Breaking Down Barriers and Building Connections in Our Community
There are many challenges when moving to a new country. At the root of many of these challenges is a language barrier. Imagine being ill and needing to go to the doctor, but being unable to communicate with the doctor about your symptoms. This experience can be isolating and defeating. For many in our community, a little extra support is all they need to enter more fully into everyday life.
Vicki Arndt has been involved on and off with the ESL Ministry (English as a Second Language) since 2006. The program has gone through many changes since it began in 2000. For several years, Catholic Charities ran the ESL program and when they stopped offering it, Vicki stepped back into the role. The need for the ESL Ministry in our community remains strong.
“The ESL Ministry’s goal is to break down barriers and build stronger and more integrated communities,” Vicki says. “It’s a living example of unification in the Body of Christ.”
The students that come to ESL come from different countries and backgrounds but often share similar motivation. Not only is English important in their day-to-day life — to go to the grocery
St. Francis of Assisi
a letter from our pastor
Transforming Our Hearts and Accepting God’s Love
Dear Parishioners, We are celebrating a National Eucharistic Revival! The Revival is a work of God! How might the Lord want to use this Revival for a deeper transformation of your own heart? In this newsletter and the next, I will be sharing with you some insights.
Both human and spiritual growth can be seen to pass through three stages: Selfknowledge leads to self-acceptance, which leads to self-gift. The goal of our Christian life is self-gift, but we have to start with self-knowledge and self-acceptance. As St. John Paul II said in his very first encyclical, “We cannot live without love. If we do not encounter love, if we do not experience it and make it our own, and if we do not participate in it, our life is meaningless. Without love we remain incomprehensible to ourselves” (Redemptor Hominis, 10). Do you know how much God loves you? Can you accept that love? To understand this more, let’s look at God’s plan to heal the world: “Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness, and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 6-8). This is the way God loves you and redeems you. The cross of Jesus is the healing for you and your model to imitate. The cross is fundamentally the greatest act of worship that you enter into at every Mass. You give yourself to God as God has given Himself to you through Jesus.
Pope Francis made this clear in a recent letter: “The content of the bread broken is the cross of Jesus, his sacrifice of obedience out of love for the Father. If we had not had the Last Supper, that is to say, if we had not had the ritual anticipation of his death, we would have never been able to grasp how the carrying out of his
being condemned to death could have been in fact the act of perfect worship, pleasing to the Father, the only true act of worship, the only true liturgy” (Desiderio Desideravi, 7).
Why does Jesus make this present in the Eucharist? So that we can learn to give the same way. Pope Benedict wrote, “Christians, in all their actions, are called to offer true worship to God. Here the intrinsically Eucharistic nature of Christian life begins to take shape. The Eucharist, since it embraces the concrete, everyday existence of the believer, makes possible, day by day, the progressive transfiguration of all those called by grace to reflect the image of God. There is nothing authentically human — our thoughts and affections, our words and deeds — that does not find in the sacrament of the Eucharist the form it needs to be lived to the full” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 71).
The world still does not know this! But you do! Maybe you know of some who have forgotten this or got lost along the way in the twists and turns of life. Share this with them! Invite them back! Next month, I will be sharing with you some new insights on the old suggestion to “offer it up!”
May the Lord give you peace!Reverend Mark Zacker Pastor
una carta de nuestro párroco
Transformando Nuestros Corazones y Aceptando el Amor de Dios
¡Feliz Año Nuevo a todos!
¡Estamoscelebrando un Avivamiento Eucarístico Nacional! ¡El Avivamiento es una obra de Dios! ¿Cómo querrá el Señor usar este Avivamiento para transformar sus corazónes de una manera más profunda? Compartiré con ustedes algunas ideas en este boletín y en el próximo.
Al parecer, tanto el crecimiento humano como el espiritual pasan por tres etapas: El autoconocimiento, que lleva a la autoaceptación, que a su vez lleva a darse uno mismo. El objetivo de nuestra vida cristiana es el darse uno mismo, pero tenemos que empezar por conocernos y aceptarnos a nosotros mismos. Como dijo San Juan Pablo II en su primera encíclica: “El hombre no puede vivir sin amor. Él permanece para sí mismo un ser incomprensible, su vida está privada de sentido si no se le revela el amor, si no se encuentra con el amor, si no lo experimenta y lo hace propio, sino participa en él vividamente” (Redemptor Hominis, 10). ¿Sabes cuánto te ama Dios? ¿Puedes aceptar ese amor?
Para entender esto mejor, veamos el plan de Dios para sanar al mundo: “El cual, siendo de condición divina, no codició el ser igual a Dios, sino que se despojó de sí mismo tomando condición de esclavo. Asumiendo semejanza humana y apareciendo en su porte como hombre, se rebajó a sí mismo haciéndose obediente hasta la muerte, y una muerte de cruz” (Flp 2, 6-8). Así es como Dios te ama y te redime. La cruz de Jesús es tu sanación y modelo a seguir. La cruz es fundamentalmente el mayor acto de adoración en el que participas en cada Misa. Te entregas a Dios como Dios se ha entregado a tí a través de Jesús.
El Papa Francisco lo dejó claro en una carta reciente: “El contenido del Pan partido es la cruz de Jesús, su sacrificio en obediencia amorosa al Padre. Si no hubiéramos tenido la Última Cena, es decir, la anticipación ritual de su muerte, no habríamos podido comprender cómo la ejecución de su sentencia de muerte pudiera ser el acto de culto perfecto y agradable al Padre, el único y verdadero acto de culto” (Desiderio Desideravi, 7).
¿Por qué Jesús hace presente esto en la Eucaristía? Para que podamos aprender a dar de la misma manera. El Papa Benedicto escribió: “El cristiano está llamado a expresar en cada acto de su vida el verdadero culto a Dios. De aquí toma forma la naturaleza intrínsecamente eucarística de la vida cristiana. La Eucaristía, al implicar la realidad humana concreta del creyente, hace posible, día a día, la transfiguración progresiva del hombre, llamado a ser por gracia, imagen del Hijo de Dios (cf. Rm 8,29s.). Todo lo que hay de auténticamente humano -pensamientos y afectos, palabras y obras- encuentran en el sacramento de la Eucaristía la forma adecuada para ser vivido en plenitud. (Sacramentum Caritatis, 71).
¡El mundo todavía no sabe esto! ¡Pero tú sí! Tal vez sabes de alguien que ha olvidado esto o que se ha perdido en el camino en las vueltas de la vida. ¡Comparte esto con ellos! ¡Invítalos de a regresar! El próximo mes, compartiré con ustedes algunas ideas nuevas sobre la antigüa sugerencia de “¡ofrécelo!”
¡Que el Señor les dé paz!Reverendo Mark Zacker Párroco
St. Francis of Assisi
The Season of Lent A Time for Prayer, Fasting and
The church, in her wisdom, has given us the different liturgical seasons. These seasons invite us to live our lives remembering the life of Christ and uniting our own lives to His. Just as Advent is a season of preparation before the great celebration of the birth of Christ, the season of Lent invites us to call to mind the 40 days that He spent in the desert, sacrificing and praying, and overcoming temptation. The season is followed by the high celebration of Easter. During Lent, we are invited to lean into the season by increasing our prayer, selflessly giving alms to those in need, and fasting to return our thoughts to Christ every time we feel the lack of comfort from that which we have given up.
The ways that each person and family use this guide of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving can be widely varied and unique. As we discern the ways we incorporate this method, we need to pray to the Holy Spirit to show us how to learn to die to self and overcome temptation. Perhaps a mother wishing to increase her prayer time could use the time she spends folding the laundry to pray for each member of her family that she is caring for with that chore. A father could sacrifice time spent on his phone by giving more attention to his family in the hours after dinner. Families can incorporate small times of prayer with the whole family. Overall it is important to take the time to see where God is calling you to make sacrifices for Him for your own good.
“When we make the commitment to more prayer, we are making our relationship with God a priority,” Fr. Zacker says. “Families reading the Scriptures together or having more family prayer time show the children that having God at the center of the family is vital to their lives.”
Almsgiving is the opportunity to make sacrifices to give to others who are less fortunate. Families can use Operation Rice Bowl within their homes to teach their children about the value of giving to others. St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Charities are both very active in our area. Giving to those in need is an opportunity to think of ourselves less and others more.
“When we fast from something, we are often giving up a habit,” Fr. Zacker says. “In order to be successful here, we need to think about what we are going to put in its place. Acts of charity, volunteering, and prayer time are all things that we can do to fill that void that the sacrifice has left.”
This Lenten season, the church has several opportunities for parishioners to take time out of their busy lives to focus on Christ. The RCIA and Confirmation candidates have their Lenten retreats in which they will take part. The Stewardship retreat will take place on Saturday, March 11 and all are invited.
The parish will be hosting a Holy Week retreat called Faith and Forgiveness: the Future. This retreat is open to all parishioners and those from surrounding area parishes. It will take place April 3-5. The main portion of this retreat will take place from 6-8 p.m. each evening. There will be more in-depth workshops held from 3:30-5 p.m. to dive deeper into the material with small groups and working practices. A guided meditation will be offered after morning Mass from 8:45-9:30 a.m. This retreat is offered to prepare our hearts and souls for Easter through an understanding of faith and our openness to forgiveness.
“We will help attendees deepen their faith, help them understand the difference between our participation and
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and Almsgiving as We Prepare Our Hearts for Easter
role and that of God’s grace,” says Fr. Chance Billmeyer says. “We will also explore forgiveness and learn ways to forgive ourselves and others so that we can be more open to receive God’s grace.”
An important focus of the season of Lent is repentance. The Catholic faith teaches that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the avenue through which we receive Christ’s mercy through the forgiveness of our sins. During Lent, confession will be offered on Friday evenings from 6-7 p.m. as well as Sunday afternoons from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in addition to our regular Confession times.
The Stations of the Cross is another wonderful opportunity for parishioners to pray and experience the Passion of Christ. This beautiful service leads us through the way of the cross to meditate on the sacrifice that Jesus made out of love to save us from our sins.
The Knights of Columbus will be hosting their Lenten Fish Fry each Friday of Lent from 5-8 p.m. This is a great opportunity to enjoy community and delicious food together.
This Lent, let us prayerfully discern how we can take advantage of these opportunities to unite our lives to Christ. As He prayed and fasted for 40 days in the desert, let us take these 40 days of Lent to die to ourselves and grow closer to Him as we pray, fast and give alms.
StationS of the CroSS on fridayS
12 p.m. — Outdoor Stations of the Cross (weather permitting, otherwise in the Sanctuary)
3 p.m. — Stations of the Cross and Divine Mercy
5 p.m. — Stations of the Cross for Children
6:30 p.m. — Via Crucis en Español
7:30 p.m. — Stations of the Cross
Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.
Saturday, 4 p.m.
Sunday, 1:30 p.m. (Spanish)
Extra Confession Times for Lent — Fridays from 6-7 p.m. and Sundays from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
March 11 — Lenten Stewardship Retreat
Presented by Fr. Gary Kastl
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
April 3, 4 and 5 — Faith and Forgiveness
Presented by Fr. Chance Billmeyer
Guided Meditation, 8:45- 9:30 a.m. Workshop, 3:30-5 p.m.
Retreat, 6-8 p.m.
St. Francis of Assisi
Inferno Men Ministry: A Gathering of Fellowship that Ignites a Culture of Evangelization
When Curren Vite attended his first Inferno Men's Retreat in April 2021, he found something he didn’t know he was looking for. The day encompassed a gathering with about 200 other men, listening to talks and attending Mass with Bishop Sheridan, as well as the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“I hadn’t realized that I was looking for something else to support my faith and how to live it out in today’s society, but I found a group that had a mission that I could stand behind,” Curren says. “I left that retreat wanting more. I wanted the brotherhood to journey with, I wanted to be a better husband and father, and I wanted to share it with anyone who would listen to me.”
From there, Curren attended several forum events and the subsequent retreat. A year later, several men at our parish started their own regular meetings — David Sprague, Tim Smith, and Ron Polomsky organized the first meeting in May 2022. The group has grown to about 30 men from our parish who now meet twice per month. Curren attends and helps lead these meetings. He and David also serve on a diocesan level.
We are also very fortunate to have Fr. Chance as the chaplain for the diocesan Inferno Ministry hosted here at our parish. He is an amazing man and is able to join us for our COR groups, holding us accountable and making us stronger men.
Since 2017, the Inferno Men ministry has strived to bring men together with the mission of “igniting a culture of evangelization that empowers men to lead in the battle to sainthood.”
“We believe if we can strengthen the man, the man can reclaim and strengthen his family,” Curren says. “As families are reclaimed, then we will begin to renew the church as a body. And as the church gains strength, we can begin to revise the culture of our community. We rely on prayer, friendship, evangelization, and the discipline of our men to be successful.”
Here at St. Francis of Assisi, this entails small-group
meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. The components to each meeting are “COR” — Christcentered and Confidential, Ornate (prayerful), and Relational.
“These meetings are typically at rotating households of our members who volunteer to host,” Curren says. “The best part is, we don’t have a set curriculum for our meetings, so if you miss a meeting, it’s okay and a man won’t fall behind. They are there for us to support each other when we need it.”
Additionally, within the diocese, there are monthly Forum Events that are hosted at different parishes throughout the diocese. These events typically involve social time, two testimonial talks, and a motivational Catholic speaker. There are also multiple other events and opportunities hosted around the diocese, from father-
Inferno Men Ministry
daughter dances, adventure excursions for fathers and sons, family get-together events, and social events for the men to attend together.
Lastly, there is also a yearly conference in Colorado Springs, typically on the first weekend in November. The most recent of which had 600 men in attendance.
“We bring in some large talent and provide a day-long retreat experience to ignite a change in the men’s hearts and give them an opportunity to meet and join with fellow men that want to make a change in their lives,” Curren says.
For Curren, the ministry has made a positive impact on his life. He feels he has become a more attentive husband and father, and the ministry has helped him to evaluate how he is doing, in order to share that with the other men.
“Oftentimes, it is in articulating a problem that I am able to fully realize what that problem is,” he says. “In sharing these highs and lows of life, I am able to better understand where I am in my relationship with God and where I can improve my other relationships, whether it
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is in my marriage, at home, with other family, friends, or even at work.”
The group doesn’t provide specific practical answers in the COR meetings, but Curren says he receives the group’s prayers which help him in his journey. The ministry also provides fellowship and accountability for him when he needs it.
“The fellowship growth I have gained from this ministry lies with getting to know other men that have struggles of their own and are also looking towards Christ for help,” Curren says.
“Men don’t naturally tend to share their struggles,” he adds. “We offer an opportunity to do this and battle through life together. Iron sharpens iron, just as men can sharpen other men.”
The next COR meetings starting this month will be on Tuesdays, March 7 and 14, at 7 p.m. Other upcoming events include the March Men’s Forum at Holy Apostles and Stations of the Cross Incline on Good Friday. We encourage you to give it a try!
For more information about Inferno Men, contact Curren Vite at 605-484-9033, David Sprague at 303-886-4085, or visit www.infernomen.com.
“In sharing these highs and lows of life, I am able to better understand where I am in my relationship with God and where I can improve my other relationships, whether it is in my marriage, with family, friends, or even at work.”
St. Francis of Assisi
2746 Fifth Street
Castle Rock, CO 80104
continued from front cover
store, the bank, or the doctor — but it’s important for the future of their families. Many come so that they can help their children learn and talk with their children’s teachers. Vicki has seen students grow in their abilities and confidence as they progress through the levels of classes.
“They come and they are frustrated because they are not able to communicate with their children’s teachers or they go to the doctor and they don’t understand what the doctor is saying,” Vicki says. “I don’t have enough words to express the meaning of the program to our community. It’s the smile on their face when they say that two or three years ago they were intimidated to say even a sentence, but now they feel confident in themselves and are able to communicate with others.”
Classes range from the Pre-Level to Level 4 and serve about 60 students with the help of 14 volunteers. Many volunteers have some level of experience with teaching or with a second language.
“We try to get volunteers that have experience, but
if they don’t have experience, we train them,” Vicki says. “We talk to them about the different cultures of our students as well.”
The classes teach English with a focus on what will be most useful in daily life. Skills needed for employment, business, and personal matters are a priority. Students are equipped to handle emergencies and fill out important forms. Classes also touch on important aspects of American culture.
The ESL Ministry welcomes all students regardless of background and volunteers are always needed to continue this invaluable outreach. As the hands and feet of Christ to the world, our place is always to care for our neighbors in their time of need.
To learn more about the ESL Ministry and volunteer needs, contact Vicki Arndt at 720-215-4523 or firstname.lastname@example.org .