Spring 2024 Denver Province Snapshots

In Remembrance:

Fr. Richard Boever, C.Ss.R: Please pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. Richard Boever, C.Ss.R., who died after a struggle with cancer on January 28, 2024 at the Desert House Mission Community in Tucson, AZ. Fr. Richard expressed his creativity and talents throughout his 50 years of ministry, but he may be best remembered for promoting devotion to and authoring books about two renowned Redemptorists who ministered in the United States—St. John Neumann, C.Ss.R., and Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, C.Ss.R. Fr. Richard was born on May 13, 1947 in St. Louis, MO and grew up in Holy Family Parish. His interest in a priestly vocation was sparked in first grade and cemented by the sixth grade, when he served Mass for a Redemptorist preaching a novena at his home parish. He enrolled at St. Joseph’s College in Edgerton, WI in 1961, where his artistic talents began to blossom and he formed lifelong friendships with his classmates. He was accepted into novitiate at Blessed John Neumann College in Clinton, IA in 1967, and professed temporary vows on August 2, 1968. After completing theology studies at Holy Redeemer College in Waterford, WI and Mount St. Alphonsus Seminary in Esopus, NY, he professed perpetual vows on August 21, 1971. He and his classmates returned to Holy Redeemer College for their ordination to the priesthood on June 21, 1973. After a brief stint at St. Michael Parish in Chicago, Fr. Rich was assigned at Mary, Mother of the Church Parish in Mattese, MO in 1975. After four years he joined the staff of Liguori Publications and worked full time as an editor from 1979 until 1987 while he also earned a doctorate degree in Historical Theology at St. Louis University. Fr. Richard was then appointed local superior and pastor of St. Gerard Majella Parish in Kirkwood, MO in 1987. After three years, he returned to Liguori Publications as publisher and local superior of the Liguori Mission House community. He served in those positions from 1990 until 1992, when he was assigned pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Chicago, IL. He ventured into retreat ministry in 1996, when he was assigned at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, KS. He excelled in retreat ministry, and also served as a chaplain and associate professor of theology at nearby Newman University. Five years later, he was chosen to fill a vacancy at the PreNovitiate formation house as director of St. John Neumann House in St. Louis in 2001. He also served as local community superior from 2002 until 2005, and taught theology at nearby St. Louis University. Fr. Richard returned to retreat ministry in 2005 as director of the Redemptorist Retreat Center in Oconomowoc, WI. He delved into pottery and weaving, honoring his contemplative spirit and passion for working with his hands. He actually spun his own yarn and added weaving retreats to the program agenda. He was appointed to the Mission Team at Liguori Mission House in 2010, a few months before Liguori Publications published his book, Saint John Neumann: His Writings and Spirituality. This position provided him with the flexibility to serve as a research expert at the Neumann Shrine in Philadelphia for three years, and then as pastor of three rural parishes in Missouri. He enjoyed the country life, especially growing bountiful crops of vegetables in his garden. Fr. Richard was appointed Executive Director of the National Shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos in New Orleans, LA in 2019. He enjoyed promoting devotion to Blessed Seelos and wrote Zealous Missionary: From the Perspective of Francis Xavier Seelos, published by Liguori Publications in 2021. He was granted retirement status last year and moved to the Desert House Mission Community, where he was placed in hospice care shortly before his death.

New Leadership at Liguori Publications

The staff of Liguori Publications and Redemptorist confreres gathered on Friday, January 12 to give Fr. Byron Miller a festive send-off as he says farewell as President and Publisher and begins a new chapter in his life. Fr. Thomas Santa, incoming President and Publisher, organized the celebration, which was held in the dining room of Liguori Publications. All enjoyed a sumptuous feast and there was plenty of time allowed for reminiscing, sharing perspectives, and offering good wishes. In addition to praising Fr. Byron for his contributions and making the ministry successful – and prosperous – Fr. Tom presented him with a commemorative plaque honoring his tireless dedication to the publishing ministry and the Apostolate of the Pen throughout his eight-year term. Fr. Aaron Meszaros, Provincial Vicar of the Denver Province, thanked Fr. Byron for sharing his gifts and talents, and led the round of applause for him that was so well deserved. With his mirthful wit, Fr. Byron spoke about his experience throughout his term, reminding everyone of the philosophy that he shared when he first arrived: he would not expect anyone to do anything that he wouldn’t do. Fr. Byron was involved in every aspect of the business, often rolling up his sleeves to assist with fulfilling orders in the warehouse. Fr. Joseph Curalli, a staff member since January 1998, who is retiring from his work at Liguori Publications, was also lauded for his work, as well as his quiet, gentle presence. Fr. Byron and Fr. Joe will be missed by everyone who worked with them, but at the same time we are filled with hope as Liguori Publications begins a new chapter with many changes on the horizon under the wise leadership and direction of Fr. Tom. — Wendy Barnes

And More!

With Gratitude: Fr. Jack Kingsbury ended his long tenure as Coordinator for the North American Conference of Redemptorists this January. The creation of the Conference led to many accomplishments as the Provinces of North America look to the future, including the eventual merger of the provinces into one Unit. Among the first mergers was the unification of the novitiates into one novitiate in Mexico, and the merger of all theologates into the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. There is also now a new Board of Provincials that oversees the Conference Formation Programs. The Conference also witnessed the merger of three provinces into one Canadian Province, with three separate territories. In addition, the vice provinces of Richmond and the English-speaking Caribbean re-merged into the Baltimore Province. Fr. Jack’s tenure also focused on the development of a Conference Assembly Apostolic Plan, known as CARP. A Conference Communications Office was established to help confreres, Partners In Mission and the public to understand the life and ministry within provinces through a website and Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. A Unification Commission was also formed, beginning with a dialogue between Denver and Mexico. It expanded to include Baltimore and now includes Extra-Patriam with a focus now on the merging of the units. The original Spirituality and Historical Commissions were also taken under the Conference structure, creating retreats and workshops for spiritual growth, and merging the historical meetings into the Annual Student Gathering. Another major accomplishment for the Conference under Fr. Jack was the creation of a Secretariat for Partners In Mission. Redemptorist lay associate groups had existed before in various provinces, but those associations were merged into one Conference-wide group which has a fulltime director. In working with the various units across North America, Fr. Jack says he experienced differences and similarities in the personalities of the various provinces. “There is a commonality that I found between the confreres that gave me great comfort to visit different communities and feel at home.” He believes that commonality is what made the merger of units in Canada possible and is what will make the future merger of the USA and Mexico possible. We thank Fr. Jack for his dedication and hard work toward making the future bright for the Redemptorists of North America. The new Coordinator for the North American Conference of Redemptorists is Fr. Jerome Chavarria, pictured at right with Fr. Kingsbury. —Fr. Charlie Wehrley, C.Ss.R.

Ministry at the Border: The Redemptorist Renewal Center (RRC) incorporated a border ministry immersion program in its sabbatical program, enabling priests and religious from throughout the world to experience the reality of migration in the Southwest portion of the USA. Whenever possible, RRC staff members accompany participants in the new program, which entails dropping off water in the desert, searching for the remains of migrants who died in the desert, or serving meals to migrants and asylum seekers at the border wall or in Mexico. The number of asylum seekers has increased from 700 a day last summer to 1,500 a day last October. Although most came from Central or South America in the past, in recent months they are arriving from countries around the world – India, Russia, and many parts of Africa. In early January, Fr. Steve Rehrauer, director of the RRC, joined two women religious and lay volunteers in a mission at the Mexican border wall to provide asylum seekers with food, water, warm clothing, and first-aid supplies. The people came through an opening gap in the border wall about 15 miles east of Sasabe, a U.S. Port of Entry town in Arizona. That morning, volunteers provided assistance to about 60 asylum seekers, including 15 to 20 children and teenagers. Fr. Steve and the volunteers were able to give them food before Border Patrol agents came to transport them to a detention center. The RRC works with several border ministry groups, including: Tucson Samaritans, Aguilas del Desierto, Kino Border Initiative, and the Diocese of Tucson’s Casa Alitas. Any Redemptorist who wishes to participate in the new migrant immersion experience may contact Fr. Steve or Peter Tran at 520.744.3400. The search and rescue portion requires strenuous walking— up to 10 or more miles— in the desert. —Peter Tran

Fr. Thomas Pham Called to Service: With the escalation of military tension in East Africa, the Middle East and areas surrounding the Red Sea, Fr. Thomas Pham has been activated to serve bootson-the-ground in the Horn of Africa by the Rea Sea through the end of 2024. He will be in a combat zone for the entire time of this deployment, serving our US Joint Task Force members at Camp Lemonnier and the Aircraft Carrier Strike Group in the Red Sea. Fr. Thomas has been a Catholic Chaplain in the US Naval Reserve for the past 11 years, and has had two previous deployments—one a combat zone tour. During his absence, Fr. Joseph Dorcey has been appointed Assistant Treasurer, overseeing the Office of Financial Services.

Stargazers Meet: A total of 20 people – from schools and parishes throughout the USA and Canada – participated in the Astronomy for Catholics in Ministry and Education (ACME) Retreat on January 15-19 at the Redemptorist Renewal Center in Tucson. Led by Br. Guy Consolmagno, SJ (right), director of the Vatican Observatory, the retreat has grown steadily for the past 10 years. Friends recommend friends to join them for discussions, workshops and visits to the Vatican’s state-of-the-art observatory on nearby Mount Graham in Arizona to enrich their knowledge and help them to spread the good news about both Creator and Creation. The Vatican has several observatories around the world, demonstrating just how much the Church supports science. —Submitted by Kristine Stremel


Back at the Helm: Fr. Thomas Santa officially returned to Liguori Publications as publisher on January 16, replacing Fr. Byron Miller, who guided the organization from 2015 until January 2024. Fr. Thomas led Liguori Publications in the 1990s and greatly expanded its reach and audience. Now after two decades serving in a variety of roles, he returns to a more streamlined publishing house that is geared to the modern Catholic audience. “With the help of the Redemptorist community and the Liguori Publications team, I have reassessed what it means to be a Catholic publisher in a digital world,” he said. “Gone are the days of warehouses full of paper, books, and books on CD. We have taken the exciting leap into the digital publishing industry and are exploring new ideas and ways to interact with consumers in a meaningful and impactful manner.” Part of Liguori Publications’ new approach includes new office and warehouse space just down the road. While the company will remain on the campus that its founders established in 1947, the publishing house will relocate to the former Redemptoristine convent after it is refurbished. No move-in date has been announced. While many changes are occurring, Liguori Publications’ mission— Catholic, Pastoral, Trusted— remains the company’s primary goal, reflecting the vision of St. Alphonsus Liguori. “We continue to happily produce content that embraces St. Alphonsus’ charism and draws people into a deeper connection with their Catholic faith through the written word,” Fr. Thomas said.

IGNITE Ministry in New Orleans: Fr. John Son Tran (foreground below) is spearheading the IGNITE ministry at St. Alphonsus Parish in New Orleans. Once a month, he invites young adults to gather to make sandwiches for the homeless, in collaboration with Catholic Worker. Plans are for the group to begin a project to build a lift in the church in the near future. —Submitted by Fr. Michael Thien Hoang

Preaching Racial Justice: A panel discussion sponsored by Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis focused on Preaching Racial Justice, published by Orbis books in 2023. The evening event on March 7 featured several of the 15 contributing authors, who led a lively discussion about racism and the antidote: the authentically Catholic values of dialogue and inclusion that will bring the faithful closer to more fully being One Body in Christ. Contributors to Preaching Racial Justice who participated in a recent panel discussion included Fr. Gregory Heille, OP, Deborah Wilhelm, OSB and Rev. Dietra Wise Baker, and two Redemptorist confreres who contributed chapters to the popular new book—Fr. Peter Hill of the Baltimore Province and Fr. Maurice, who also edited the new book.

Snapshots adapted from Denver Link ; special thanks to Kristine Stremel.

May 9: Ascension
May 12: Mother’s Day
May 13: Our Lady of Fatima
May 31: Visitation
June 27: Our Mother of Perpetual Help