Sacred Heart Parish celebrates the past, looks to the future
by William J. Dagendesh
COLORADO SPRINGS. About 1,000 people attended a three-day event marking the 100th anniversary of Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs.
The event kicked off July 15 with celebrants taking advantage of the food trucks offering an assortment of cultural dishes. Craig’s Fusion Mobile Restaurant provided an assortment of Venezuelan cuisine and Papa Bear’z Grill Restaurant, a taste of America. Wicked Good Ice Cream catered to those seeking a sweet tooth fix.
On July 16, Holy Cross Father Ronald Raab, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, opened the Mass by wishing the congregation a happy birthday.
“This church was dedicated 100 years ago today. Tonight, we begin its second 100 years of service,” he said as applause filled the church.
Father Raab introduced Bishop William Wack from the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, who is also a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross. During the Mass, Bishop Wack talked about Jesus’ mother, Mary, and Martha, and how their service rested on their faith in Jesus. “As we celebrate 100 years in this building, we think about the thousands of people who passed through here, who sought to serve Jesus,” Bishop Wack said.
Following the mass, Bishop Wack, Father Raab and Holy Cross Father Randy Rentner, associate pastor of Sacred Heart Church, dedicated the new Our Lady of Sorrows sculpture on the southeast side of the church. Created by Dr. Joel Ernster, the sculpture depicts the patroness of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. Bishop Emeritus Richard Hanifen was unable to attend the dedication.
Although a thunderstorm temporarily threatened to dampen festivities, Bishop Wack, in his trademark humor, said the tip of his mitre (headwear) was susceptible to attracting lightning.
“It’s probably the highest point of anyone here,” Bishop Wack said as he turned toward the dark sky and raised his hands heavenward amid laughter from parishioners.
Following the dedication, residents gathered inside the parish center gym where the All in Jazz Trio filled the air with their special blend of live jazz sounds. Some jazz-lovers, anticipating the music, shared their air guitar, keyboard and saxophone skills with others.
One out-of-towner, who identified herself as Jaycee, learned about the celebration while visiting friends and decided to check it out.
“I am glad to see this parish celebrate its anniversary. The camaraderie is contagious,” she said.
Also, people welcomed new Sacred Heart pastor, Holy Cross Father Jarrod Waugh, and said goodbye to Father Raab, who on July 18 transferred to Austin, Texas to assume directorship of Campus Ministry at St. Edward’s University.
“I carry you all with me. I will have much grieving to bring to prayer as I journey beyond Colorado. Thank you for these years. Thank you for providing a home for me. Thank you in our mutual search for God,” Father Raab said.
In a program booklet, Bill Carter, who is with the Building Committee and Finance Council, described Father Raab as vulnerable when the washing machine and waste system broke down, but as someone who lives by and with the Holy Spirit.
“This man learns and relies on his relationship with the Holy Spirit. No other explanation works for his approach to parish life. Father Ron builds teams with ‘no ego’ in anybody. People enjoy teaming with him and his friend, the Holy Spirit. The results are phenomenal,” Carter said.
Former business manager Julie Pilant praised Father Raab for his administrative acumen.
“I had been on staff over 16 years when Father Ron arrived in 2013. He walked in and change followed him through the door. I can imagine his first day at St. Edwards as he walks into his new office . . . They have no idea about the transformation that’s coming,” Pilant said.
On July 17, Bishop James Golka also paid tribute to Father Raab while celebrating the 9 a.m. Mass.
“Father Ron has been such a blessing to me, the diocese and all of you. Thank you for your ministry of care, attention and loyalty to the people of this parish and the people of our diocese,” Bishop Golka said.
Following the Mass Bishop Golka dedicated the newly-restored St. André House, a former rectory-turned-multi-purpose meeting facility with gathering space, accessible handicap classrooms, common meeting space and classrooms.
Before concluding the dedication, Bishop Golka blessed incoming pastor Father Jarrod Waugh. “Oh, and this is for good measure,” Bishop Golka said as he sprinkled incense on the priest while the crowd clapped approvingly.
Tom Rhode, Grand Knight for Knights of Columbus Council No. 13981, enjoyed the parish camaraderie. “And, sales are doing well, too,” Rhode said of the multi-colored socks and soft cover Sacred Heart Church history books on sale. Proceeds will benefit the St. Andre House.
Of the celebration, Knights of Columbus Trustee Stephen Mantz added, “This is a vibrant and active parish. Experiencing the camaraderie is worth being here.”