CEO, Catholic Charities of Central Colorado
April 16, 2021 | By ANDY BARTON
Getting kids into heaven — that is how Deacon Rob Rysavy, the president of St. Mary’s High School, explained the goal of Catholic education in a conversation recently.
His characterization brought to mind an experience I had earlier in April in the gymnasium at Divine Redeemer School. Catholic Charities of Central Colorado had been chosen as the recipient of the Extreme Lenten Project to collect toiletry items for our community’s poor and vulnerable.
February 19, 2021 | By ANDY BARTON
The best advice I have ever received about understanding Catholic teaching on modern times came from a friend who recommended reading encyclicals. Pope Benedict’s “Deus Caritas Est” was the first one I picked up, in a little red, paperback version. I read it in one sitting. That copy, with my underlines and exclamation points on dog eared pages, sits at my desk and I refer to it frequently. Since then, I have read several other encyclical letters by Leo XIII, Paul VI, St. John Paul II, Benedict and Francis. I would recommend every one of them. Their words continue to help form my thought and understanding about what it means to be Catholic and human.
December 18, 2020 | By ANDY BARTON
I had never seen “Meet Me in St. Louis” until recently, but I knew the song. Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is, according to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the fifth most popular Christmas song of all time. It has been covered by countless musicians in the 76 years since it was written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane in 1944. Like all great art, the song is timeless: it could not be more timely than in this year.
October 15, 2020 | By ANDY BARTON
Somehow, I have been expecting some event that would get things back to normal. Last spring, I thought it would be the arrival of warm weather. Later, I thought it would be the fall when children returned to school. Recently, that new marker was Christmas, with a vaccine approved for use. But this past Sunday, as I looked around at yet another socially distanced Mass, I finally accepted that no such event was coming. We will not, one Sunday all of the sudden, start sitting next to each other in pews, without masks like we did last February.
August 21, 2020 | By ANDY BARTON
I wonder what school children will think when they read about COVID-19 in their history books decades from now.
How will they judge the actions our generation took or failed to take? History tends to make the difficult decisions of living through an era seem simple: we all know how well hindsight scores on vision exams.
June 19, 2020 | By ANDY BARTON
Two dates in 2020 will be etched in my memory forever: March 13, the day COVID-19 changed everything, and May 25, the day George Floyd’s death changed everything again.
April 17, 2020 | By ANDY BARTON
This past week, on a Good Friday that none of us will ever forget, I stood with Father Ron Raab in the parking lot at Sacred Heart Church on the west side of Colorado Springs, watching our homeless get a hot meal from a Salvation Army food truck. The Sacred Heart parking lot is one of two locations that has allowed for the mobile meal service: many others, including city parks, have prohibited the temporary onsite service.
February 21, 2020 | By ANDY BARTON
As a convert, Lent is a time of year for which I have great fondness. What makes the season so special for me, personally, is not only the refocus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving, but the memory of that Lent that led up to the Easter Vigil when I was confirmed. It was a joyful time at the end of my journey to Catholicism, which was long and winding. There were many events and people who played a part in my conversion, but I was most profoundly impacted by women religious, both as individuals and by what they represent.
December 20, 2019 | By ANDY BARTON
The Trump administration’s announcement last week regarding the restoration of work requirements connected to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has added volume to a misguided belief around employment in our nation.
October 18, 2019 | By ANDY BARTON
Our community lost a beautiful man and priest last month with the passing of Msgr. Don Dunn. Among so many life accomplishments, one of his most important may have been the founding of Catholic Charities of Central Colorado in 1968. The stated focus at the time was child welfare.
September 6, 2019 | By ANDY BARTON
If you want to hear from someone who is really concerned about the condition of our poor in the United States, talk to a visitor from the Gaza Strip.
June 21, 2019 | By ANDY BARTON
As a convert to Catholicism — my family and I were confirmed on Easter in 2015 — one of the questions I am asked most often by other Catholics is how I feel about the clergy sex scandal. My answer is always the same: it did not change my faith then and does not now. When I made the decision to join the Church, I was aware of the findings that had come to light in 2002. But those revelations had not changed what my family and I had experience while worshipping at an incredible parish for three years before we decided to convert. The “scandal” had no impact on the supportive community, the beauty of the Mass, or our interaction with the parish staff and clergy who welcomed us as members.
April 19, 2019 | By ANDY BARTON
I love my neighbors. They are an older couple who have lived in the house next door for over 40 years. She bakes us the most incredible cakes in exchange for shoveling their walks. He waves to me in the mornings when we are out getting our respective newspapers. By virtue of our shared property line, we look out for and take care of each other.
March 1, 2019 | By ANDY BARTON
The Colorado Center on Law and Policy released a report in December entitled “Overlooked & Undercounted 2018” with very little fanfare. The information in the report is hugely important in understanding the reality of poverty in our communities, especially for families. The main takeaway is that the data used in defining poverty is flawed, leading to a dramatically understated number of families who are struggling to get by.
December 21, 2018 | By ANDY BARTON
Amid the celebrations of Christmastime, it is easy to forget that the arrival of Jesus came with a significant amount of discomfort for the people around him — starting with Mary, who gave birth in a manger (as my wife reminds me, giving birth is no day at the spa under the best circumstances). Our modern imagery of the nativity likely does not capture how hard it would have been for a young girl to deliver her first child, miles from her home, surrounded by livestock. So too for the three wise men who left the comfort of their homes to journey across the desert with gifts for the newborn king. For Mary and for the Magi, leaving their comfort zones was a matter of faith, done unquestionably in response to the gift that God had given.
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