Better Know A Parish: Spirit of Christ Catholic Community, Arvada, Colorado
Parish Name: Spirit of Christ Catholic Community
Location: Arvada, Colorado
Pastor: Father David Bluejacket
Number of Parishioners: 3,400 households
Parish website: www.spiritofchrist.org
What makes your parish different from other parishes?
Founded by the Western Province, Claretian priests, we have called ourselves "community" from the very beginning when we were only 200 households. Our founding charisms included (and still include) a dedication to the principle of stewardship (we tithe 15 percent of our offertory to mission and outreach -- no second collections or fund-raising of any kind) as well as the ongoing formation of Small Church Communities (SCCs) -- currently 80 SCCs meet consistently, approximately 800 people. (See U.S. Catholic article "Small is Beautiful", December, 1984.) We have also had 19 deacons ordained from our community. We have a strong bent toward social outreach and a joyous liturgical life. We highly value hospitality and love to welcome new folks into the community.
What’s the most distinguishing characteristic of your church building?
We keep adding on to it! In the beginning the community gathered in a utilitarian, community-centered, multi-purpose worship space with chairs. Our “new” worship space is an arched, Italianate 1200-seat sanctuary with a prayer garden and a separate daily chapel. There have been lots of additions and renovations as our community has grown. We've had screens in our sanctuaries to project words to songs since we built our first building in 1974.
Who is your most interesting parishioner, and what makes them so interesting?
This is a very difficult question. We have so many interesting parishioners who have contributed their time and talents to an enormous variety of ministries from creating and tending the beautiful flower beds at the parish site; to cooking and serving at the local soup kitchen; to building homes in Juarez, Mexico, to constructing libraries and clean water stations in Kenya; and to so many other innumerable projects of service both within and beyond our community.
What’s the most popular event, ministry, or holiday tradition at your parish?
We love the "reverse collection" before Christmas when parishioners take out slips from the offertory basket with a name and Christmas gift desired by children and adults serviced by some of the many outreach facilities that are funded by our community tithe. Literally thousands of gifts come back to the parish center where representatives of the various facilities pick them up and distribute them. It is a massive effort in which the whole community participates, an event coordinated entirely by a few folks from our outreach ministry.
If we asked parishioners what they love most about the parish, what would they say?
The warm and friendly environment folks find when we worship, learn, celebrate and work together.
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