2016 Year in Review
Friday, Dec. 30, 2016
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Father Jorge Martinez was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Salt Lake City on June 24 in the Cathedral of the Madeleine. IC file photo
During 2016, Catholics were affected by events large and small in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, the United States, and the world. Following are a few of those events that were reported throughout the year in the Intermountain Catholic.
• The Name of God is Mercy, the first book the Holy Father published as pope, was released in 86 countries on Jan. 12.
• While in Mexico Feb. 12-16, the pope visited a children’s hospital, prayed before the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, called during a visit to Morelia for Church workers to take God’s mercy to all the people, and celebrated Mass in the border town of Ciudad Juarez and waved to those people across the border in El Paso, Texas, who gathered in solidarity.
• On April 8, the Vatican released Amoris Laetitia, the Holy Father’s reflection on the family and family life.
• Saint Joseph Parish in Monticello held an open house of the new church and parish hall on Jan. 11.
• St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center dedicated its Cate’s Café on Jan. 15.
• The 15 candidates for the Spanish-speaking diaconate in the Diocese of Salt Lake City were instituted into the ministry of the acolyte in the Cathedral of the Madeleine on Feb. 27 by Bishop emeritus Lorenzo Cárdenas Aregullin of the Diocese of Papanla, Puebla, Mexico.
• The Madeleine Choir School kicked off its 20th anniversary with a special performance of Monteverdi’s “Vespers” on March 6.
• The 2016 Utah State Legislature regular session, which ended March 10, resulted in mixed results on Catholic social justice issues. Among the results: A bill that would have legalized assisted suicide failed to pass out of committee, but a bill that would have amended the death penalty also failed to pass.
• Archbishop emeritus George H. Niederauer of San Francisco, who served as the eighth Bishop of Salt Lake City, returned to the Cathedral of the Madeleine March 17 to celebrate the Chrism Mass.
• The Catholic Woman’s League celebrated its 100th anniversary with a tea on April 3.
• The Cathedral of the Madeleine lost by a mere 181 votes to St. John Cantius Church in the Archdiocese of Chicago in the “Church Madness: National Churchpionship” contest on social media.
• Our Lady of Lourdes Hospitality North American Volunteers brought a virtual pilgrimage of the French shrine to Saint John the Baptist Parish on April 23.
• Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, visited Sat Lake City May 4 at the invitation of leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
• The Apostolate for Holy Relics Tour visited three parishes in the Diocese of Salt Lake City May 15-18.
• On June 13, the Skaggs Catholic Center hosted a prayer service for the victims of the Orlando night club shooting.
• Father Jorge Martinez was ordained a priest and Deacon Stephen Tilley was instituted into the Order of Deacon by Archbishop John C. Wester in the Cathedral of the Madeleine on June 24.
• Give Me a Chance began a new music program for low-income adults.
• Stewardship curriculum for students in grades K-8 was made available in English and Spanish on the Diocese of Salt Lake City website.
• Several Catholics from the Diocese of Salt Lake City attended the 2016 World Youth Day events in Krakow, Poland, July 25–31.
• Daughter of Charity Sister Lucia Nguyen returned to Utah to minister at Give Me a Chance in Ogden.
• Dominican Father Jacek Buda arrived in Utah Aug. 12; he serves as chaplain of Juan Diego Catholic High School.
• Saint Rose of Lima Parish started its Life Teen Mass.
• Saint Mary Parish was one of five places in the United States to celebrate the closing of the 75th anniversary of the death of Saint Maximillian Kolbe.
• Saint James the Just Parish celebrated its 50th anniversary Aug. 20.
• An interfaith dialog was held for the first time during the annual diocesan Pastoral Congress Sept. 17.
• On Oct. 1, Sister Peter Marie of Jesus Crucified professed her solemn vows as a Discalced Carmelite at the Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Holladay.
• After more than two years of work, the Guadalupe Garden at Give Me a Chance was dedicated.
• Sister Maria Angela Reyes Romero and Sister Maria Rosa Amaya Mejia, two members of the Sisters of Nazareth from El Salvador, celebrated a one-day retreat on Oct. 1 with Saint Therese of the Child Jesus parishioners.
• Daughter of Charity Sister Arthur Gordon arrived in Ogden on Oct. 13 as the new director of Give Me A Chance.
• Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish celebrated its 75th anniversary on Oct. 14 with a concert.
• The Diocesan Development Drive marked its 50th anniversary with a celebration dinner Oct. 28.
• Utah hosted two Holy Cross novices, Sister Eva Costa and Sister Ribilin Thongnibha, for three months starting in October.
• Archbishop John C. Wester of Santa Fe returned to Salt Lake City Nov. 4 to celebrate the Red Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, and to be honored at the CCS Humanitarians Award dinner.
• Catholic Community Services created its Future Leaders Board to inspire younger generations to help the community.
• Junuee Castro was hired as the new director of the Diocese of Salt Lake City’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
• Rogelio Felix-Rosas from Navojoa, Sonora, Mexico became parochial vicar of St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church.
Utah’s Spanish-speaking Catholic community
• A group from the Archdiocese of Monterrey, Mexico that presented a workshop for divorced and remarried couples on Jan. 15 at Saint Mary Parish in Park City.
• Almost 1,000 Catholic gathered Feb. 20-21 at Juan Diego Catholic High School for a Lenten Family Encounter organized by the diocesan Hispanic Ministry and Charismatic Renovation Group.
• The second cohort for the Spanish-speaking lay ecclesial minster formation program in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, known as EMMAUS II, began its four-year training.
• More than 600 Catholic youth attended the Encuentro de Renovación Carismática at Saint Joseph School on April 30.
• A three-day healing retreat was presented by “Pescadores de Cristo” July 29-31 at Saint Francis of Assisi Parish.
• More than 1,000 Catholics gathered for the 10th annual Family Congress of the diocesan Charismatic Renovation Group Aug. 20-21.
Many well-known Catholics visited the diocese over the course of the year.
• Edwina Gateley gave the 2016 Aquinas lecture at Saint Catherine of Siena Newman Center.
• Javier Iván Díaz, a Florida-based singer/songwriter who helped establish the Internet-based Christian radio station “Radio Paz Musical,” performed a fundraiser for St. Marguerite School on Feb. 5.
• Jesuit Father Greg Boyle of Homeboys Industries spoke Feb. 20 at the University of Utah.
• Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, director of the Vatican observatory, spoke at Brigham Young University, at the Interpreter Science & Mormonism Symposium at Utah Valley University and to the Skaggs Catholic Center community.
• Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. of Philadelphia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on Native American Catholics, spoke at Brigham Young University’s monthly Forum on March 22.
• Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, radio host and author, gave three presentations at Blessed Sacrament Parish.
• Gail Miller was the keynote speaker at the annual Diocesan Council of Catholic Women convention on April 23.
• Father Roger Keeler and Father Domingo Rodriguez Zambrana ST. were the keynote speakers for the annual diocesan Pastoral Congress.
• Elizabeth Smart spoke about family and the blessings in her life at the Catholic Community Services’ Humanitarians Award dinner.
• Dr. Kathleen Brown, associate director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Virginia Theological Seminary, presented an all-day workshop for members of the Diocese of Salt Lake City’s English-speaking Lay Ecclesial Ministry formation program.
• Deacon Steve Greco, host of the weekly Immaculate Heart Radio show “Empowered by the Spirit,” presented a day-long seminar at St. George Parish.
• Sister Nancy Murray performed a one-woman show, “St. Catherine of Siena: A Woman of Our Times,” at the Saint Catherine of Siena Newman Center.
Utah Catholic Schools
• During the 2015-16 school year, the schools began to implement the Next Generation Science Standards to help students improve their critical thinking skills. Full implementation was expected to be complete this school year. Also this year, an educational partnership with Notre Dame helped Utah Catholic schools better reach Hispanic families, with Latino enrollment increasing by 50 percent in schools like St. Andrew School.
• St. Olaf School held its first drama club production Feb. 3.
• The annual diocesan science fair, sponsored by the Utah Knights of Columbus and held Feb. 6, was the largest in the event’s 20-year history.
• J.E. Cosgriff Memorial Catholic student Isabella Valles was featured in the February-March issue of Discovery Girls magazine.
• Vicky Simpson, who teaches at Saint Francis Xavier School, received the 2016 National Catholic Education Award during the NCEA Convention March 29-31.
• The Judge Memorial Catholic High School robotics team won the 2016 state competition.
• Juan Diego Catholic High School senior Alexander George-Kennedy was grand champion of the 2016 Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair.
• Juan Diego Catholic High School freshman Taylor Schilly earned a spot in the U.S. National Championships for both single and dual moguls after competing in the Junior National Championships.
• The Juan Diego Catholic High School debate team claimed its sixth consecutive state title, with many of the team members also taking individual awards.
• Juan Diego Catholic High School boys’ tennis and soccer teams won state championships, as did the girls lacrosse team.
• Judge Memorial Catholic High School alumnus Matt Kirkegaard received a 2016 Fulbright award.
• Blessed Sacrament School was honored as a “Green School” by the Utah Society for Environmental Education, and also received its eight National School of Character Promising Practices Award.
• Solar panels were activated at Saint Marguerite School on June 1.
• Marianne Rozsahegyi began as principal of Saint Francis of Xavier School at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.
• Juan Diego Catholic High School won state championships in golf, soccer and football.
• Three members of the Juan Diego Silverline drill team qualified for the state competition.
• Father Martin Picos, pastor of Saint George Parish, was presented with the Snow Canyon Scout District Award of Merit Feb. 11.
• Dominican Father Peter Hannah, associate pastor of Saint Catherine of Siena Newman Center, spoke in Rome on Thomistic metaphysics Feb. 25-27.
• Father Roberto H. Montoro Sasia, administrator of Saint Bridget Parish, was among the Utahns who traveled to Mexico to see Pope Francis during his visit. Fr. Montoro participated in the Feb. 16 Mass that the pope celebrated in Morelia with priests, religious and seminarians.
• Monsignor Robert Servatius, now retired, received the Jesus and the Children Award, and Father Andrezej Skrzpiec, pastor of Saint Ambrose Parish, was presented with the Christ the Teacher Award, both given by Utah Catholic Schools on March 11.
• On April 6, Holy Cross Sister Kathleen Moroney received the 2016 Christine M. Durham Public Service award from the Utah Valley University Prelaw Club.
• The Knights of Columbus Council from St. Christopher Catholic Church in Kanab received the Church Activity Award at the state organization’s annual convention on May 7. The council was recognized for its role in the extensive renovation of the church, which also benefited from a grant from Catholic Extension.
• Holy Cross Ministries was recognized as the 2016 Organization of the Year at the Conexiones Familiares conference.
• Father Ken Vialpando, pastor of Saint Marguerite Parish, celebrated the 25th anniversary of his priestly ordination on Aug. 24.
• Father Omar Ontiveros, pastor of Saint Joseph Parish, received the 2016 Tonahuac Religious Award from the United Mexican Federation in Utah.
• Holy Cross Sister Yvonne Hatt was honored by Iron County Care and Share for her service as a director.
• Paula Wellnitz, a member of Mission San Rafael, was presented with The Madeleine Medal of Appreciation for Faithful Services.
• Catherine Goodwin, who for many years volunteered at St. Joseph Villa before moving there so she could attend daily Mass, turned 100.
• Saint Joseph parishioner Maria Monica Dueñas gave birth to quadruplets on March 13; she and her husband, Juan, are the parents of Belen, Jesualdo, Montserrat and Ander Jesus.
• Our Lady of Lourdes (Magna) parishioner William “Hod” Sadler celebrated his 100th birthday.
• Father Alois Magige Sasati, a member of the Apostolic Life Community of Priests in the Opus Spiritus Sancti, celebrated his last day in diocese March 28. He was called home to Tanzania by his order after serving for three years in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.
• Holy Cross Sister Karla McKinnie, who had served on the Catholic Schools Special Needs program, relocated April 19 to her order’s motherhouse in Indiana to serve on the Area of Northern America Leadership Council.
• Pat Phillipp, who taught second grade at Our Lady of Lourdes School for 43 years, retired.
• Rhea Hristou, who for more than 30 years was part of the Saint Vincent de Paul School community, retired.
• Anne Adams retired after 28 years as a Blessed Sacrament School teacher; she also taught at St. Vincent de Paul School for two years.
• Lorene Swim retired after 27 years in the front office of Saint Francis Xavier School.
• Monsignor Robert Servatius, Father Hernando Diaz and Father Patrick Carey retired after serving many years as priests in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.
• Daughter of Charity Sister Cecilia Van Zandt returned to her order’s provincialate in California after more than a decade in Utah.
• Jim Markosian retired after 36 years as a teacher and administrator; he remains at Saint John the Baptist Schools as facilities manager, and will continue to coach the Juan Diego Catholic High School freshman football team.
• Molly Dumas, who for more than 30 years worked in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, retired on June 30. Her last position was as public information and advancement director for Juan Diego Catholic High School.
• Daughter of Charity Sister Maria Nguyen, who founded Give Me a Chance in Ogden, was given a farewell reception on Sept. 16. She was reassigned by her order.
• Blessed Sacrament parishioners John and Shelly Valdez retired after 22 years of service to many different youth ministries in the diocese.
• Mother Angelica, who founded the Eternal Word Television Network, died March 27. She was 92.
• Saint Therese of the Child Jesus parishioners Jose Izazaga, 16, and his sister, Abril Izazaga, 15, were shot and killed July 6 in what police said was apparently a dispute over a shirt.
• Monsignor Lawrence P. Sweeney, who served as a priest in the Diocese of Salt Lake City for 62 years, died Sept. 28 at the age of 87.