CEO, Catholic Charities of Central Colorado
December 18, 2017  |  By ANDY BARTON
“Somebody is going to hurt.” That is the way one Congressional staffer characterized the state of our federal budget to me this summer. Discretionary spending on social programs like Head Start, Community Development Block Grants, and SNAP food assistance face dramatic cuts that could impact El Paso County non-profits by over $50 million annually. These programs are pitted against spending on infrastructure and the military, and without raising taxes there is not enough money to go around. Any resolution on the budget is guaranteed to be met with significant pushback from one side or the other of the political spectrum.
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October 20, 2017  |  By ANDY BARTON
Like many Americans, I can trace a line in my ancestry to the “Catholic hordes,” though I have never said it that way. The term is antiquated, once representing a majority sentiment of mid-19th century Americans who actively protested immigration in their time. 
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August 18, 2017  |  By ANDY BARTON
A recent study, paid for by a cannabis advocacy group, is touting the positive economic impact of legal marijuana in Colorado. The group’s goal is to convince voters in cities like Colorado Springs to allow for the recreational sale of the drug. There are smart, thoughtful people on both sides of this debate and perhaps even more who do not give it much thought. Yet, from a Catholic perspective as well as that of an agency working on the front lines with our poor and homeless, it is clear that legalizing marijuana is bad for our community, and it is particularly bad for those we serve.
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June 16, 2017  |  By ANDY BARTON
Lists are everywhere in what I have been reading lately.  From “The Best Books of Summer” to “15 Ways to Improve Personal Finances,” there is no shortage of ideas this time of year of ways to spend our time and enhance our lives.  In the spirit of those lists, I thought I would do my own this month around ways to integrate charity into daily routine.  Many of you will find you are already engaged in one or more of these activities.  Not everything is for everyone, but hopefully it will give some ideas, spur some thought, and maybe even conversation.
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April 21, 2017  |  By ANDY BARTON
One of the most hope filled moments of the year for our poor and vulnerable came at the Easter Vigil last Saturday night when we welcomed our catechumens into the church. These new Catholic faithful are cause for celebration for so many reasons, but the greatest may be what they mean for charity. As Pope Paul VI writes in “Divinae Consortium Naturae”: “By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity.” These newly initiated men, women, and children are reinforcements in the battle against the colossal specter of poverty in our community.
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February 17, 2017  |  By ANDY BARTON

This month I would like to begin with a story.  A pregnant mother walks into a clinic seeking an abortion.  She is undocumented, originally from Guatemala.  She receives counseling and instead of an abortion chooses to give birth to her son, Mateo.  The mother moves in with Mateo’s father, finds work off and on, is a victim of domestic abuse and eventually moves out.  She and Mateo couch surf and live in shelters for most of the boy’s youth. 

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