On March 8, 2014, Rev. Thomas O’Hara, C.S.C., provincial superior of the U.S. Province, presided at a Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., marking the 30th anniversary of the arrival of the Congregation of Holy Cross to the parish.
The Tri-Community Catholic Parish of Colorado Springs also includes Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Manitou Springs and Holy Rosary Chapel in Cascade. Following the Mass, there was a celebratory dinner served by the parish’s youth group in the parish hall.
Parishioners from Tri-Community’s three churches joined the local Holy Cross community and Most Rev. Michael Sheridan, bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs, to fill Sacred Heart for the Mass. Among the parishioners in attendance were many who remembered the arrival of Holy Cross to the parish in June 1984.
Rev. Ron Raab, C.S.C., the current pastor of Ti-Community, was the first Holy Cross religious to arrive to the Sacred Heart Parish that summer and was associate pastor of the church. He was joined a couple of weeks later by Rev. Le Roy Clementich, C.S.C., who served 12 years as the first Holy Cross pastor of the parish.
In remarks before the start of Mass, Fr. Raab recalled his arrival to the parish as young priest 30 years ago. “I arrived the first week of June 1984 to receive the keys from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate whose provincial house was in San Antonio, Texas,” said Fr. Raab. “They served at Sacred Heart for many years. After that first week, I traveled back to Notre Dame for a full-province meeting. The following week, Rev. Le Roy Clementich, C.S.C., arrived at Sacred Heart Church to serve as the first Holy Cross pastor in the new diocese of Colorado Springs. I served with Fr. Clem for three of his 12 years at Sacred Heart.
“Since 1984, at least 20 priests and deacons have served the parish. Dozens of novices have also served in various ministries. We bring to this community a vision from our founder that hope is for all people. God’s mercy is pure gift and the Cross of Christ is about both human suffering and yet the path to salvation. ‘The Cross, Our Only Hope’ is more than a motto on paper, but a lifestyle of prayer and service for all people,” Fr. Raab said.
In his homily during the Mass, Fr. O’Hara thanked the parishioners for welcoming Holy Cross to serve in their midst and call the parish “home” these 30 years. He praised the community for its commitment to prayer and service. He also singled out the way in which the parish has helped train generations of Holy Cross priests and brothers who have come to Colorado as novices for their Novitiate year of formation.
At the end of Mass, Bishop Sheridan thanked the Congregation of Holy Cross for its long, faithful service in the diocese, which is continued now by Fr. Raab and Rev. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C., associate pastor. Bishop Sheridan then said a special blessing over the local Holy Cross community, which included the 12 Holy Cross novices and their staff, Rev. Kenneth Molinaro, C.S.C., novice master; Rev. Don Dilg, C.S.C., assistant novice master, and Br. James Blaszak, C.S.C., procurator. Rev. Richard Wilkinson, C.S.C., first assistant provincial and vicar of the U.S. Province, also participated in the 30th anniversary Mass and celebration.
The Congregation of Holy Cross first arrived in Cascade, Colo., in the summer of 1978. The area was then part of the Archdiocese of Denver. The Cusack mansion in Cascade had been donated to Holy Cross for use as a Novitiate. Fr. Raab was actually in the first class of novices at the Novitiate. Six years later, in 1984 – the same year that the Diocese of Colorado Springs was formed – Holy Cross came at the request of Most Rev. Richard Hanifen, then bishop of Colorado Springs, to take pastoral responsibility for Sacred Heart Parish, which included Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel in Manitou Springs and Holy Rosary Chapel in Cascade.
(Photos by Rusty Kern)