Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even Fr. Carlos!
Our teens and young adults had sung Christmas Carols to those in the Nursing Homes and sang to Sue Herman and Family!
Our Environment Committee had worked long hours to make our new Church look pretty for our First Christmas in our new Church!
Andy had come by on his tractor and cleaned the foot of snow from our Parking Lot!
Our office was closed, the phones stopped ringing with people inquiring “what time is midnight Mass?” (This year 9pm).
So in the blessed quiet of the moment, Fr. Carlos, Deacon Tom, Deacon Chuck and my very hard working staff and I want to wish you a Very Merry Christmas! Thanks for the sacrifices that you made to get us into our new Church! Have a happy, holy, blessed, and prosperous new year!
Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night!
What a great early Christmas gift this trip was for me!
As you know I arrived back late last night from a pastoral visit to the Archdiocese of Kingston, Jamaica. Myself and a brother Priest were invited by the Archbishop of Kingston to look at the possibility of establishing a Sister Parish. I will certainly blog about this more in the future. I am very grateful to the Archbishop for his invitation, his own personal hospitality shown to us and to the great hospitality shown to us by the people whom we encountered.
I had the chance to spend an afternoon as well with the Missionaries of the Poor who do such great care with the poor and the most abandoned in Kingston. Wow, I would certainly encourage you to look them up on the web and to offer them your financial support and prayers. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let me tell you a story about Donovan!
At one of the several places of care that I visited, I walked in and immediately began to say hello to each resident and ask how they were doing. I personally love that very human touch. As I was doing this I heard a voice say from across the room “Hi Father!” I turned and there was Donovan. Donovan is the young man seated in the wheelchair. He told me that several years ago he had met Pope John Paul II when he had visited Jamaica. So we both had a time to share our memories and love for this great Pope! What still strikes me is that Donovan radiated joy in the midst of such suffering and pain. He had that radiating joy that made you leave joyful!
As we get so close to Christmas I tend to meet so many Catholics and others who do not radiate joy! Sadly they radiate unhappiness, impatience, especially since they are not getting all that they want, when they want it.. Donovan to me is a great example for us, or radiating joy. You can really tell that Jesus is with him as he goes through each day. I would strongly encourage you to send a monetary gift to the Missionaries of the Poor to help them as they care for the poor.
What a great early Christmas gift this trip was for me! Fr. Brad
Saint Francis of Assisi was credited with beginning and encouraging the use of the Manger scene
We know that Saint Francis of Assisi was credited with beginning and encouraging the use of the Manger scene at Christmas time.
It is written –
“What he did on the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ near the little town called Greccio in the third year before his glorious death should be especially noted and recalled with reverent memory…Blessed Francis sent for this man…about fifteen days before the Birth of the Lord and he said to him If you want us to celebrate the present feast of our Lord at Greccio, go with haste and diligently prepare what I tell you. For I wish to do something that will recall the memory of the little Child who was born in Bethlehem and set before our bodily eyes in some way the inconveniences of his infant needs, how he lay upon the hay where he had been place…The Manger was prepared, the hay had been bought, the ox and the ass were led in. There simplicity was honored, poverty was exalted, humility was commended and Greccio was made as it were a new Bethlehem. The night was lighted up like the day, and it delighted men and beasts. The people came and were filled with new joy over the new mystery. The people came and were filled with new joy over the new mystery. The woods rang with the voices of the crowd and the rock made answer to their jubilation…. The solemnities of the Mass were celebrated over the manger and the priest experienced a new consolation…”
May we have in our homes a Manger Scene. May we have, as the people of Greccio had experienced, experience abundant and resounding joy remembering the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!
An Advent Reflection from St. Francis of Assisi – Second Sunday in Advent
Sometimes in the midst of this Advent Season we get so preoccupied with finding the right present for a particular person and unfortunately we tend to stress out as human beings. As we pull into a particular shopping mall our stress level comes up because someone took our parking spot that we were ready to pull into. Or we get impatient on the checkout line. Or someone took the last of the particular item that we were looking for. There doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day…
St. Francis teaches us two lessons:
“Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor disturbance.“
Saint Francis of Assisi, the Admonitions XXVII: Virtue puts vice to flight.
So a great Advent Lesson is to be have both patience and humility.
So in this Holy Season of Advent and Preparation it can be so easy to have lots of cares and worries. St. Francis talks about setting aside cares and worries.
“In the holy love which is God, I beg all my brothers… after overcoming every impediment and putting aside every care and anxiety, to serve, love, honor and adore the Lord God with a clean heart and a pure mind in whatever way they are best able to do so, for that is what He wants above all else.”
(St. Francis of Assisi, the Earlier Rule XXII An Admonition to the Brothers, 80)
Today we as a universal church begin a new Year with this most liturgical Season of Advent. Advent is a time of preparation not only for the Second Coming of the Lord, but also a time of remembrance of the Birth of Christ. It is a time of waiting, preparation and hope. It can be a very holy time in our life if we choose to prepare ourselves wisely. I know that this can be a very busy time in our lives as we prepare our own houses for Christmas by putting up lights and a Christmas Tree. A lot of people are frantically running around trying to find the “perfect present” for someone whom we deeply love. The malls seem to be so crowded, the people whom we encounter seem to be so rushed, so unfriendly.
If we deeply love Jesus Christ, our Lord, this most holy season of Advent really becomes a time or waiting for the Lord, watching for the Lord, preparing for the Lord. I invite each of you to be somewhat countercultural and incorporate and Advent Wreath in your house, find and use and Advent Calendar, pray Morning/Evening and Night Prayer (you can sign up for I Breviary to download to your computer, I phone, I pad – You are on it anyway all day). I would encourage you to get to Confession (– call Fr. Carlos or I for a Special Appointment, or come on Saturday from 4:15-5:15pm).
I would encourage you to watch spiritually enriching programs on TV. HBO had a great special entitled Top Ten Monks. I would encourage you and your family to watch this great special about these Cistercian Monks in Austria. They really live in the world, but not of the world. I would encourage you to watch a glimpse of this on You Tube – enjoy. I really enjoyed their authenticity and their peace.
May this be an incredible time of holy preparation for us all!
Today is a great day in the life of the universal church and in the life of this particular church of St. Francis of Assisi in Castle Rock, Colorado! Happy Feast Day of Blessed John Paul II. This feast has allowed me to pause and to think about how Pope John Paul II has spiritually influenced our now completed building project. I went back to the blog that I wrote on May 17, 2010.
Happy Birthday to our Late and Great Pope John Paul II
As you know I have a great affection and love for our Late Holy Father Pope John Paul II. I was ordained a Priest in 1999 and have very much been inspired by the way in which he lived his life, his depth of prayer, his wisdom, his love for the Eucharist, his strong love for the people to whom he ministered, his closeness with his friends, his many writings (in particular on the mercy of God) and his great love for our Blessed Mother.
Pope John Paul II said three things that have strongly influenced my living out of the Priesthood and they are:
Be Not Afraid!
Duc et Altum! (put out into the deep!)
Totus Tuus! (Totally Yours. May I totally be yours!)
In my chapel is a wonderful painting from the Eddy family and I love this particular print because it shows Pope John Paul II’s determination and inner strength. I keep in it my private chapel at home and draw strength from it.
Tomorrow on May 18th we as a parish go before our Diocesan Building and Property Commission and humbly ask them and our Bishop for permission to build our new Church Sanctuary. I am personally so grateful to our parishioners for their abundant generosity, love for the Church, great support for this project and perseverance over the years to turn this dream into a reality. I am grateful to Father Vollmer and Fr. Herb Hayek for their vision and all of their hard work. The leadership of this parish has been a blessing to work with, as well as my most excellent staff.
May 18th is the Birth date of Pope John Paul II. What a providential date to meet and talk about our future! It is so easy to be afraid, especially in this economy – Be not Afraid! It is easy to say that it is a good time to stay close to the shore and in safe waters, Duc et Altum! And like Pope John Paul II you and I entrust everything to Our Lady and his most Blessed Mother – Totus Tuus!
As you know on that date the permission to go ahead and build from the Diocesan Building and Property Commission and several days later received from Bishop Sheridan (after consulting his College of Consultors) permission to build!
This great picture was taken by Ray Schieferecke, from our Building and Property Commission. It’s a great picture of everyone gathering outside of the church prior to its dedication. Our parking lot was overflowing and our new Church was soon packed with parishioners and guests. Our Bishop Michael Sheridan was the Principal Celebrant and did a great job with the Mass including the formal rite of Dedication. Bishop Hanifen was present with us as well. Former Pastors, Father Bill Vollmer and Fr. Herb Hayek OP, were with us as well as most of the Priests and Deacons of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. It was a truly beautiful Mass, at the culmination of many years of hard work and sacrifice by our wonderful parishioners. Gloria and her Environment Committee worked hard to get all of the details and flowers together. Don Billings and the combined choirs did a phenomenal job with the Music! Thanks to all who helped make this day possible!
The wonderful picture above shows the beauty of our new Altar and Sanctuary Area. It really came out great! The marble Mensa (top of the altar) is from the old church. Berich Masonry did a great job with building the base of the new Altar and Tabernacle. CAPCO in Denver did a phenomenal job with cutting the Onyx translucent stone that is behind the Tabernacle. The beautiful San Damiano Cross was hand made by Dick Tobin, one of our parishioners. Our new Tabernacle came from Gerkens in Denver. The Diamond Family (our parishioners did the woodwork for the New Altar, Tabernacle, Ambo and Presider and Deacon Chairs. It really came out great. The beautiful Bernini Window was handcrafted by a local artist. Modern Woodwork in Denver did a beautiful job with the woodwork Baldacchino over the Tabernacle.
Words can never adequately express our thanks to Brett Prather and his partners from Architectural Innovations who designed such us such a beautiful new Church Sanctuary! Words can never adequately express our thanks to Fransen-Pittman General Contractors. This was my second build with them. They did a great job on this. Our General Superintendent on this project was Mark Thiesen. Out of genuine respect and love for his passion for excellence – I called him (and still do) my Master Builder. We dedicated the tree in front of our new Church Sanctuary to him. Mark – you are a real blessing!
A few days after our dedication we had our first snowfall of the Season! How pretty the church and its grounds look in the snow!
Again, my personal thanks to each of you who have made this project successful! It is a joy serving in this parish – a parish that has been around since 1888 with such a legacy that continues not only today but also for the future!
In Christ, Fr. Brad
Wow! What a profound week in the life of our very busy parish!
This has been a profound week not only in my life, but in the life of this very busy parish! Saturday I joined with many others for the IAFF Fallen Firefighter Annual Memorial in Colorado Springs. We remembered all of the Firefighters who died in the line of duty, and especially remembered the 87 firefighters who died in the line of duty last year in the United States and Canada. It is always a profound time of tribute and remembrance, especially this year as a past friend of mine Captain Pam Butler’s name was added to the wall. Pam had a great heart! I would ask you to each day pray for the protection of all of our Firefighters, Police Officers, Sheriff’s Deputy’s, State Troopers, Corrections Officers, EMS workers and Military Men and Women for their protection.
Sunday our parish hosted a birthday party for Fr. Bill Vollmer. Fr. Bill turned 80 and God Bless him he is as active as the day that he retired. Hundreds of his friends joined in singing Happy Birthday to him and wishing him many more years of service. Congratulations Fr. Bill.
Not only are we building a new Church, but a large group of very dedicated parishioners are helping with cleaning, sanding and painting our former Church Sanctuary, which will soon serve as our new Parish Hall. Another group is helping us to clean and paint our newly remodeled offices. Another large group is helping to plant shrubs and taking care of the grounds. We are so blessed to have such great volunteers. Our Parishioners do make the difference.
One of the things that really struck me during my first week here (just over three years ago) was the authentically warm spirit of the parishioners, and the fact that so many were willing to pitch in and help. I am so blessed to be here as Pastor with such great parishioners!!
Wow, what great care for the details by our parishioners.
Keep up the great work –St. Francis Parishioners!!!
Old World Style Craftsmanship Continues! Part two!!!
It is so cool to see that how each of the individual craftsman are using their great talents to build us a really hand crafted new Church. I really applaud the Fransen-Pittman General Contractors and the sub-contractors who have great pride in their work and a keen eye for detail! Since a picture is worth a 1,000 words, let me show you some really fine craftsmanship done in the Old World Style –
This is Mario from Berich Masonry. He is one of the master masons building the base for the Ambo, Altar and Ambo (pulpit). He is shown here building the base for the new Tabernacle. It is such a joy to watch these guys individually chisel each stone. Talk about craftsmanship! It really reminds me about how they build the old cathedrals.
It’s hard to see in this picture but this is James from Duro Electric carefully installing one of the new light fixtures in the cupola. I am certainly glad that he was on the lift and not me! James, Paul and the Crew from Duro are doing a great job!
I am really proud of the crew from B&M Roofing. It has been a real challenge trying to fashion the new standing seem metal roof over our Carpenter Gothic Arches. It is a very complex project. B&M has really worked hard to work through the obstacles and are continuing to refine their work on this very complex project.
It is great to be at the stage of the project where the landscaping starts to be installed. All Phase Landscaping is now working to get all of the many plants, trees and bushes planted and watered. Our 13.6 acre campus is really starting to pop!
We are truly blessed that we have Watkins Stained Glass Company working on our many pieces of Antique stained Glass. Watkins is probably one of the oldest stained glass companies in Denver. This is the first Stained Glass Window installed in the new Church. This Rose Window of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother was actually made in the 1880’s and came from a church that was closed. Phil and Jane from Watkins did a great job with restoration and installation.
I’ll have more updates next week.
Thanks, Fr. Brad
Old World style Craftsmanship carried out in the Present!
One of the things that makes my heart really soar is to see on a daily basis what I call Old World Style Craftsmanship being performed here by Fransen-Pittman and its subcontractors. When they built cathedrals in the old days each trade had their “Master Craftsman” working on. It was evident in the pride in which each laborer took when crafting something for the cathedral. It is certainly refreshing to see that same tradition carry on in this build.
First of all we are truly blessed to have Mark Thiesen as our General Superintendent on this job. Mark has been with Fransen Pittman for many years, and I consider him to be a “Master Builder.” Mark is hands on, has a great eye for details, has a great sense of thinking ahead to figure out potential problems and has extraordinary organizational skills. Mark is supported by a great ground crew here and Mike Muniz and Alan Anderson are doing a great job with project management.
Fransen Pittman’s own Master carpenters have been doing a lot of work around the building. The picture above shows the extraordinary carpentry detail that was done in the ceiling of the cupola. Kudos to Master Carpenter Frank for his great eye for detail. I personally love the cross in the center of the arched ceiling. By the way his craftsmanship is visible in the parking lot at night. Great job!
Our new Baptistery was made just north of us in Boulder by a company called Living Design Studios. Jessica and her team did a great job! It is a real example of Old World Style Craftsmanship! When it was delivered – I was just floored. It is truly a work of art! Thanks Jessica and Living Design Studios. I would invite you to see their website – just Google Living Design Studios Boulder.
The Masons from Canyon Creek have been keeping busy installing the Sunset Stone Products (manufactured here in Castle Rock) around the inside and outside of our new Church. As I watch these craftsman work, it brings me back to the masons of old. They do a phenomenal job as you can see by the picture above.
Again, great work across the project. Next week I will feature B&M roofing, Duro Electric, Quality Mechanical, and Berich Masons. Kudos also to Ken Caryl Glass and to Watkins Stained Glass! Keep up the great work – our cathedral builders of the present!
On Tuesday our new Cupola weighing in at 22,000 pounds was hoisted effortlessly to its new home. Thanks be to God that there was no wind at all that day!
Our Bishop Michael Sheridan was warmly greeted by our Parishioners prior to the Blessing. Many parishioner came to the Blessing and the fine BBQ provided by the Knights of Columbus. Unfortunately, severe thunderstorms prevented the raising of the Cross which was moved to the following Sunday. Thanks Gary Atler at G David Photography for taking the fine pictures!
Castle Rock Firefighters Jay Allen, Shawn McWhorter, Justin Coffey and Franktown Fire Paramedic Brian Kendall folded and presented a United States Flag which they presented to Bishop Sheridan in honor of all those killed on September 11th.
On an absolutely beautiful Sunday Morning our New Cross was raised into place. Master Craftsman Jon Tucker is seen here moving the cross into place assisted by Castle Rock Firefighter Justin Coffey. Many of our parishioners were in the parking lot cheering and honking their car horns!
Our new Cross was also blessed by two visiting Bishops from the Ukraine – Bishop Marion and Bishop Vitaly, two visiting Priests from the Ukraine – Father Yuri and Father Igor as well as Fr. Paul Wicker from Holy Apostles Parish in Colorado Springs and Fr. Brad.
A lot of work is going on both on the inside and outside of the New Church.
New tile is being placed. The Sunset Stone is being placed on the inside of our new Church. Cabinets are being placed. Here we go on our Sprint to the finish of our Project. Fransen-Pittman and the Subcontractors are doing a great job!
possibility of Changing the times of the Masses held here
As we get so close to moving in to our new Church – I want to bring up with you what may be a very sensitive subject! I want to begin with you a discussion about the possibility of Changing the times of the Masses held here. I certainly understand that sometimes talking about this as a possibility may bring up a lot of feelings – I’d certainly like to know how you feel about this.
To record your thoughts and feelings on this, I have set up on Survey Monkey a little survey on the subject. Click here to take survey
There are a lot of different thoughts that can go into this possible change. There are a lot of different values that we have to consider. We have to remember that the new Church Sanctuary will now seat 847. As I look at it the Spanish Mass it seems in the wrong place on a Saturday evening at 7:30pm. I also have had a lot of parishioners ask about the possibility of a Sunday Evening Mass. I also very much value the existing communities of those attending the 5:30pm Saturday Evening Mass, the 7:30am/ 9:30 am Mass and the 11:30 am Mass.
I very much value your opinion and would love to hear your thoughts on this most important subject. I am not planning on a change at this time, I would just like to hear from you. If we do make a change, the move into the new Church Sanctuary could certainly be a very natural time to make it, if we choose to.
Again, Thanks for all that you do in the life of this most vibrant!
Come To The Blessing and Installation of the Cross that will be placed on top of the Cupola!
Our beautiful Cupola will be installed on top of our new Church Sanctuary early during the first week of August. And on that same week you are most cordially invited to attend our Blessing and Installation of the New Cross that will be placed on top of the Cupola!
Thursday August 4th, 2011
St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church
2746 Fifth Street, Castle Rock, CO. 80104
Order of Events:
3:30 pm Blessing of the New Cross by Bishop Sheridan! 4:00 pm The New Cross is hoisted up and is placed by Parishioners who are Firefighters. 5:00 pmFree Parish Cookout by Knights of Columbus and Free Ice Cream Sundaes by our Youth Group
COME AND JOIN US TO CELEBRATE THIS HISTORIC MILESTONE!
many great events in the life of our very busy parish
This past week many great events transpired in the life of our very busy parish. First we welcome the arrival of Father Carlos Gallardo-Morales as our new Parochial Vicar. Father Carlos will do great here at the Parish as exhibits genuine humility and a great love for people. We as a parish are blessed to have him with us. Many thanks to Bishop Sheridan for assigning Father Carlos to us! Father Carlos is show in the picture above imparting a blessing to Deacon Ken Huard following Father Carlos’ Ordination.
This week we received from Dick Tobin, our parishioner and artist, his beautiful gift of the San Damiano Cross. Dick spent countless hours painting all of the great details of this now magnificent work of art. Newly ordained Father Jim Baron helped moved the new Cross and is seen looking at it with his Mom, myself and LT. Joe Tafoya (a great friend of mine).
The Masons from Berich are constructing the Back Reredos Wall of the Church. They are doing a great job and it is looking terrific.
Sunset Stone began deliveries this week on the outside faux stone. The Masons from Canyon Creek have begun to install the Stone. I personally really like the look of the stone. Sunset Stone is a manufacturing company located right here in Castle Rock and Canyon Creek is doing a great job on installation.
This picture shows how the Stucco and the Stone come together- WOW! Our Stucco Contractors are a company called The Rock. They are doing a great job as well.
South Valley Drywall continues to do a great job with all of our drywall. This is the picture of one of our new confessionals. It will be open for business shortly.
As you can see a lot is going on in the life of this very busy and wonderful church community! Thanks for all that you do to make all of this happen!!!
Since it has been a few weeks since I put some new Construction pictures on the web, I thought I would use this occasion to bring you up to speed!
Work on the new Cupola (steeple) that will be placed on the top of our new church is progressing nicely. The beautiful bronze colored metal seam roofing is being installed. Windows will go in next and then some stucco. We are hoping to place the cupola on July 15th and then have a parish wide celebration of the placing of the Cross atop the cupola on July 20th. Please know that these days may change due to weather and wind. Please keep checking on this web page for further information.
It is really great to see the first of the many clear windows installed! As you have probably heard our aluminum original supplier went out of business. Ken Caryl Glass (our installers), along with FP and Architectural Innovations have really done a great job scrambling and securing another supplier. Way to go! This window section is located in our new Narthex (Gathering Space) and is located next to our new indoor fireplace! I personally want to thank the family who donated the fireplace!
The first coat of Stucco is placed on our New Church. It is certainly great to see that first coat go on, especially with abundant sunshine and little or no wind. Soon the faux stone will be starting to be installed. The Supplier of the brick is Sunset Stone, which is a local Castle Rock major supplier of Brick. I hope to get a tour of their plant and shoot you some pictures.
The crew from South Valley Drywall has been installing the metal studs and insulation and is now beginning the installation of drywall. I personally love working with South Valley Drywall as they do great work!
Deacon Tom and I are hoping to do a road trip to the pew suppliers and I will put that on the web for you. I am also going to do a road trip to CAPCO in Denver who is supplying our Translucent Stone for the window behind our Tabernacle. Dick Tobin (one of our parishioners) is working on the San Damiano Cross and I’ll feature that in the next blog. It looks great! Paul Diamond, one of our parishioners, is busy with the many pieces of custom woodwork.
Our Construction site is very active. I ask you to pray daily for the safety of all of our workers. Of course, if you ever want a personal tour, shoot me an email! I’ll be most happy to give you a tour! Again, I would be remiss if I didn’t say thank you to each of our parishioners for your love, support and generosity that enable us to build in these very difficult economic times. I also want to say thanks to Bishop Sheridan, Deacon Doug, Janis and Bob at our Diocese for all of your support, guidance and prayers.