . . . all the money and personnel problems . . . much more than the joys of the Catholic Community. . . . I may not have done a very good job at times, but at least my life was centered on eternal and spiritual values."

The archbishop then presented the central theme of his Denver years:

As a Catholic in the 1940s and 50s, you could feel that if you didn't eat meat on Friday and went to Mass on Sunday and took the sacraments once a year, then you were a saint. . . . People loved to be dependent and just let the priests be responsible for them. Today, it has become much more complex. Each person must look inside himself and make moral and religious decisions in every aspect of his life. This takes maturity and a sense of responsibility and a growing up on the part of the laity.

His last days

While golfing on October 27, 1984, Casey burst a major blood vessel in his abdomen. Recovering from this near-fatal blow, he contracted hepatitis in the hospital. When he returned to work on April 18, 1985, his baggy black suit, loose clerical collar, and wizened visage suggested he would never really recover. Yet, the archbishop began planning for the 1987 centennial of the archdiocese. He suggested that a history of each parish be written for the centennial, which he described as "an opportunity to reflect on our faith, and particularly on the history of the faith as it has grown and flourished in Colorado."

Archbishop Casey did not live to see the centennial year. On March 1, 1986, the seventy-one-year-old archbishop was found unconscious in his bedroom. A blood clot the size of a lemon was removed from his brain the next day during a four-hour operation at St. Joseph Hospital. The stricken prelate received hundreds of prayers and letters, including one from David Beaudoin, a third-grader at Risen Christ Parish in Denver:

O my God. Pleas make bishop Casey better. Care for him. With all your hart. If he dies, put him in hevin.
Casey would have chuckled over that, but he never regained consciousness. After receiving the last rites from Father Lawrence St. Peter, the gentle shepherd died at 11:47 A.M., March 14, 1986. His last letter was to the state legislature, urging passage of a bill to provide potable water and portable toilets for migrant workers.

Banks of yellow and white flowers against a backdrop of Lenten purple did little to cheer mourners squeezing into the cathedral, where Casey's body lay in state for three days. On the third day—Friday, March 21, 1986—Archbishop Pio Laghi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, officiated at the Mass of Christian Burial. Protestant clergy, rabbis, and Orthodox bishops joined thirty-two of Casey's fellow bishops for the rite. Reverend Edward Hoffmann, Casey's former chauffeur, secretary, and chancellor, flew home from Rome to deliver the homily:

Archibshop Casey was patient and compassionate, even when I lost his Bronco season tickets—which is a mortal sin worthy of special condemnations. He invited others to be involved in the programs he began. How much easier it would have been to select a small group, a chosen few, to perform and thus avoid the uncertainties and difficulties that inevitably rise when breaking new ground. Archbishop Casey's programs are not just his—they are ours because of his confidence in us.
A chorus of Coloradans, clerics and laity alike, shared their thoughts. Denver's mayor, Federico Pe a, said, "As Archbishop Casey lived, so he died, with dignity, grace and courage. . . .The archbishop was a true and natural leader who fought for the causes of justice, humanity and goodness. The city of Denver mourns him."

Vicar General Michael Chamberlain reflected on his experiences of working closely with the archbishop. "He was always around when you needed him. If you had something personal to talk about he'd be there. He was just an incredibly understanding person. . . . He wasn t a person who took himself too seriously. . . . He knew when to be a boss and when not to be."

William C. Frey, Episcopal bishop of Colorado added that:

The whole Christian community has lost a great friend and a great leader. . . . I think he was the most unassuming archbishop I've ever known. There was a deep simplicity and spirituality to him which was very winsome and impressive. . . . The monuments to him are not etched in bronze and stone, but they are alive in the poor and the hope for justice and peace.
Governor Richard D. Lamm of Colorado concluded:

There aren't many people I would call inspired or inspiring, but I've watched Archbishop Casey's career and seen the impressive way he joined people of all faiths in working towards common goals. What he believed was the wellspring of everything he did. He didn't just talk about the relevance of religious belief, he lived it.

His early days before Denver

Nothing in the background of this shy farm boy prepared him for the chaotic 1960s and 1970s. Jimmy Casey was born September 22, 1914, in Osage, Iowa, a corn-belt village 120 miles northeast of Des Moines. He was the second of two children of Nina (Nims) and James Casey, a farm machinery dealer, state senator, and postmaster of the town of 3,500 people. Despite Jimmy's antics—such as sawing the handles off a neighbor's wheelbarrow—his father never yelled at him or lost his temper. He set an example of patience perpetuated by the future archbishop.

At Osage High School, Jimmy began to shine. He was elected senior class president and captain of the football team. He played clarinet in the band and made the basketball, debate, drama, and track teams. "He was a terrific athlete, an over-achiever who loved competition," recalled Jimmy's high school coach. "He made up for his small stature by his scrappiness." Despite his passion for competitive sports and his natural leadership, Jimmy Casey also had a shy, solitary side reflected in the poetry he began writing at the age of eight. After some of his poems were published in the Des Moines Sunday Register, townsfolk dubbed him "the child poet laureate of Osage."

Casey majored in philosophy at Loras College, a Catholic institution in Dubuque, Iowa. After graduating in 1936, he entered the seminary, spending four years at the North American College in Rome before ordination on December 8, 1939. Father Casey said his first Mass in one of the chapels of St. Peter's Basilica. In 1940, Father Casey sailed home to America. From the glory and grandeur of Rome, he went to the assistant pastorate at St. John parish in Independence, Iowa, where he taught in the high school and coached boys and girls basketball. Interviewed forty-two years later, a member of his championship girls basketball team remembered Coach Casey fondly:

He used to come over to the gym after supper to shoot baskets with us and give us some pointers. . . . He was so proud of us that he set up games in other towns with teams who were not on our regular schedule just so he could show us off. . . . He had this wonderful way of bringing out the best in everybody.
In 1944, the young priest joined the World War II effort as a chaplain in the Navy. He spent two and a half years in the South Pacific, reaching the rank of lieutenant. From 1946 to 1949, he studied canon law at the Catholic University of America, receiving his doctorate in 1949. Doctor Casey quipped that his dissertation, A Study of Canon 2222, Paragraph One, had more footnotes (421) than pages (127).

Archbishop Henry P. Rohlman of Dubuque recruited Casey in 1949 as his secretary. Father Casey served as president of the Canon Law Society of America, directed the Family Life Bureau of the Dubuque diocese, was chaplain of the Mount Carmel house of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and was moderator of the Catholic Lawyers Guild. Pope Pius XII, whom Casey had met in Rome, named him a monsignor in 1952. By his own admission, Casey was "playing hooky" on the golf course in April 1957, when Archbishop Leo Binz tried to reach him with the news that Pope John XXIII had appointed him auxiliary bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska.

"When we were told to lie prostrate on the floor," Casey recalled later of his consecration ceremony on April 24, 1957, "I could hear someone asking, Are they dead? " Nebraskans found their new bishop all too lively. "Most of us just shook our heads," recalled Monsignor Clarence Crowley of Lincoln in an interview with the Denver Catholic Register of April 28, 1982. "And while we were shaking our heads, [Casey s] projects not only were accomplished in short order, but were so successful that we were all in a state of amazement." Lincoln's builder bishop erected a new chancery building and an ultramodern, sleek Cathedral of the Risen Christ. He completed a school for retarded youngsters, a retreat house, high schools, grade schools, and a Newman Center. He also undertook the painful task of closing and combining some Catholic schools, a process he would continue in Denver.

Bishop Casey, concluded the Southern Nebraska Register, "accomplished more for the Diocese of Lincoln in 10 years than any other comparable period in our history." After establishing his reputation as a doer in Lincoln, Bishop Casey was appointed on February 22, 1967, by Pope Paul VI, to succeed Archbishop Urban J. Vehr in Denver.

His early days in Denver

The sound of trumpets and the prayers of 1,600 Coloradans welcomed Casey to his installation ceremony as archbishop of Denver; a pageant that included white-clad Dominicans, Jesuits in black, Franciscans in brown, and monsignori in purple. Rabbis in yarmulkes, Orthodox bishops in their beards and black robes, and Protestant clergymen added an ecumenical note to the solemn two-hour installation. Retiring Archbishop Vehr led his fifty-two-year old successor across the sanctuary to the episcopal chair, where he was installed by Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi, the apostolic delegate. Casey's eyes glistened with tears as he was handed the shepherd's staff, a symbol of his care for a new flock—the 261,944 Catholics in the Denver archdiocese.

Television crews from channels 2 and 7 captured Casey's humble words that day: "I do not come to you as one thinking he has all the answers. I do not even know all the questions. I come among you poor and weak but with a special role to fill as your archbishop and your shepherd. Please pray for me." Afterwards, prominent Coloradans of all faiths joined the installation banquet in the Onyx Room of the Brown Palace Hotel, where cigars and the cordial wagon were circulated after the meal.

At his first Denver press conference, Casey squinted into a battery of cameras, microphones and television lights. Asked about a new Colorado law permitting abortions, Casey quipped, "It happened before I got here." Then he added seriously, "I have moral convictions about this, but also, as a good citizen, I recognize the authority of civil law, and I respect the good faith and conviction of others."

In his first year, Denver's new archbishop appointed a full-time director of religious vocations, sanctioned Masses in private homes and started an archdiocesan census and school study. He gave nuns and priests greater control over their assignments by establishing the archdiocese's first Sisters Council and Priestly Personnel Board. The "fresh air" promised by Vatican II flowed into the Archdiocese of Denver, where the new archbishop's office was dominated by a large oil painting of Pope John XXIII. Archbishop Casey's sense of humor and mature spirituality were part of the change. Virginia Culver of The Denver Post noted:

His candor could be refreshing. He was a priest who readily confessed that he disliked hearing confessions— Sometimes a priest can be helpful, but there are an awful lot of scrupulous people. And it's hard to talk them out of their scrupulosity. Staying cooped up in that little confession box and hearing piddling sins is reallly uncomfortable for me. Returning from a national bishops conference on human sexuality, he once joked, "If God had spoken to me in the beginning, I would have advised some other means of procreation than sex. Sex creates a lot of problems."
Whereas Archbishop Vehr had lived as a prince of the Church, Casey chose a different lifestyle. The archdiocese had purchased for him a large home at 869 Vine Street near Cheesman Park. Casey, who often said he came to serve, not to be served, declined the offered services of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood who had cared for Archbishop Vehr. He moved into the large house with his housekeeper from Lincoln, Emily Mar-stradoir, and his handyman, Leonard Biskup, the brother of Archbishop George J. Biskup of Indianapolis. In 1972, Casey moved out of the Cheesman Park mansion and into a penthouse at the Park Lane Apartments on the northern edge of Washington Park. Emily and Leonard, his faithful servants, moved into private residences in Littleton, commuting to work for the archbishop. Casey, who preferred to cook his own meals and read while eating, was delighted with his new-found freedom.

One of Archbishop Casey's first moves in Denver was to invade Mile High Stadium, the corral of the Denver Broncos. Since this professional football club's formation in 1960, they had inspired a major cult that the archbishop joined. Casey joked that the 75,000-seat stadium was the largest church in Colorado and cleared his schedule for the Sunday rituals there. In 1967, he announced a rally at the stadium to launch his "Year of Faith" for the archdiocese. Despite freezing weather, 30,000 Catholics joined him for the services. Coloradans needed faith. Not only were the world, the country, and the Church experiencing trying times: That fall the Oakland Raiders demoralized the Broncos, 51 to 0. Casey's Year of Faith proved to be a successful recharging of Colorado Catholicism, and that fall the Broncos went to the Super Bowl.

Expansion of parishes and chancery

Archbishop Casey's faith must have been bolstered by the glorious day in August 1967, when he created four new parishes. The Church of the Risen Christ in Southeast Denver took the name and used the same dramatic contemporary architecture as Casey's cathedral back in Lincoln. The other three churches served Denver's booming suburbs, which outgrew the city's core during the 1960s. Aurora emerged as the third largest city in Colorado and Lakewood the fourth largest by 1980. Both of these suburbs, as well as the flourishing neighboring towns of Arvada and Littleton, received two new churches during the Casey years. On the outskirts of the metro area, new parishes were founded in Boulder, Conifer, and Wattenberg. Four thriving ski-resort towns—Dillon, Eagle, Snowmass, and Winter Park—earned new parishes, as did the fast growing Northern Colorado towns of Fort Collins, Longmont, and Windsor. Of the twenty-four parishes Archbishop Casey dedicated, all but seven were in the booming Front Range urban corridor between Littleton and Fort Collins.

Reflecting Casey's commitment to Vatican II, these new churches were dramatically different from earlier ones. Not only did modern architecture distinguish them; they were built and operated with considerable input from the laity. Not one had the traditional Catholic school so important to Casey's predecessors. Rather, they had classrooms for after-public school and weekend religion classes, business offices, and reconciliation rooms instead of confessionals.

Whereas Archbishop Vehr strove to create a parish within walking distance of every Denver Catholic, Archbishop Casey felt that in the age of automobiles and freeways larger parish boundaries were possible; huge suburban parishes were also a way to deal with the declining number of nuns and priests. Perhaps they were also something of a reaction to the many struggling core city parishes: Denver's ten suburban parishes averaged over 2,000 registered families while the average core city parish had less than 400.

From the day Casey took over, his chancery seemed under siege by protesters. The Church, like the local, state, and federal governments, was picketed by militants demanding more for the poor and for minorites. Between 1968 and 1970, reformers camped in front of the chancery and the cathedral. Julia "Julie" Boggs, the archbishop's long-time secretary, said she will never forget the day a protester burst into the chancery carrying a cross to dramatize his demands. In a 1987 interview, she recalled the scene:

Here was this new archbishop from nice, quiet Lincoln, Nebraska and those [expletive deleted] camped out in two pup tents in front of the chancery. Two of their leaders were renegade priests. Because of all the threats we had to take the archbishop out the back door. To make matters worse, his first chancellor ran off with his first secretary. That's when George Evans recruited me. They knew I wouldn't run off with a priest. They're too damn spoiled!

Despite all the picketing and the protesters, Archbishop Casey absolutely would not say anything bad about them. He was the most compassionate, caring man. A lot of very troubled people came to see him and I can't remember one who didn't leave his office looking relieved.

Inside the besieged chancery, Archbishop Casey began working to expand archdiocesan services, many of which accommodated groups who were protesting his inaction. Between 1967 and 1986, Casey transformed a tiny office where three priests often did their own typing to a bureaucracy of 170 employees. Often using lay personnel, the archbishop created many new offices: Aging; Campus Ministry; Catholic Youth Services; Chicano Concerns; Data Processing; Family Life Services; Handicapped Services; Housing, Justice, and Peace; Major Giving; Parish Services; Priestly Personnel; Prison Ministry; Pro-Life; Single Adults; and the Renew Program. With this battery of new programs, Archbishop Casey set about implementing the reforms of Vatican II and transforming the Denver archdiocese.

The Denver Catholic Register

The new archbishop critically scrutinized the main claim to fame of the Mile High archdiocese—the Register system of newspapers. After Monsignor Matthew Smith's death in 1960, Monsignor John B. Cavanagh became editor. Cavanagh had worked on the paper ever since his ordination in 1936, first in the editorial department, then in circulation. As editor, he installed modern, high-speed Goss Headliner presses and, in 1960, added typesetting machines.

Monsignor Cavanagh suffered a heart attack in 1965 and retired on October 10, 1966. Daniel Flaherty, who had been with the Register since his ordination in 1954 and had launched the paper's military edition, assumed the editorship. Despite the efforts of the organization Smith had built up, the Register s circulation dwindled after his death. Many of the diocesan editions became independent, and new publications began eating away at the empire. When Archbishop Casey arrived in 1967, the Register was losing $728,000 a year. To plug this financial drain, Casey sold the national network to Twin Circle Publishing Company of Culver City, California, which printed the paper in Texas. For a few months, the Texans even printed the home edition of the Register before Archbishop Casey brought it back to Denver.

After several short terms by lay editors, Archbishop Casey selected one of his most colorful and outspoken priests for the job—Father Charles Bert "Woody" Woodrich. This Buffalo, New York, native had worked for a New York City advertising agency before coming to Denver's St. Thomas Seminary. Archbishop Casey appointed Woodrich archdiocesan information director on June 12, 1968, acting editor of the Register in 1972, and editor in 1977. Editor Woodrich soon transformed the paper:

I asked Casey for directions but he told me that I was the editor and should know what to do. One thing we did agree on was that we didn't need a newspaper to compete with the Post and the News, but more of a specialized Catholic news- and feature-oriented publication. I decided to be absolutely open with the press. When Casey's chancellor ran off with his secretary, we didn't hide it. We let out everything and it blew over in twenty-four hours. You only get in trouble when you're hiding things.

I couldn't type, write, or spell but tried to make the Register exciting and readable. I never did a column but made the paper a forum for readers opinions. I emphasized headlines, graphics, and introduced color photographs. And under Jim Pierson we jumped from $80,000 a year to $800,000 a year in advertising income. And we went from 14,000 to 82,000 in circulation. I wasn't a Monsignor Matthew Smith poring over words—over the minutiae—I just wanted the paper to look good, to have sex appeal.

In 1983, Father Woody turned over the editorship to a long-time staff member, James Fiedler. By 1987, when Woodrich retired as executive editor and was replaced by Robert H. Feeney, the Register had evolved into a 30 to 40 page-tabloid. Circulation climbed to more than 85,000 by 1988, making it the most popular weekly newspaper in Colorado.

Growth of the chancery

Sale of the newspaper left Casey with the large plant in the 900 block of Bannock Street. In 1971, he moved the chancery from the crowded old Matz home at 1536 Logan Street into the Register building, where he also found room for various archdiocesan offices that had been scattered around the city. The old chancery was demolished to build a new rectory for the cathedral. For four years, Casey supervised the archdiocese from the old newspaper building before buying the Bankers Union Life Building for $2.25 million. This modern, granite-clad, six-story office building at 200 Josephine Street has been the home of the archdiocese ever since. When the archdiocese first moved in in 1975, critics protested the move as extravagant and fussed about the other major tenant—the Central Intelligence Agency.

To orchestrate the multiplying archdiocesan programs, Casey recruited the executive director of the National Council of the Catholic Laity in Washington, D.C., Martin Work. Work began in Denver in 1970 as director of administration and planning. Besides being a skillful administrator, Work also exemplified Casey's plan to bring lay people into church administration. Work and Casey had met at Vatican II, where they had labored together on recommendations for expanding the role of the laity. Together, the two men began promoting the idea of lay councils and business managers for parishes. For priests accustomed to full control of their parishes, this was not always easy.

In 1972, Work began issuing public financial reports. In the September 20, 1973, Register, the archdiocese announced that it was finally operating in the black. Instead of relying on high-interest, short-term bank loans, as in the past, Casey used bond issues. After tabulating income and expenditures for all the parishes, schools, institutions, agencies, and the chancery, the archdiocese ended the 1973 fiscal year with a surplus of $1,061,900. The $19,124,600 budget that year included $14 million for parishes and parish schools, $1.1 million for community services, $1 million for high schools, and $1.2 for general operations. By 1985, Casey's last full year of life, the budget had climbed to over $45 million. Archbishop Casey and Martin Work tightened central administrative control, consolidating all parish and institutional debt. In 1978, they opened the Office of Major Giving under the direction of Reverend John V. Anderson, who subsequently raised about $2 million a year. By the 1980s, the archdiocese had a top bond rating—AAA—and enough investments and assets to cover its $10-million bonded indebtedness, according to archdiocesan director of real estate and investments, Bill McCook. Reverend Michael J. Chamberlain, who served Casey in the chancery office in various positions before succeeding Bishop Evans as vicar general in 1985, reported:

Before Casey and Work set up the business office, pastors had much more discretion, could squirrel away funds in Altar and Rosary Society treasuries or wherever. Consequently, the archdiocese did not know what its resources were and what it could do. Casey's idea was to make the chancery a resource center for all the parishes. He also used this consolidation to establish better employee salaries, health care, and retirement benefits.
Reverend Edward M. Hoffmann, who served Casey as secretary and chancellor, described the archbishop as "a careful administrator who assigned responsibilities and then put great confidence in his assistants. He delegated much responsibility and gave much freedom to his subordinates. That made him wonderful to work for." "He would talk to anybody," recalled Julie Boggs, "so I became his watchdog."

People were constantly interrupting him. Finally, we installed a secret buzzer system so he could push the button hidden under his desk and I would dash in to say his next appointment was waiting. I had to shoo people out so he could lunch on the clam chowder and corned beef on rye sandwiches I made for him.

Bishop George Evans

Father Edward Hoffmann recollected in a 1987 interview that Casey wanted work done on the most appropriate level of the bureaucracy. If a decision had to be made at the top, Casey would discuss it in staff meeting, solicit advice, and then make the decision. After Martin Work retired in 1984, Casey came to rely most heavily on Bishop Evans. Other members of Casey's inner circle jokingly called Evans the "vicar for everything."

Born in Denver on September 25, 1922, Evans attended St. Vincent de Paul grade school, where the parish center now is named in his honor. Afterwards, the lanky youth sailed through Regis High School, Notre Dame University, and St. Thomas Seminary before his ordination on May 31, 1947. Evans earned a doctorate in canon law at the Lateran University in Rome in 1950. Upon his return to Denver, Archbishop Vehr appointed him vice-chancellor. Named a monsignor in 1960, Evans succeeded Monsignor Gregory Smith as vicar general in 1968. On April 23, 1969, Evans was installed as the auxiliary bishop of Denver.

In 1971, Bishop Evans amazed some observers by moving into a one-bedroom unit of archdiocesan housing at 1300 South Irving Street. The bishop felt it took "first hand, living-in experience to make one sensitive to the problems of the people who live in our projects" and "that even a bishop can be happy in the kind of housing we're running."

Bishop Evans maintained that "the role of the church should be that of the conscience of our society, alerting it to the problems and providing examples for their solution." Although Archbishop Casey shied away from public demonstrations, he encouraged Evans to represent the Church at antiwar and social justice rallies. With singing stars Judy Collins and John Denver, Evans addressed 30,000 anti-Vietnam war demonstrators gathered at the Colorado State Capitol on June 15, 1972, for an "Evening of Peace." When several Sisters of Loretto were charged with trespassing at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant, Bishop Evans went to court with them. He took a public stand against the death penalty; he lobbied the state legislature on behalf of the poor, the elderly, and the homeless. When Southeast Asian refugees sought a home in Colorado, Evans spearheaded the archdiocesan placement efforts and personally adopted one family.

This tall, wiry bishop seemed to be everywhere. After Martin Luther King's assassination, Evans rode through Five Points with black militant Lauren Watson "to show a justifiably angry black community that some in the white community were listening." He marched with César Chávez and the United Farm Workers in California, trying to unionize migrant laborers. He conducted a protest prayer in 1984 on a railroad track over which nuclear weapons were scheduled to pass and joined Governor Richard D. Lamm in condemning deployment of MX missiles in the Rocky Mountain West. When giving Bishop Evans the 1984 B'nai Brith Humanitarian Award, the regional director of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League called him "the most energetic person I've ever worked with." Evans served as a board member and chair of the AMC Cancer Research Center, as a board member of the Auraria Higher Education Center, and as the president of the Colorado Council of Churches. Evans further championed ecumenism as president of the Denver Area Interfaith Clergy, a group he helped found. He also startled some Catholics by publicly sharing a Passover meal with Rabbi Daniel Goldberger of Temple Emanuel.

The bishop's private as well as his public life exemplified charity. Evans federal income tax forms in the archdiocesan archives reveal a total 1983 income of $11,612, of which he gave away $7,070, including $1,420 to the Colorado Women's Employment and Education Fund and $2,600 to the Sisters of the New Covenant, an ecumenical sisterhood that had settled in Commerce City in 1981. "Bishop Evans was super special," reported Sister Rosemary Keegan, SL, in a 1986 interview. "He was especially good to sisters and to the Sisters Council. After Vatican II he helped sisters move up and into all sorts of jobs." As a defender of women's rights, Evans spoke out in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment to give women equal protection under the federal constitution. Outlaw women also had Evans ear; for years he heard confessions and said Masses for them in the Denver County Jail. Bishop Evans attended countless meetings and once quipped: "If I get to purgatory and find out that all these meetings don't count, that'll be hell." Evans had to go to many more meetings after October 1984, when Archbishop Casey was hospitalized for months. Thanks in part to his noon matches at the Denver Tennis Club, Evans never exceeded his high school weight of 155. Despite his physical fitness, friends saw him age rapidly trying to fill in for the ailing archbishop. He died on Friday, September 13, 1985, at St. Joseph Hospital, after a painful four-month battle against cancer of the colon.

Ignoring his own illness, Archbishop Casey insisted upon saying the funeral Mass at the cathedral for his beloved colleague. Governor Lamm eulogized Evans as "always on the cutting edge of life and—-in my mind—that is the highest expression of religious conviction. He brought a tremendous vitality to his faith and to his community." Bishop William C. Frey, shepherd of Colorado's Episcopalians, noted that he hesitated to pray that Evans rest in peace because "resting in peace was the last thing George wanted in life."

Bishop Richard C. Hanifen

Archbishop Casey's second auxiliary bishop was, like Evans, a Denver native. Richard C. Hanifen came from a clan with deep roots in Colorado. His grandfather, Edward Anselm Hanifen, Sr., immigrated from Canada to Leadville during the 1880s silver boom, ultimately becoming a successful mine owner whose properties poured forth not only silver but also lead and zinc. The bishop's father, Edward A. Hanifen, Jr., cofounded a leading Colorado investment firm—Hanifen, Imhoff, Inc. Richard, the third of four children, was born June 15, 1931. He attended St. Philomena School in the parish where his family was active and prominent. His mother, Dorothy Ranous Hanifen, recalled that the future bishop as a boy sat in the front pew at daily Mass so that if one of the altar boys did not show up, "he'd get that extra chance to serve Mass."

After graduating from Regis High School and College, Hanifen entered St. Thomas Seminary. He was ordained in 1959 by Archbishop Vehr, who encouraged the young priest to pursue a masters degree in guidance and counseling at Catholic University and a degree in canon law at the Lateran College in Rome. Following stints at Our Lady of the Mountains in Estes Park and at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Hanifen was chosen by Archbishop Casey as his chancellor in 1970. Impressed by Hanifen's pastoral abilities, Casey worked with Rome to elevate him to the rank of auxiliary bishop in 1974. A year later, Casey created the vicariate of Colorado Springs in that rapidly growing city and put Hanifen in charge as the vicar. When Colorado Springs was made a diocese on January 30, 1984, Hanifen was selected as its first bishop by Pope John Paul II.

Archbishop Pio Laghi, the papal nuncio, assisted by Archbishop Casey and Bishop Arthur Tafoya of the Diocese of Pueblo, installed Hanifen as the crosier carrier of Colorado Springs in a ceremony at the Pike s Peak Center. Hanifen, an easy-going and friendly leader, transformed this long-time stepchild of the Denver archdiocese into a proud and independent diocese. In 1984, the baby diocese contained ten counties—Chaffee, Cheyenne, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Kit Carson, Lake, Lincoln, Park, and Teller—with a combined population of approximately 65,000 Catholics.

St. Mary's Church in downtown Colorado Springs became the cathedral of the new diocese, which encompassed 15,560 square miles, twenty-four parishes, ten missions, fifty priests, 230 sisters, five grade schools, and one high school. Of his plans for the new diocese, Hanifen told the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph on January 21, 1984: "A bishop should not be a glaring watch dog of orthodoxy but a good shepherd of his flock." On September 5, 1984, Hanifen launched The Catholic Herald, a monthly diocesan newspaper.

Archbishop Casey gave the new diocese a $3-million "dowry," enabling Colorado's third diocese to make a sound, debt-free debut. Bishop Hanifen graciously accepted what he called "a Christmas present of memorable proportions." Years later, Hanifen would express his appreciation for less tangible gifts from the archbishop. "He was a man of gentleness but also courage. It was his vision which eventully brought about the formation of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. Catholics of the Colorado Springs diocese will always be grateful for his love and leadership."

Catholic school closings

All in the archdiocese was not growth, however. While his predecessors, particularly Archbishop Vehr, had gloried in opening Catholic schools, Casey undertook the thankless task of closing and consolidating them. Initially, Casey hoped to solve the financial crunch in Catholic education by enlisting state support, advocating the voucher system whereby parents could direct that their educational taxes go to a school of their choice. But in 1971, the state legislature voted down this proposal to help nonpublic schools. Monsignor William H. Jones, the superintendent of Catholic schools, remembered school-closing and consolidation as one of the toughest issues bedeviling Archbishop Casey:

We had to tackle the consolidation question. The numbers of teaching nuns, teaching priests, and pupils were all declining. If we ever hoped to have new schools in new parishes, we had to consolidate the many Catholic schools of the core city. We tried to look at every alternative. Notre Dame University did a school study for us. Our appointed Catholic School Board looked at the question in detail, we held public meetings. Every parish was given a vote on whether or not it would support keeping those high schools open. The majority felt they could not afford to. We decided that consolidation was the answer.
By closing some of the more poorly attended schools, the archdiocese hoped to pump limited personnel and resources into the survivors. Although this rationale seemed painfully obvious to the chancery office, implementation generally provoked controversy and criticism. Such was the case in 1973 when the archdiocese announced, in the Denver Catholic Register: "To improve the facilities for the Catholic high school students of Denver, it was decided to establish a new Central Catholic High School by consolidating Cathedral, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Joseph High Schools."

As Sacred Heart had closed in 1939 and Annunciation and Mount Carmel during the 1960s, the core city was left with only one Catholic high school. Critics, of whom there was no shortage in the 1970s, charged that Casey was abandoning the poor in the inner city. This uproar had hardly subsided when the decision came in 1982 to close Central Catholic High School nine years after its opening. Casey had never attended Catholic schools until college, and some felt this explained his apparent lack of commitment to Catholic education. Denver, which once had eleven Catholic high schools, now had only two archdiocesan high schools (Holy Family and Machebeuf) and four private ones (Mullen, Regis, St. Mary's Academy, and Marycrest, which would close in 1988). Of the twenty-three Catholic high schools in Colorado during the 1950s, only six remained open as of 1989.

Regis High School, which became a separate entity from Regis College in 1923, broke ground in 1988 for a new, twenty-seven-acre campus at the northeast corner of Parker and Arapahoe roads. This suburban, Arapahoe County site was donated by Richard Campbell, a trustee of the school. Plans were laid to sell the old high school site at 5232 Lowell Boulevard to Regis College to help finance the new high school, estimated to cost more than $5 million, according to high school president Ralph Houlihan, SJ. Mullen High School, which had opened in 1931 as a boys orphanage and dairy, evolved into a boarding school ten years later. In 1965 Mullen became a day student-only high school and in 1989 began admitting girls. Catholic elementary schools, which continued to be supported primarily by the parishes, survived the 1960s and 1970s in greater numbers than did high schools. When Archbishop Casey came to Denver in 1967, the archdiocese boasted seventy elementary schools with 21,365 students. When he died in 1985, thirty-seven elementary schools hosted 10,247 students.

In the city of Pueblo, all Catholic schools were closed by Bishop Buswell in 1971. Five Catholic elementary schools survived in the Colorado Springs diocese: St. Joseph's in Salida; and Corpus Christi, Divine Redeemer, Holy Trinity, and Pauline Memorial in Colorado Springs. The only new Catholic school to be opened in Colorado since the 1960s is St. Stephen elementary in Glenwood Springs.

Why this decline in the number of Catholic schools during an era of growth and prosperity? At least four factors can be identified.

  • The drastic decline in the number of sisters, whose self-sacrifice had made Catholic schools possible, was the key factor. The number of teaching sisters in the Denver archdiocese fell from 492 in 1962, to 385 in 1972, to 147 in 1982. Whereas religious, both men and women, taught for $1,500 a year or less, the average salary of lay Catholic school teachers was $13,461. Father Lawrence St. Peter, who helped Monsignor Jones administer Catholic schools during the 1960s and 1970s, explained the problem in a 1987 interview:

    Without nuns, it is very difficult to keep Catholic schools open. That's not only because lay teachers salaries are much higher but also because parents are less willing to make the extra financial sacrifices to send their children to lay teachers. They equate Catholic education with nuns.
  • The number of children per Catholic family declined. This demographic phe-nomenon initially escaped the attention of educators trying to cope with the World War II baby boomers who began flooding schools in the 1950s. Between 1948-1949 and 1958-1959, Catholic elementary and high school enrollment in the archdiocese climbed from 13,951 to 24,640. Enrollment stabilized during the 1960s, reaching 25,282 in 1968-1969. The 1950s and 1960s were the golden age for Catholic schools, but between 1968 and 1978, the elementary and high school population fell to 15,719.
  • Catholics developed a greater acceptance of public schools. Whereas sending children to public schools when Catholic schools were available was once considered a serious—if not mortal—sin, both the hierarchy and laity grew much more tolerant of public schools after World War II. As Catholic immigrant groups became better integrated into the American mainstream, the differences between Catholics and other denominations narrowed during the ecumenical 1960s. The 1960 election of a Catholic, John F. Kennedy, as president, was one of the most obvious signs that ill will between Catholics and non-Catholics was waning. Growing tolerance as well as the growing numbers and quality of public schools led a majority of Catholics to use non-Catholic schools.
  • The cost of education soared. In 1941-1942, the archdiocesan superintendent of schools calculated the cost per pupil per year at $113.72. By 1949-1950, the average cost had risen to $213 a year. Since then, the costs of teachers salaries, of equipment in a science-minded age of computers, and of everything from textbooks to utilities to building materials have soared. By 1983-1984, according to the Denver Archdiocesan Education Office, the average cost per student per year had climbed to $1,067. As of 1986-1987, Catholic elementary schools in the archdiocese were a $10-million program supported 61 percent by tuition, 25 percent by parish subsidies, and 14 percent by other fund raising. By 1988 the cost per pupil had climbed to $1,400 a year. As tuition averaged only about $707 a year, the parishes used bingo and other revenue to keep schools open, with archdiocesan support from the Archbishop Annual Campaign for Progress (AACP). Eighty percent of the school expenses went for salaries, which averaged $13,461 in 1986-1987, only half what the public schools offer.

Countering criticism that the archdiocese ignored core city schools, the Archdiocesan Education Department spearheaded creation of an urban school coalition in the 1980s. Annunciation, Guardian Angels, Loyola, Presentation, St. Francis de Sales, St. Joseph, and St. Rose of Lima elementary schools united to form Denver's Schools in Urban Neighborhoods (SUN), a coalition to cope with core city school issues. Sister Jean Anne Panisko, SCL, principal of Annunciation since 1981, reported that SUN addresses the special problems of "at risk" students likely to fail or drop out. SUN has stressed that all ethnic groups succeed. As of 1986-1987, Catholic schools in the archdiocese were 16.4 percent Hispanic, 4 percent black, and 1.3 percent Asian.

Catholic schools now usually out perform public schools, if national standardized tests are a valid criterion. James S. Coleman, a professor of education and sociology at the University of Chicago, noted for his educational studies, analyzed the successes of Catholic schools in Public and Private High Schools and High School Achievement: Public, Catholic, and Private Schools Compared. In both works, Coleman found that Catholic school students are better educated and that Catholic schools did better at training black and Hispanic students. This national finding was locally verified in a study of Denver archdiocesan elementary school children taking the California Test of Basic Skills between 1983 and 1985. They scored from 8 to 28 percent above the national average. Catholic school pupils excelled in English language arts, math, reading, and spelling, in that order. Moreover, they tended to exceed the national norm by growing percentages each year. Composite test scores show third graders 15 percent above the aver-age and seventh graders 28 percent above the national norm.

During Archbishop Casey's administration, various superintendents dealt with the rapidly changing school situation, including Monsignor William H. Jones, and fathers Lawrence St. Peter, Tom Woerth, and Joseph M. O Malley. In 1983, Archbishop Casey picked a layman, Michael J. Franken, former principal of an inner city school in Chicago and of Sacred Heart grade school in Boulder, as superintendent and secretary of archdiocesan schools. Franken reflected in 1988:

We must rekindle the spirit of support for Catholic Schools by focusing on their mission, their quality, their accessibility, their affordability. I believe we can do this but it will necessitate a strength of conviction, magnitude, and breadth we have lacked in the recent past.
Archbishop Casey gave schools, as well as parishes, greater flexibility. The tight guidelines imposed upon schools during the Vehr era were relaxed. Each school was given much greater freedom to select its textbooks, to structure its program, and to tailor courses to its particular student body. Subsequently, some abandoned the use of student uniforms, adopted non-Catholic texts for secular subjects, and began curriculum experimentation. Sister Jarlath McManus, CSJ, the associate secretary for Catholic education, explained in 1987 that, despite the low pay, many teachers accept Catholic school positions:

Catholic schools allow more creativity and confront teachers with less bureaucracy. We also pride ourselves on having fewer alcohol, drug, and disciplinary problems. We've maintained our reputation for concentrating on traditional, basic education—the four Rs—reading, riting, rithmetic, and religion.
The education office's 1988 profile of archdiocesan elementary school teachers found that of the 510 teachers, 472 (93 percent) are lay. Of the lay teachers, 74 percent are married and 60 percent are parents, with an average teaching experience of 10.7 years. "Catholic schools are experiencing something of a renaissance," Sister Jarlath reported in 1988.

Catholics, and Americans in general, are returning to the idea that religion and morality are basic to education. We've gone back to emphasizing religion courses every year in every grade. We're trying to regain some of the old values that Catholics took for granted before teaching nuns and Catholic schools began disappearing. About 14 percent of our students are non-Catholics. After declining enrollments and school closings of the 1970s, enrollment in all archdiocesan schools during the 1980s seems to have stabilized at about 13,000 students each year.

Religious education

While providing secular education, Catholic schools also continue to emphasize religious education. The Religious Education Department of the Archdiocesan Education Office, headed by Cris Villapando since 1987, oversees adult and family religious education programs. Reverend Lawrence M. Freeman directs a Special Religious Education office that, by 1988, had programs for the developmentally disabled in twenty parishes. With the closing of many Catholic schools, the majority of Catholics, children as well as adults, now receive training from Religious Education Programs. Fred L. Eyerman, director of the media center and adult faith formation, noted in 1989:

Religious Education is responsible for the development of about 90 percent of our people. During Archbishop Casey's time, Denver became a national leader in religious education programs which replaced traditional Catholic schooling. Many programs and processes developed here have been adopted in other parts of the country. Our Christians in Search program had write-ups in America magazine and our Mile Hi Congress for Religious Education, which is now in its twentieth year, is known nationally.
One of the most successful adult religious education programs has been the Catholic Biblical School, which has been operating since 1982. The Biblical School, a pet project of Archbishop Casey, grew out of awareness that many Catholics hungry for scriptural understanding were joining Protestant Bible study groups. Sister Macrina Scott, OSF, who had just finished graduate studies in scripture at the University of California at Berkeley, was enlisted to start the Catholic Biblical School. She set up a four-year course, with weekly sessions. Graduates, of whom there are about 100 a year, were pre-pared to go back to their own parish and launch further Bible study programs.

Loretto Heights and Regis

Beginning in the 1950s, the rapid expansion of inexpensive public higher education threatened Catholic colleges. Faced with declining enrollments and the necessity of raising tuition to hire lay teachers, Loretto Heights College fell upon hard times. In 1968, the Sisters of Loretto sold the college for $1 to a coalition of alumni, teachers, and supporters who endeavored to operate the school as a nonsectarian private college. Twenty years later, in 1988, Loretto Heights was again financially strapped and threatened to close its doors for good until a merger with Regis College was negotiated to save the school.

Regis College fared much better. Indeed, during the 1970s and 1980s when many private schools declined or died, Regis thrived. Credit should be given, according to college historian Harold L. Stansell, SJ, to David M. Clarke, SJ, who became the twenty-second president of Regis on August 1, 1972. Clarke, who held a doctorate in physical chemistry from Northwestern University, had served as academic vice-president at Gonzaga University in Spokane and at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.

President Clarke gave Regis a more effective board of trustees, bringing in laymen such as Peter Coors of the brewery clan, Max Brooks, president of Central Bank of Denver, and Walter F. Imhoff of Hanifen, Imhoff, Inc. Subsequently, Regis renovated Old Main and added new buildings such as the Coors Life Directions Center (with the help of $1 million from the Coors Foundation).

Enrollments since the 1970s have stabilized at around 1,000 on-campus students. Off-campus programs, however, have mushroomed, attracting 3,000 to 4,000 part-time students a year. Regis has reached out into other Front Range communities, offering programs in Colorado Springs, Longmont, Southeast Denver, and Sterling. When Regis celebrated its centennial in 1987, the college really could celebrate. Instead of the twenty-four students of 1887, Regis could claim 5,500 full- and part-time students. Over the course of a century, the college had evolved into a fully accredited institution offering twenty-seven undergraduate degrees and masters degrees in business administration and adult Christian development. A student-faculty ratio of fifteen-to-one enabled Regis to provide a seminar format in many classes. Of the full time faculty, 75 percent hold a Ph.D. or the highest degree available in their field. "The Regis spirit," as President Clarke declared in a special Regis centennial issue of the Denver Catholic Register, September 30, 1987, "allowed us to survive the trying times and celebrate the richest."

Campus ministry

More attention has been given to Catholic students on non-Catholic campuses since the 1930s when George Cardinal Mundelein, the archbishop of Chicago, roared that if students "choose to go to a state university, they can go to hell!"

To augment the Newman Club movement active on Colorado campuses since the Boulder club opened in 1906, Archbishop Casey created an archdiocesan campus ministry office in the early 1970s. The term "campus ministry" came into vogue after Vatican II to describe what had been known as the Newman Club or Melvin Club movement. Both clubs were founded by a student, Timothy Harrington. While an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, Harrington encountered anti-Catholic faculty and discussed this with his Thanksgiving dinner hosts, the family of Professor Melvin.

Before you challenge a professor, Melvin urged Harrington, know what you are talking about. This inspired Harrington to organize the Melvin Club at the University of Wisconsin in 1883. Later, while a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania, Harrington read John Henry Cardinal Newman's "The Idea of a University" and founded the Newman Club movement on that campus in 1893. Both clubs fostered religious reading, study, and prayer as well as sociability with other Catholics.

Following World War II, hundreds of thousands of veterans—among them many Catholics—armed with new federal student loans and grants, had flooded colleges. In the spirit of Vatican II, campus Catholic communities tried a more positive approach, viewing college years as a time when idealism is high and permanent value systems are formed. By 1989, more than 2,000 Catholics worked among students in campus ministry programs throughout the United States. In the Arch-diocese of Denver, campus ministries have been established on all college and university campuses, Catholic and non-Catholic, targeting an estimated 46,000 Catholic students and 4,000 Catholic faculty and staff.

The Office of Campus Ministry also sponsors a theologian-in-residence program at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado. The AACP has provided roughly $100,000 a year to support the Campus Ministry program, which by the 1980s had seventeeen full-time employees as well as several part-timers and volunteers. The Office of Campus Ministry, which is part of the Education Secretariat, has been directed since 1982 by Reverend George Schroeder, who reported in 1988:

Catholics are now attending colleges and universities in numbers that far exceed their percentage of the general population. Our Campus Ministry goal is to promote theological study and reflection on the religious nature of human beings so that spiritual and moral growth may keep pace with intellectual growth.

Priests and laity

Archbishop Casey's greatest effort was to elevate the laity to a much more instrumental role. He issued a brief and eloquent statement on May 5, 1976: "To Consider Prayerfully the Work of the Coming Day." In this four-page document Casey prescribed a much greater role for the laity in parish administration. Parishes which once had from two to four priests began to notice a shortage in the 1960s. To fight the decline in religious vocations, Archbishop Casey appointed the archdiocese's first full-time director of vocations in 1967. Thanks to rigorous recruitment, the number of priests in the archdiocese increased from 327 in 1967 to 356 in 1986. This increase, however, did not meet the demand in an archdiocese that had grown from 261,844 Catholics in 1967 to 330,270 in 1986. The shortage was exacerbated by the resignations of at least forty-five priests during the 1960s and 1970s. "I was crushed by their leaving," Archbishop Casey told the Denver Catholic Register of April 28, 1982. It was, he added, the most difficult task he faced as archbishop.

Sorrow for the loss of priests could only be partially eased by the joy Casey took in elevating lay persons to positions of responsibility. "I believe," the archbishop declared, "that all baptized people are to share equally in the work of the church. I do not see the clergy on an exalted level." "The role of bishops and priests," Casey added in 1969, "is to recognize the talents of lay people and call them out to take positions of leadership." Parishes began to use lay men and women as religious education directors, youth ministers, liturgists, business managers, and senior citizens coordinators. Women religious and lay people began to minister side by side with the clergy, distributing communion, reading, and guiding their fellow parishioners. Sanctuaries once occupied exclusively by a priest and altar boys were crowded during Mass with lay men, women, and children who were all given roles in the revised liturgy. In unprecedented moves, Casey selected laymen for key chancery positions. Besides Martin Work as director of administration and planning, he appointed James H. Mauck the first lay director of Catholic Charities and Michael J. Franken as the first lay secretary for education and superintendent of Catholic schools. Richard J. Bowles, a permament deacon, was named the first lay director of the Liturgy Office, and Cyndi Thero became director of pastoral process and, later, of the Parish Council Services.

Following Vatican II recommendations, Archbishop Casey started the permanent diaconate as the heart of the lay revolution. A two-year training program was launched at St. Thomas Seminary under the direction of Reverend Leo Horrigan. Archbishop Casey ordained the first class of ten permanent deacons on April 6, 1974. Another thirteen deacons, many of them married men, were ordained in 1975. By 1985, eighty-five deacons had completed the two-year training and gone to work in the parishes of the archdiocese. Deacon Bowles reflected on Archbishop Casey's role in promoting the laity to prominence in a 1987 interview:

Despite the reluctance of some clergy and lay people, Casey never lost his conviction that Vatican II was essential. While attending the Vatican II Council in Rome, he really caught the infectious enthusiasm of Pope John XXIII. In an archdiocese used to a stern father, as Vehr and other previous bishops had been, Casey insisted that the laity take adult responsibilities, not just follow directions of priests and nuns.

Religious sisters

By opening up many positions to nuns, Archbishop Casey attracted many to the archdiocese, where they were given freedom to experiment with a wide variety of ministries. As Vicar General Michael J. Chamberlain put it in 1988:

Casey created an atmosphere, complimented by bishops Evans and Hanifen, of openness, of tolerance for experimentation. He would listen to any proposal. But you had to have done your homework, to have a rationale, a game plan, and a way to pay for it. He would pin you down on the why and the how.
Casey, who had been chaplain of the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dubuque, Iowa, encouraged nuns to expand their horizons. He raised sisters annual salaries, in 1974, from $3,100 to $4,600. The same year, he appointed Sister Helen Flaherty associate vicar for women religious and two years later named her vicar; she may have been the first woman religious in the nation elevated to that rank.

The archbishop's efforts were deeply appreciated. He became remembered, in the words of Sister Loretto Anne Madden, as "a man who in a quiet way was deeply committed to justice. . . . [H]e was one of the most outstanding church leaders in the United States in promoting women to leadership po-sitions in archdiocesan offices."

Casey established a Commission on the Status of Women to explore expanding roles for women in the Church. Real change came on March 9, 1970, when the archbishop au-thorized distribution of communion by not only nuns but also lay women. At the same time, Casey made Mass attendance easier by allowing Saturday afternoon and evening services to fulfill the obligation for Sunday Masses.

Archbishop Casey raised eyebrows even higher when presenting his quinquennial report in Rome in 1983. He told Pope John Paul II, according to The Denver Post of November 8, 1983: "American sisters feel alienated and some anger, because they are treated in a paternalistic way by the church. They aren't treated as co-workers and with the dignity they deserve."

Denver's archbishop appointed Sister Loretto Anne Madden, SL, director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, which lobbies for the archdiocese at the state legislature. He named Sister Rosemary Wilcox, assistant director of administration and planning, the first of many administrative posts she would hold in years to come. Many nuns took advantage of the new worlds opened to them to accomplish much on many fronts. Sister Cecilia Linenbrink, OSF, at St. Elizabeth's in Denver, decided in 1964 to "take a new look at my own involvement with people in poverty areas—not so much to see what I could do, but what they needed." This Franciscan found that many Spanish-speaking people needed and wanted a high school education and English lessons. So Sister Cecilia founded the Adult Learning Source to prepare people to take the high school equivalency exam and earn a diploma. Hundreds took her course, and, by 1974, other churches, community centers, and schools had adopted it, using volunteer teachers to train 5,000 students in the first decade of Sister Cecilia's popular program.

In 1989, Sister Cecilia's program celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary, having touched the lives of 27,000 students taught by more than 6,000 volunteers. Sister Cecilia, who holds a Ph.D. in education, is now executive director of the first and foremost Colorado group combating illiteracy, which she says afflicts one in five adults in the United States. "Most of these people just want to read," she told the Denver Catholic Register of December 23, 1987. "Some want to be able to read to their children and grandchildren. Others just want to read the newspaper."

Sister Julia Benjamin, OSF, took on one of the most difficult of tasks, reaching out to women who had fallen into prostitution. She became a "streetwalker" herself, passing out her card, with its butterfly logo and message of hope: "If you want to get off the street and out of prostitution, call Sister Julia at 455-9705 8 A.M. to 9 P.M." When women called, she offered them refuge at the Magdalen Da-men House, formerly part of the Marycrest Convent at West 52nd Avenue and Decatur Street. Sister Julia, who earned a psychiatric social work M.A. at the University of Denver, has made working with street women and women in or out of jails and prisons her mission. "We've just received $92,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development," she reported in 1988. "This will enable us to remodel fa-cilities and expand our program so we can offer not just a shelter but extended treatment programs."

Sister Helen Falvo, OP, came to Denver in 1975 to coordinate the SUN program. Archbishop Casey was so impressed with her work that he appointed her vicar for women religious in 1979. The Colorado Council of Churches was likewise impressed with the work of this Dominican nun and in 1982 elected her its president; she spearheaded efforts at ecumenical cooperation until her untimely death in 1983. Sister Anna Koop, SL, founded the Catholic Worker House at 2420 Welton Street in 1979, offering housing, a soup line, and employment to the down and out. The Catholic Worker House put the unemployed into business making coffins in the Catholic Worker woodworking shop, which sells coffins for $210 to $225, "cremain" boxes for $30 to $84, and prayer benches for $15. Nicole Santisteven, a teenage correspondent for the Denver Catholic Register, reported in her October 28, 1987, column on volunteering at the Catholic Worker House Soup Kitchen, "I found it difficult to see Jesus in those people. . . . I smelled alcohol and dirt and it scared me." But, Nicole concluded, "we have to remember that Jesus is in the person who walks through the soup line as much as He is in the person who distributes the food."

Hundreds of nuns took on new projects. For most it was slow, hard work with little reward. But they made schools, parishes, hospitals, the chancery, and other institutions work. Sister Elizabeth Skiff, SC, for example, turned rooms filled with scattered boxes of documents into a usable repository after Archbishop Casey reorganized the arch-diocesan archives in 1973. When Sister Elizabeth retired to the Sisters of Charity motherhouse in Cincinnati in 1981, Sister Ann Walter, OSB, stepped in to continue the archival mission of organizing, preserving, and providing public access to the priceless historical documents, photographs, manuscripts, records, and memorabilia beginning with Father Machebeuf's letters from 1860s Denver.

"Come in and see this fascinating corner of the chancery office," Sister Ann smiled in 1989. "Practically every day we get a new and unusual request and find some new jewel of information here, like the photo of the M nster Cathedral from Bishop Matz's cousin. It suggests that Matz had our basilica designed along the lines of his hometown cathedral." When Archbishop Casey arrived in Denver in 1967, sisters served primarily as either teachers or nurses. By the 1980s, however, they filled a maze of different ministries. Sister Rosemary Wilcox, recalled in a 1988 interview:

During the 1970s, we sisters were first allowed to start making our own choices about what we would be trained for and what work we wanted to do. Archbishop Casey supported this idea. He was a shy but strong Irishman. He would listen to all the pros and cons, then make a decision "in the best long-run interests of the Church." He was willing to take the flack for his decisions and didn't get defensive when people attacked him.
Shortly before his death, Archbishop Casey declared, according to the Denver Catholic Register of March 14, 1986:

I am sensitive to the fact that the changing role of women is hard for some to accept. Still, I hope that we can grow in our appreciation for the need and the beauty of their contribution. . . . I encourage all our people. . . to consider more seriously the tremendous possibilities for ministry in the Church by women and especially women religious. Their professional training, personal spirituality and unique talents contribute substantially to the Church's vitality.

Housing the needy

Perhaps the most dramatic achievement of a nun was a Herculean effort at housing the needy. This $25-million success story began after Martin Luther King was shot and killed at a Memphis motel on April 4, 1968. Archbishop Casey vowed to continue King's work, to do more for minorities and the poor. He set aside $1 million for this purpose and authorized his vicar general, Monsignor George Evans, to set up a housing program.

Evans had someone in mind. He had a talk with Sister Mary Lucy Downey, who had taken vows as a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth in 1954 and was teaching language arts and music to second graders at Annunciation School. This rosy-cheeked, twinkle-eyed daughter of a Butte, Montana, copper miner recalled in 1987:

After creation of the Archdiocesan Housing Committee, Inc. [AHCI] on December 16, 1968, I was the first staff person. Everyone thought housing for the poor and elderly was a great idea—but not in their neighborhood. We lost seventeen court battles trying to build our first housing project.

If only you could hear the stories of where some of our people were living—it would break your heart. Many of them are middle class people, widows who could be your own mom. They don't want or expect charity. They get stuck on the third story of a walkup and can barely get out. Or they are shuffled back and forth among relatives. Many live in substandard apartments with a shared bathroom down the hall or on another floor.

AHCI and Sister Mary Lucy completed the first project, a thirty-unit family complex at 801 South Monaco Parkway, in 1970, with the help of a $1,143,352 loan from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. This southeast Denver townhouse proved to be a successful prototype, a reasonably attractive development that blended into the neighborhood. By the end of 1970, three other low-income family housing sites were completed: twenty-six units at 3700 Humboldt; thirty units at 1900 South Raritan; and thirty units at 1300 South Irving. A second loan from Metropolitan Life in 1971 enabled AHCI to construct Glen Willow townhomes, a thirty-four-unit family project in Boulder.

Archdiocesan family housing achieved a turnover rate of about 25 percent. Most families moved out into private housing or became homeowners after finding or recovering their economic and social equilibrium. This track record encouraged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to fund Sister Mary Lucy's next project, a senior citizen high-rise. This was the first church-sponsored project in America to be funded by HUD, according to Sister Mary Lucy, who noted:

Before we began planning Cathedral Plaza, we visited every high-rise—including the luxury residences—and every senior center in Denver to see what worked best. We discovered that it's best not to hide the laundry room in the basement but to put it on the top floor with a sunny view because it's prime socialization space.

We learned to color code each floor of a high-rise so residents don't become disoriented and embarrassed. Within the high-rises, we found it was important to have a beauty parlor, a lounge, recreation areas, and a clinic.

But the most important thing is to provide a sense of family, of belonging and of loving. HUD's idea of senior housing is just bricks and mortar—no emotional or social support. They prescribe only one person, a manager, but we've snuck in a staff of eight people to do programs at Cathedral Plaza, to make sure that our residents enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Cathedral Plaza, located at 1575 Pennsylvania Street behind Immaculate Conception Cathedral, is a $4.5-million, eleven-story, 154-unit home that opened July 1, 1980. The elderly living there pay no more than a quarter of their monthly income for rent. Residents know each other because of the "buddy system" used in archdiocesan senior housing. If residents have not removed a crocheted ring from their door knobs by 10 A.M., their buddies investigate. Much of the work at Cathedral Plaza, the sister explained, is done by forty to fifty resident volunteers who handle such tasks as manning the front desk, setting table, cleaning up, and housekeeping. Sister Mary Lury elaborated:

This enables the nun whom HUD pays as our "janitor" to spend her time arranging social programs, classes, tours, and other activities. On birthdays we have a special celebration of life and interview the celebrity. We have so many wonderful people here with so many fascinating life stories. We're afraid we ll lose them before we really get to know them.
Cathedral Plaza soon had a long waiting list of would-be residents, which Sister Mary Lucy used to sell HUD on the next project. On April 23, 1981, AHCI completed a second HUD-sponsored senior high rise, Holy Family Plaza in the Holy Family church and school complex at 4300 Vrain Street in North Denver. This five-story, $4.5-million, 120-unit home has become an integral part of the two-block parish complex. Father Lawrence St. Peter, who as pastor of Holy Family welcomed the senior residence, told the story in "The Great Intergenerational Get-Together," in the February 1985 issue of Today's Parish. "The most exciting part of the Holy Family story," he wrote, "concerns parish efforts to integrate the Plaza residents into the total life of the parish." The seniors are urged to become "grandparents" for preschoolers, to supervise them on the playground, tell them stories, show them how to do crafts, and give them one-on-one attention. In Holy Family Grade School, Plaza residents serve as tutors for spelling, penmanship, reading, and other subjects. High schoolers learn oral history by interviewing residents and then staging "This Is Your Life" parties.

Sister Marie de Lourdes Falk, SCL, the director of Holy Family Plaza, also directs daily dances. "We dance with anybody," she boasted: "We dance alone, with each other, with the eighth graders and high schoolers. We've even gone out on the road to show other senior residents how to dance. It's splendid socialibility and great exercise."

Before the dances, Mae Padilla is swamped in "Mae's Angel Fingers Beauty Salon," the Plaza's "Place to Get a Faith Lift." Photographs of residents adorn the walls by the elevators to promote sociability; exercycles on each floor foster dance-floor mobility. The parquet oak dance-floor in Holy Family Plaza looks well-used, as do the walking trails outside. High school students in Holy Family's "Understanding the Elderly" class take residents for walks and talks. "Those high schoolers," Sister Marie de Lourdes reported, "have been able to get people up and out of here who thought they would never walk again. In exchange, our residents teach high schoolers how to play bridge, do crafts, and—of course—how to dance!"

Sister Theresa Madden, SL, of Denver's famous Madden clan of politicians, policemen, priests, saloonkeepers, and Sisters of Loretto, administered the third AHCI-HUD high-rise, Marian Plaza, a $4.2- million, eleven-story, 120-unit senior residence at 1818 Marion Street. "Marian Plaza is a beautiful building," Sister Theresa bragged during our 1987 interview.

We have a roof deck for sunning and mountain viewing behind our crenelated roofline, a whirlpool bath and a beauty shop, but most beautiful of all are the people here. We have both residents and senior day care clients, who for $15 a day get health monitoring, physical exercise classes, physical therapy, educational programs, nutritional meals, recreation, and socialization.
AHCI's successes in Denver led the Diocese of Cheyenne to enlist its aid in constructing St. Anthony Manor, a $3-million, sixty-four-unit senior residence in Casper, which opened in July 1984. Another Wyoming senior residence, the $1.4-million Holy Trinity Manor scheduled to open in 1989 in Cheyenne, will be managed by AHCI. Other AHCI-HUD projects have included St. Martin's Plaza, a $2.4 million, eight-story senior residence opened in 1988 at Marion Street and Bruce Randolph Avenue. The city of Denver provided the land, giving AHCI a ninety-nine-year lease for $1, and Mayor Federico Pe a joined Sister Mary Lucy at the groundbreaking on August 13, 1987, when he praised her "faith and commitment." Madonna Plaza, a three-story, fifty-unit residence, is scheduled to open in 1989 at East 62nd Avenue and Kearney Street in Commerce City. In East Denver at East 14th Avenue and Detroit Street, Higgins Plaza—with ninety independent living and eighteen assisted living units—is projected to open in 1990 on the site of the demolished St. Philomena Church.

Thus, Sister Mary Lucy became landlord of a $30-million housing operation and a certified property manager and real estate broker, who was elected the 1988 president of the Colorado Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Besides being executive director of AHCI and Housing Management Services, Inc., for the Archdiocese of Denver, she served in 1987-1988 as president of the association of HUD Managing Agents for Region VIII and as a national representative of the American Association of Homes for the Aging. "Just before he died," Sister Mary Lucy confided in 1987, "Archbishop Casey urged us to pursue our housing mission and talked about the need for nursing homes. I have been blessed to continue the work that he and Bishop Evans began in 1968."

In 1967, the Franciscan sisters closed St. Clara's Orphanage between West 26th and 29th avenues on Osceola Street. With the support of long-time benefactors such as Ernie Capillupo, proprietor of Ernie's Restaurant & Lounge, the sisters converted the orphanage to the John XXIII Center for retreats and meetings as well as a coffee house for youth. In 1972, the old orphanage was demolished and replaced by Francis Heights and Clare Gardens. Francis Heights is two high-rise residences for the elderly on what had been the orphanage athletic field. Residents of its 400 independent living units benefit from the Federal Rent Supplement Assistance funding of the 1968 Housing Act. Next door, Clare Gardens opened in 1973 as 128 subsidized family townhouses. The old orphanage gym is still used as a recreation center, and the two-story St. Clara's Orphanage bell tower was likewise preserved as a link with the past.

Together with the new housing facilities built by AHCI during the 1970s and 1980s, Clare Gardens, Francis Heights, St. Elizabeth Center, Mullen Home, and St. Joseph Home made the archdiocese a leader in housing the increasing percentage of the population who find themselves old and poor.

For homeless and troubled children, Mount St. Vincent Home has been a haven ever since February 15, 1883, when the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth opened the orphanage at 4159 Lowell Boulevard. Sister Daniel Stefani, SCL, director of Mount St. Vincent s, reported in 1988 that

since 1969 we have specialized in treating children with emotional, social, and academic difficulties. Over the course of the last 105 years, we have adapted our program to the changing needs of child care. Today the six sisters working here care for forty-five children in a resident program and sixteen in day treatment. We have a school and recreation program aimed at preparing children to return to their families or to foster homes and to community schools.
To celebrate their 105th anniversary in 1988, the Sisters of Charity opened another home, the Ryan Residence at 11485 West Exposition Avenue in Lakewood, for boys aged eleven to eighteen. A married couple supervise this operation in a conventional suburban ranch house, from which youngsters attend community schools and recreational facilities.

Samaritan Shelter

Archbishop Casey's last great project was housing for the homeless. Back in 1959, Monsignor Mulroy had suggested converting the Welcome Hotel at 1830 Larimer Street into a shelter for homeless men but dropped the idea after Archbishop Vehr and the St. Vincent de Paul Society showed little financial interest. Archbishop Casey proved to be more sympathetic; he earned his reputation as a gentle and good shepherd when unusually cold, snowy winters and the oil bust of 1983 exacerbated the situation in Denver. An estimated 1,750 were homeless and as many as 200 slept overnight on the pews in Holy Ghost Church. Hundreds more slept on office tower ventilation exhaust grates, in alley dumpsters and doorways, and in cardboard and newspaper nests under the Cherry Creek and South Platte River bridges.

The desperate plight of the homeless led Archbishop Casey to initiate a $50,000 crusade to convert Central Catholic High School to a shelter. The old basement cafeteria, which ninety years earlier had been the procathedral, was converted to a food line and 122-bed dormitory for men. A former classroom became a thirty-one-bed women s dormitory. Several second-floor classrooms were converted into quarters for families, with a nearby classroom recycled as a playroom.

Two other classrooms became storage areas for used clothing while another became a "store" where shelter residents could select secondhand clothing from racks and shelves marked small, medium, and large. In another former classroom, a resource center was launched to provide classes and materials and volunteer counseling on how to cope with poverty, alcoholism, drugs, and finding a job.

On Samaritan Shelter's opening night, November 8, 1983, it quickly reached maximum capacity of 175 men, women, and children and had to turn away more than 100 persons. In exchange for serving food with other volunteers, Samaritan Shelter supervisor Dorothy Leonard gave me a tour one night. This tall, trim young woman explained that the line outside on Logan Street consisted of applicants for the "first come, first served" numbered beds. The large number of applicants allowed the "Samaritan Sheraton" to turn down drunks and troublemakers. Applicants were screened for weapons, drugs, and liquor. Rejects were pointed in the direction of the Denver Rescue Mission at 23rd and Lawrence streets and the Salvation Army's "shelter of last resort" at 2141 Larimer Street. Once admitted to the "Samaritan Sheraton," homeless men, women, and children were allowed to stay up to twenty-eight days, provided they returned by 7 o clock every evening for the free dinner. "If they're not here by then," Dorothy Leonard said, "their bed is given to someone else." After a free breakfast, guests were required to leave by 8 A.M. to look for work, while the staff and volunteers prepared the inn for the next evening.

"Our goal," Leonard said,

is to get people back into jobs and their own living quarters. Many of our people have drug or mental problems. The main thing is just to talk to them, help them get over their difficulties and the shock of being here. We try to get them out and into happier situations but about 50 percent of our people ask for an extension—a second twenty-eight-day stay.
Although Dorothy must have been disappointed to see former residents return, she greeted several by their names, using both Spanish and English, with a hug for the children. While showing me the free "store" piled high with old clothes and shoes, Dorothy explained, "We sort this out using the criteria of keeping only what we would wear ourselves. We get so many clothes here that we ship some to other shelters, to Indian reservations, and to Mexico."

Following its 1983 opening, the Samaritan Shelter captured local and national media attention in People Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and on ABC television's "Night-line." Reverend Charles B. Woodrich, who had accepted homeless in his Holy Ghost Church and helped open Samaritan Shelter, became a public champion of the poor. Both local and national media broadcast his message, as quoted in The Denver Post, November 14, 1984:

A city is more than new soaring skyscrapers filled in the day and emptied by evening. It is people, a milling mix of diversity, that give a city its soul, that bring life to the architecture and the commerce. The rich and the poor are all part of the landscape although the poor are too often unfairly and summarily dismissed as useless, bereft of ambition and content with the minimum needed to sustain life. Our Samaritan Shelter has a different bottom line—one that stresses a caring, human dimension to restore the personal dignity of those who have been denied a sense of self-worth.
Samaritan Shelter, which was overcrowded and inadequate from the night it opened but still the "Sheraton" of homes for the homeless, concerned Casey. Federal, state, and local governments, which once had made the homeless a concern, all backed away from the problem. When the archdiocese received a windfall—$8.5 million for the air rights and land next to Holy Ghost Church—Casey knew what to do with it. With $2.4 million from the developers of the Holy Ghost property, he purchased the block of land bounded by Larimer, Lawrence, 23rd, and 24th streets.

Despite his fragile health, Casey made his last major public appearance at the July 31, 1985, groundbreaking for Samaritan House, wearing a sombrero for the festivities. The ailing archbishop declared: "The thing I m proudest about is the fact that Samaritan House is . . . welcoming every person who comes through that door with the dignity of a child of God."

Barker, Rinker, Seacat & Associates, the Denver architects who had designed several archdiocesan housing projects, were asked to create a dignified, elegant home that would, by its quality, refresh its residents. Samaritan House opened November 22, 1986, at 2301 Lawrence. The red brick structure with a landscaped courtyard contained 125 beds for men, forty-five for women, and eighty for families, as well as a chapel, recreation rooms and, offices. Father William Kraus, a young Kansas farmboy who had joined the Capuchins, became the first full-time director, in 1984, of the old Samaritan Shelter and also directed the new Samaritan House. During a 1988 tour and interview, he told me:

This time, for a change, the poor get to go first class! Usually shelters are recycled old buildings unwanted for anything else so they become human warehouses. This is the first home in the U.S. to be designed as a shelter. San Diego began work on a new shelter before we did but didn't complete their $11 million, 400-bed mission-style shelter until 1987.

Here we have an attractive building with a roomy outdoor deck occupying much of the second floor. Our Chapel of St. Francis is open twenty-four hours every day for quiet prayer, meditation, or just getting away from it all.

Samaritan House shows that the Denver archdiocese is serious about preferential options for the poor. And Isaiah reminds us that when we shelter the homeless our own wounds are healed, our prayers are heard, and our light shines. Therefore our new home not only ministers to the needy but also enriches all who care for the poor.

During 1987, its first full year, Samaritan House relied heavily on 300 volunteers to achieve a remarkable record:
  • 14,020 persons housed
  • 778,200 meals served
  • 2,986 medical clinic visits
  • 364 dental clinic visits
  • 47 families helped to self-sufficiency
  • 1,165 enrolled in jobs program
  • 411 full-time work placements

"The worst thing about operating Samaritan House," said Father Kraus, "is having to turn people away on nights when it's blizzarding outside. Fortunately, Central Presbyterian and Central Baptist churches have also now opened their basements to the homeless on the worst nights."

"The best thing," Father Kraus added,

is that we are able to place almost a third of our residents in full-time jobs that enable them to return to a normal living situation. About a third of our residents are mentally ill, and we work with Catholic Community Services, the Denver Department of Social Services, and the Veterans Administration—half of our men are veterans—to get them treatment. We've never had any real trouble here, although we have to kick someone out about once a week for disturbances. People are really appreciative of this shelter. They form a good, caring community that will come to the rescue of our staff when we get into trouble.
The new Samaritan House incorporates many of the rules and procedures worked out earlier at Samaritan Shelter. If they pass entry screening, new residents are registered, given a bed, a locker, and a cosmetic case with tooth brush, tooth paste, and shaving gear. They are asked to shower each morning. On their first day as residents, newcomers are required to work in the kitchen or on maintenance at Samaritan House. After thus getting acquainted with their new "family," they are given job counseling and sent out to look for employment.

Father Kraus adds, "If you need snow shoveling, grass mowing, house painting, leaf raking, or whatever, give us a call at Samaritan House. We suggest you pay at least $5 an hour. Even better, we hope to get our people into full-time permanent jobs. Samaritan House is just trying to get people back onto their feet."

Catholic Charities

Samaritan House was only the best-known of many projects launched during the Casey years. The archbishop elaborated on his concerns in the Denver Catholic Register of April 28, 1982: "We discover Our Lord in other people, and we love Him and help Him in serving the poor and afflicted. . . . Christ walks on every street and He expects us to recognize him. He is found in our nursing homes, in our prisons, in our hospitals, in our schools, among our neighbors."

Casey's commitment to the poorest of his flock led to the mushrooming of the small Catholic Charities office that Monsignor Mulroy had launched in 1927. Following the death of Monsignor Elmer Kolka, the second director of Catholic Charities, Archbishop Casey appointed William J. Monahan the third director in 1969. Monahan, the first trained master of social work to head Catholic Charities, closed Ave Maria Clinic and dropped the neighborhood health clinic approach. Instead, the sick poor were steered to the updated outpatient facilities in the three Catholic hospitals as well as to the neighborhood clinics opened in the 1960s by Denver's Department of Health and Hospitals.

Catholic Community Services was restructured in 1971 to create offices in Colorado Springs and Northern Colorado as well as Denver. Donald Dunn, Monsignor Monahan's assistant director, replaced him at the helm in 1974. Father Dunn found his office swamped with indigent needy. "The needs are so immense we are barely able to keep up," he told The Denver Post of January 24, 1975. "We give about $1,500 a month in direct aid to persons for food, shelter, clothing, help with back rent and utility payments." With encouragement from Archbishop Casey and Bishop Evans, Dunn, in 1976, set up the Office of Justice and Peace. Inspired by Pope Paul VI's declaration, "If you want peace first you must seek justice," this office tackled issues ranging from discrimination to renter's rights, from protesting the toxic waste and nuclear weapons produced at Rocky Flats to the high drop-out rate among Hispanic students.

Father Dunn also served as a national director of Catholic Charities, U.S.A., before leaving CCS in 1974, when he turned the agency over to James H. Mauck, the first lay director. Mauck, after earning his masters in social work at St. Louis University in 1965, went to work for Catholic Charities in his hometown of Wheeling, West Virginia, where he served as director from 1968 to 1974. "I applied for the Denver job," Mauck explained in a 1987 interview, "because Father Dunn and his predecessors had made Denver a nationally noted leader in Catholic Charity work. Dunn had pioneered a model parish outreach system and expanded the immigration program set up by Monsignor Monahan."

With the help of Father Dunn, who stayed with CCS until he left for the Monteria Mission in 1983, Mauck undertook to maintain and refine the ambitious CCS agenda. The Social Concerns Office, an outgrowth of the social activism of the 1960s and 1970s, strove to empower community and neighborhood groups to meet their own needs through community organizing, the parish social ministries, and an emergency assistance program. The last supplied food, clothing, housing, and friendship through various parish, outreach, and neighborhood assistance centers. It included programs such as the Food Bank Coalition and Operation Rice Bowl, which attempted to collect food and funds at the parish level. As of 1988, the archdiocese operated eight Emergency Assistance Centers.

Family and Children Services of CCS, consisted of Youth Ministry Services, Senior Centers, Marriage Preparation, and the Separated/Widowed/Divorced Ministry. With the closing of many Catholic schools, the archdiocese inaugurated several youth programs during the 1970s, including Catholic Youth Services, Hispanic Youth Ministry, Original Scene Theater program, and youth programs in each parish, while Camp St. Malo and Camp Santa Maria continued to be used as archdiocesan summer camps. Marriage preparation instruction at the parish level was also launched during the 1970s, as were ministries to counsel and comfort separated, divorced, widowed, and single Catholics.

The CCS Senior Centers program is directed by Ralph Lowder, who first went to work for the archdiocese in 1956 as a counselor at Vail Center. Senior Centers work with existing facilities (the Mullen Home, Clare Gardens, St. Elizabeth Center, and the new AHCI residences). Senior Centers also had a contract with the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) to operate Mulroy Senior Center at 3550 West 13th Avenue, a residence that the DHA erected in 1969 and named for one of its founding fathers—Monsignor Mulroy. Senior Services also operates the Alcott Senior Center at 3850 Alcott Street in a five-story senior home built by the DHA in 1980. Senior Centers opened the old St. Joseph School at 4626 Pennsylvania Street in the 1970s as St. Joseph Home for active and independent living. A senior camp was established at Camp Santa Maria in the autumn, after school began for youngsters. CCS Senior Services encouraged John Q. O Connell, CM, who since 1969 has been offering a television Mass for the sick and shut-in. Channel 2 carries this 7 A.M. Sunday Mass for Father O Connell's flock, which numbered around 30,000 viewers by 1988.

Ralph Lowder reported in 1987 that the senior services include pot-luck suppers, health screening, counseling, transportation, exercise classes, arts and crafts, friendly visiting, telephone reassurance, recreation, and information and referral services. Lowder observed that "Catholic Commmunity Services has been providing senior services ever since the 1930s at centers such as Little Flower, St. Anthony s, and Vail, long before senior centers became common in the 1960s."

As the man behind the mushrooming of Catholic Community Services, Archbishop Casey gave much time to thinking about social concerns and putting them into eloquent homilies and written statements. As he once said, "I must speak out, to remain silent would go against everything I believe."

His private side

Mrs. Frank McGlone, a neighbor and close friend, confided, in a 1987 interview:

The archbishop was a brilliant, shy, considerate man, really concerned more than most people realized. He loved learning, always surrounded himself with books. Thomas Merton was one of his favorite authors. He got up early and worked late in his home office, putting deep thinking and concern into his homilies and his pastoral letters. He would meditate for five to ten minutes on a homily even if it were only a Mass in his home for us and our children and grandchildren.
The McGlones and Archbishop Casey built neighboring homes on South Columbine Lane in the Columbine Valley neighborhood on the western edge of Littleton. Casey paid for the house with money he had inherited from his family, refusing to use archdiocesan funding. "The archbishop largely designed the house himself," recalls Doctor McGlone. "He built in a small swimming pool for lap swimming. He called me his athletic director and framed my prescription for him—morning and evening swimming and twice-a-week golfing. This helped him cope with the pressures of his job," McGlone added. "He said he loved golf because people didn't treat him like an archbishop on the course."

Casey also enjoyed driving around his archdiocese, relishing the anonymity of the open road on drives to visit outlying parishes. He brought a black Lincoln with him from Nebraska but swapped it in 1973 for a new dark blue Lincoln Continental Mark III, which he drove until 1981. Then he purchased a black Buick Rivera, followed in 1985 by his last car, a white Lincoln Continental. There were times when he could not drive those cars through the streets of Denver, when at the urging of police he traveled in unmarked cars to avoid radical confrontations. No matter how bad things got, Casey always reserved Wednesdays for golf with his cronies—McGlone, Jim Lannon, and Pete Smythe.

Smythe, a popular radio and television personality, recalled later:

He was a good man and so good to me and for me. It didn't matter that I was a non-Catholic. He called me the agnostic and we called him the Arch. He always had a twinkle in his eye and could figure out a situation and relate to all kinds of people better than anyone I've known.

Political protest

Casey learned from and appreciated Smythe as a consummate media man and began a series of KLDR talk radio appearances. Casey also continued and expanded televison coverage of the midnight Christmas Mass at Immaculate Conception. He welcomed media coverage, declaring, "Too often the Good News of Jesus Christ has been drowned out by the sheer volumne of the consumer gospel." Archbishop Casey eloquently addressed the issues of his time. Of Vatican II, he said, according to the Register of May 11, 1967:

There will be many changes in the church and changes bring confusion. But confusion, we must realize, is an unhappy but necessary by-product of any revolution; and the church is in the midst of a revolution. This is the early dawn of a new day with its chilly mists and grey skies, but noon-day will bring the warm, clear rays of sunlight.
In a 1970 letter to Richard M. Nixon, Casey respectfully urged the president "to set a definite date for the withdrawal of our American military personnel from Vietnam at the earliest possible moment." President Nixon replied in a friendly letter, saying he was negotiating a peace treaty. Denver's archbishop became one of the first American bishops to take a strong and controversial stance against America's intervention in the Vietnamese civil war. A year before the U.S. Conference of Bishops denounced militarism, Casey condemned nuclear war in his statement, Human Life and War:

Life is what our religious faith is all about; and war remains the greatest threat to human life. The Divine imperative: "thou shalt not kill" lies at the heart of the dialogue on human life. Let us all join our voices with Pope Paul VI and cry out to the world: "No more war; war never again."
On another occasion, the archbishop declared that:

This nuclear madness drains precious human resources and captivates our society in an endless maintenance of illusory "balance of terror." Quite simply, the people of the world are crying for food and health care, not for sophisticated, expensive weapon systems; they are crying for justice, not for a phony "security" based on the threat of international violence; they are begging for peace, not for endless displays of diplomatic brinksmanship.
The federal government eventually heeded the protests of its citizens and of such outspoken leaders as Archibishop Casey, withdrawing troops from Vietnam in 1973. When peace came, Archbishop Casey created the Immigration and Resettlement Office to help find homes for hundreds of war babies, and homes and jobs for refugees. Thus, Casey not only fought against an unjust war, he helped heal wounds and resettle victims when peace came.

To the end, Casey was a protestor. In the spring of 1978, he issued a pastoral letter calling for the conversion of the nuclear weapons plant at Rocky Flats to peaceful purposes. When President Ronald Reagan proposed his MX missile building program, Casey, according to the Rocky Mountain News of September 20, 1983, condemned it as "an escalation of the arms race which is unwise, unjustified and will be counterproductive."

Casey was not without his detractors. Widely publicized attacks by militant Hispanics included persistent criticism from Joseph Lara, pastor of Denver's Our Lady of Guadalupe Church until he left the priesthood. Some members of the United Mexican American Students, August 1969, demanded Casey's resignation after he rejected their demand for $100,000 in scholarships. When Casey agreed to administer a $40,000 grant from the National Catholic Campaign for Human Development to Corky Gonzales Crusade for Justice, he was criticized for catering to radicals. Archbishop Casey, it seemed, was "damned if he did and damned if he didn t."

Despite much painful publicity and embarrassing personal attacks, Casey continued to meet with Chicanos, agonized over their complaints, and tried to establish helpful agencies. In 1968, he created the Archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Concerns and in 1981 raised that office to the vicariate level. Eugenio Ca as was appointed the first vicar for Hispanics, who made up roughly a third of Colorado's Catholic population.

Casey's dogged efforts were rewarded, as Celia Vigil, archdiocesan director of Hispanic concerns, later recalled:

I saw the archbishop grow from a person who feared the Chicano community to a real shepherd who was concerned about all of his flock. . . . He was very concerned about the exodus of Hispanics from the Catholic Church. The people loved having the archbishop as the celebrant at their annual Mass for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. . . . The moment I will treasure is when he asked me for a hug.
The civil rights movement found an early supporter in Archbishop Casey, who wrote in 1966:

In the midst of unparalleled prosperity, American Negro people [suffer] degrading poverty [and] are denied equality in seeking jobs and housing for their families as well as the use of educational and recreational facilities. . . . Catholics[ who] were themselves descendants of immigrants are today beneficiaries of the equality and opportunity enjoyed in this country. Yet their cup of hate ran over as they sought to deny this same freedom and opportunity to the Negro American. These suffering, disadvantaged minority people are the real challenge of our day.
Acting against the advice of some who felt Denver had too many small, struggling parishes, Casey allowed blacks to operate their own parish, Curé D'Ars on Martin Luther King Boulevard, smiling on the "soul" Masses which used black musical traditions. Despite some protests from traditionalists, the lively Cur D Ars choir is now in demand at many other parishes. In 1972, Archbishop Casey authorized the creation of Ascension parish in the new northeast neighborhood of Montbello. Thus, he supported the only neighborhood in Colorado that was conceived, planned, and developed to be fully integrated, open to blacks, browns, whites, and anyone else.

Ecumenism

Archbishop Casey often spoke of the Christian, rather than just the Catholic community, emphasizing the commonality, not the differences, among Christians. Under Casey, the archdiocese first joined the ecumenical alliance known as the Colorado Council of Churches. In 1969, the Colorado Conference of the United Church of America named Casey its "Churchman of the Year," giving its award to a Catholic for the first time.

Shortly before his death, Casey startled some Catholics by allowing participation in the Reverend Billy Graham's 1987 Denver Crusade. The preaching of this famous Southern Baptist, Casey explained, helped focus attention on problems of concern to all Christians. At a joint Protestant-Catholic Prayer Service, Casey spoke on "the scandal of Christian disunity":

Christ desires unity in His Church. . . . What we must do now is to make ourselves worthy of the gift of unity. The success of ecumenism is measured by the depth of self-renewal it inspires in us. The road ahead to unity is long and difficult, but we are unafraid.
Stephen Singular, a star Denver scribe, interviewed Casey for the December 1981 Denver Magazine. Singular reported that the archbishop's "face is sober and shows a long life of sacrifice and service. His mouth is downturned and sad and there is a perpetual strain around his eyes." Casey told Singular, "I see the problems of the church . . . all the money and personnel problems . . . much more than the joys of the Catholic Community. . . . I may not have done a very good job at times, but at least my life was centered on eternal and spiritual values."

The archbishop then presented the central theme of his Denver years:

As a Catholic in the 1940s and 50s, you could feel that if you didn't eat meat on Friday and went to Mass on Sunday and took the sacraments once a year, then you were a saint. . . . People loved to be dependent and just let the priests be responsible for them. Today, it has become much more complex. Each person must look inside himself and make moral and religious decisions in every aspect of his life. This takes maturity and a sense of responsibility and a growing up on the part of the laity.

His last days

While golfing on October 27, 1984, Casey burst a major blood vessel in his abdomen. Recovering from this near-fatal blow, he contracted hepatitis in the hospital. When he returned to work on April 18, 1985, his baggy black suit, loose clerical collar, and wizened visage suggested he would never really recover. Yet, the archbishop began planning for the 1987 centennial of the archdiocese. He suggested that a history of each parish be written for the centennial, which he described as "an opportunity to reflect on our faith, and particularly on the history of the faith as it has grown and flourished in Colorado."

Archbishop Casey did not live to see the centennial year. On March 1, 1986, the seventy-one-year-old archbishop was found unconscious in his bedroom. A blood clot the size of a lemon was removed from his brain the next day during a four-hour operation at St. Joseph Hospital. The stricken prelate received hundreds of prayers and letters, including one from David Beaudoin, a third-grader at Risen Christ Parish in Denver:

O my God. Pleas make bishop Casey better. Care for him. With all your hart. If he dies, put him in hevin.
Casey would have chuckled over that, but he never regained consciousness. After receiving the last rites from Father Lawrence St. Peter, the gentle shepherd died at 11:47 A.M., March 14, 1986. His last letter was to the state legislature, urging passage of a bill to provide potable water and portable toilets for migrant workers.

Banks of yellow and white flowers against a backdrop of Lenten purple did little to cheer mourners squeezing into the cathedral, where Casey's body lay in state for three days. On the third day—Friday, March 21, 1986—Archbishop Pio Laghi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, officiated at the Mass of Christian Burial. Protestant clergy, rabbis, and Orthodox bishops joined thirty-two of Casey's fellow bishops for the rite. Reverend Edward Hoffmann, Casey's former chauffeur, secretary, and chancellor, flew home from Rome to deliver the homily:

Archibshop Casey was patient and compassionate, even when I lost his Bronco season tickets—which is a mortal sin worthy of special condemnations. He invited others to be involved in the programs he began. How much easier it would have been to select a small group, a chosen few, to perform and thus avoid the uncertainties and difficulties that inevitably rise when breaking new ground. Archbishop Casey's programs are not juC!j 'IH&.NM@%Ў7ܴԩI'*Ʉ*hzC ,LNEtA] w8*JUtƣУ0=;ZM4be&?>1c߮heN{A s0vmR5ajlc=>N}ps|*T0?Sm;^ÚwG[ųӹ3ۤP>͆=O9[Hk냝)9}fA=G?L/$hYd Xqg+wܖcM`o::rւ9Dduer1xWZw,٨OsW@(K8b1P[VC+  m:H9hߤҾD`Xu8ʮmEѶ ȟ;(4\h+O42 qe;~ !_Rgu_<>q;MWk^D/,Qk%2OA[eF6< DgQ" `Jtԇ3hhfN](nTD(Y#ġѲ]{j]ϣkܠl;z*]hݮ"h #dJ4dc,]ZW% 2-ŷq>NDahw:wZSvgЕݶMH"[@gkIj . . . I think he was the most unassuming archbishop I've ever known. There was a deep simplicity and spirituality to him which was very winsome and impressive. . . . The monuments to him are not etched in bronze and stone, but they are alive in the poor and the hope for justice and peace.
Governor Richard D. Lamm of Colorado concluded:

There aren't many people I would call inspired or inspiring, but I've watched Archbishop Casey's career and seen the impressive way he joined people of all faiths in working towards common goals. What he believed was the wellspring of everything he did. He didn't just talk about the relevance of religious belief, he lived it.

Copyright © 1989 The Archdiocese of Denver