Winter 2024 Denver Province Snapshots

In Remembrance:

Ramon Dompke, C.Ss.R.: Beloved Fr. Ramon “Ray” Dompke died unexpectedly on January 7 at the rectory of St. Michael Church in Old Town, Chicago, where he was baptized on January 8, 1939, exactly 85 years ago. A generous Redemptorist missionary with a ready smile and a loving spirit, Fr. Ray was as dedicated to serving his confreres in community as he was to the countless people he encountered in more than 50 years of parish ministry throughout the Midwest. Fr. Ray was born in Chicago on December 18, 1938. He and his three siblings grew up around the Redemptorists at St. Michael’s in Old Town, and attended St. Michael Elementary School. He proceeded to novitiate at Mount St. Clement’s in DeSoto, MO and professed temporary vows on August 2, 1959. After completing theological studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Oconomowoc, WI, he professed perpetual vows on September 2, 1962 and was ordained to the priesthood by Auxiliary Bishop Roman Atkielski, DD of Milwaukee on July 2, 1964. Fr. Ray completed advanced courses in Religious Education during Tirocinium at St. Alphonsus “Rock” Parish, establishing a strong foundation for his five decades of parish ministry. Like many young priests of that era, Fr. Ray was assigned to serve in a supportive role as associate pastor, serving in seven parishes over the next 29 years. Fr. Ray was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish on the West Side of Chicago in 1995. He was sincerely dedicated to serving the poor, and was very well known in his home town after more than a decade of ministry. Wealthier parishes in the area responded to his requests for financial assistance, food donations, and even Christmas presents for the little ones. He was a beloved pastor who animated the parish community for an entire decade before the parish was closed in 2005. Fr. Ray was next appointed bursar of the Villa Redeemer/ North American Novitiate community in Glenview, IL in 2005. In addition to managing the finances, he made significant improvements to the building and property. Fr. Ray was grateful to then return to the staff at St. Michael’s, where he served for the next eight years. He felt blessed to be near his family, especially his elderly mother. In addition to serving the parish community, he volunteered to preach Foreign Mission appeals throughout the Midwest until his health began to decline. Although he had to step away from active ministry recently, he continued to participate fully in community life and serve his Redemptorist brothers with countless small acts of kindness. May eternal rest be granted unto him, O Lord, and may the perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. —Submitted by Kristine Stremel, with contributions from Br. Dan Hall, Fr. Larry Sanders & Br. Paul Yasenak

Top Story:

New Province Inaugurated in Brazil

From December 5 -7 more than 100 confreres from the Redemptorist Provinces of Campo Grande, Porto Alegre, and the Vice Province of Manaus gathered at the Retreat House of the Sisters of Divine Providence in Curitiba, Brazil to inaugurate the new Redemptorist Province of Curitiba. The opening address was given by Superior General Father Rogério Gomes, C.Ss.R. Father Rogério underlined the importance of union between members, to grow together in the charism, in the Spirit and in Christ. With the joy of being present at the meeting, Father Rogério also affirmed the commitment of the General Government in encouraging the Provinces. The Province of Curitiba, through the Commission for Evangelization, presented its apostolic and missionary priorities on December 5 during the founding assembly of the new unit. The objective is to always offer the announcement of the abundant redemption in Christ, through explicit preaching, evangelical charity, pastoral goodness and missionary solidarity.

And More!

Redemptoristines Reunion in Dublin: Special thanks to Sr. Louisa for sharing a photo of a Redemptoristine reunion at the Monastery of St. Alphonsus in Dublin. Sr. Ann Marie (seated) and Sr. Louisa (right) happily welcomed Sr. Supawadee, a member of the community in Korat, for a visit a few weeks ago. The Sisters are enjoying catching up with each other and reminiscing about their time at the Redemptoristine monastery in Liguori, where their prayerful presence is missed by confreres and staff at the St. Clement Redemptorist Mission Community. Sr. Supawadee plans to return to her community in Thailand on November 15.

Special Thanks to Our Volunteers: On Saturday morning, November 4, volunteers started arriving on the Redemptorist Retreat Center property in Oconomowoc with their rakes. Others arrived by pickup trucks with their backpack leaf blowers. The event was the annual property clean-up, concentrating on raking the leaves that fell from the many oak and maple trees that grace the property. Br. Mike Rhodes and Br. Bruce Davidson organized the project, and from 9:00 am until 12 noon, volunteers and friends of the retreat house worked diligently to clean the property. As the 30 workers gathered and organized themselves, the scene was reminiscent of the community spirit demonstrated in the Amish barn raising scene from the 1980s classic movie Witness. —courtesy Allan Weinert, C.Ss.R.

Redemptorists Participate in First CROSS Meeting: The first meeting of CROSS (Catholic Religious Organizations Studying Slavery) took place at the Cardinal Rigali Center in St. Louis on October 30-31. This is the first time that archivists of religious orders and dioceses, historians, activists and descendants of the enslaved came together to discuss how Church records could assist in healing the sin of slavery and the Church’s role in it. The conference was organized with the assistance of Joyce Jones, a Redemptorist Partner in Mission and director of the Office for Racial Harmony for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Additionally, Baltimore Province Archivist Patrick Hayes was on the organizing committee and attended the two-day conference. Fr. Steve Benden, pastor of St. Alphonsus Rock Church in St. Louis, was able to attend the conference’s second day. The conference had several goals, among which was to advocate for Church archives and religious leaders to get past the fear associated with enslavement and to be open and transparent about the Church’s slaveholding past. For more information, please contact CROSS@diocesanarchivists.org. —courtesy Patrick Hayes

Giving Back: Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor joined volunteers at the Redemptorist Center in Kansas City to ensure that some families had a Thanksgiving meal. He said it’s in his blood to give back. “I always was taught to never forget where you come from, so being able to give back to the community is just amazing to me,” he said. “I like to make a positive impact everywhere I go, so this is definitely fun and something good to do.” — Submitted by Fr. Maurice Nutt; photo by KMBC Kansas City

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

February 2: Presentation of the Lord
February 11: Our Lady of Lourdes
February 14: Ash Wednesday
March 15: St. Clement Hofbauer Feast
March 24: Palm Sunday
March 25: Annunciation
March 29: Good Friday
March 31: Easter