Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I take this opportunity to express my thanks to those who have contributed so generously, and in so many ways, to the mission of the Church in our diocese. I am especially grateful to those who have contributed to the construction of the Newman Catholic Student Center at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs (UCCS).
Those who have supported this effort send a strong and important message to our young people. You are telling them that you love them and want to help them form a solid faith during their college years — years that can be very challenging for young people.
There have been many studies that attest to the number of young people who abandon the faith while attending college. The number is, in fact, staggering. Many young adults in this diocese, as well as in others, have testified that they remained close to God and his Church precisely because of the support that came from a Catholic student ministry during their college years. From the young people who are formed by a vibrant Catholic student ministry come priests and deacons, women religious, faithful married couples, teachers, coaches and parish leaders. We need them!
To date, more than 2,000 households have participated in the fundraising campaign. My prayer is that every one of our Catholic families will donate to this important project. It doesn’t matter if you have no children or relatives at UCCS. It belongs to all of us to do what we can to promote the practice of the faith for young people in our diocese. The student center is located at UCCS, but it will serve college students and young adults from other campuses as well.
If you have had the opportunity to drive by the building, you’ve noticed that it is fast approaching completion. Exterior work is almost complete, and the interior work is moving along. It promises to be a beautiful and very useful building, with a 300-seat chapel as the centerpiece. Mass will be offered daily, along with regular eucharistic adoration and other devotions. Believe me, there are many young people hungry for these ministries.
The center also features a large hall that can be used for meals, lectures, and other sizeable gatherings. Students will also be invited to stop by the center during free times to study or visit with fellow students.
Once again, I thank all those who have pledged financial support. If you have not yet given, I invite you to prayerfully consider making a gift today — no matter how large or small. Any cash or credit card donations received before Dec. 31, 2020 will be matched — dollar for dollar — by the diocese. In addition, there could be great tax benefits for donations this year based upon the CARES Act. I encourage you to check with your tax advisor to learn more about whether your gift would qualify.
Currently, seven parishes have met or exceeded their goals for this campaign. Another five parishes have reached at least 50 percent of their goal. I am most grateful to those pastors and parish staffs who have consistently promoted this project. If you have not heard much about the campaign, I encourage you to talk with your pastor about ways your parish might help.
Together with our UCCS students, as well as the students for generations to come, please accept our prayers of gratitude for your support. Please join us in celebrating the progress that is being made toward the Catholic Student Center, a place that our young adults in college will be able to call home.
Sincerely and gratefully in Christ,
Bishop Michael J. Sheridan