CEO, Catholic Charities of Central Colorado
May 6, 2022  |  By ANDY BARTON

Working for Catholic Charities provides me with unique and wonderful opportunities. 

One of them is this column which grants me a voice throughout the diocese every six weeks.  Another is the chance to meet and get to know the people we are serving.  Some of the most meaningful interactions I have had in this work are with our homeless brothers and sisters. 

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March 4, 2022  |  By ANDY BARTON

One of the greatest challenges in humanitarian work is determining when it becomes enablement. At what point does providing services contribute to the propagation of people’s needs? It is a challenge that arises around issues ranging from homelessness to asylum seekers at the border. The claim of enablement occurs with some frequency for Catholic Charities when focused on the location of the Marian House in Colorado Springs. Some believe that providing services at that location enables homelessness in the downtown area. 

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December 17, 2021  |  By ANDY BARTON

One afternoon earlier this month, I received a call from an attorney I know. He explained that a woman had been sleeping in a covered area behind his downtown office for some time and he was looking for guidance on how to help her. He was not asking to get rid of her — he had been allowing her to sleep in that spot for months, occasionally allowing her to sleep in the building. Instead, he was expressing a genuine concern for the woman’s health and safety as the nights have started to get much colder.

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October 15, 2021  |  By ANDY BARTON

At this point in the pandemic, nothing should surprise us. Yet the employment numbers that came out earlier this month are head scratching.

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August 20, 2021  |  By ANDY BARTON

The history of Indian residential schools was largely unknown to me before June when the news of 215 unmarked graves at a school formally run by the Catholic Church surfaced out of Kamloops, British Columbia.  I have followed the story since then as new discoveries have increased the count of these graves in Canada to 1,300. The deceased were some of the 150,000 indigenous children who were removed from their homes, sometimes forcefully, by the Canadian government from the late 1800s through much of the 20th century.  

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June 18, 2021  |  By ANDY BARTON

By virtue of my job, I am one of a relatively few number of the 180,000 Catholics in the Diocese of Colorado Springs who gets to interact with our bishop on a regular basis. I take that familiarity for granted, forgetting that most people only see Bishop Sheridan in more formal settings which do not allow for the kind of interactions that build familiarity.

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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.  

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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