Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Being Catholic in Utah

This evening I was to pointed an article that ran in the Deseret News back on 1 February: Catholicism has a rich, varied history in Utah. This very brief article is accompanied by seventeen pictures, which tell the story of the Catholic Church in Utah over the past 30 years, or so. I have to say that with our centennial coming to a close yesterday when we observed the dedication of the Cathedral, which is a solemnity for the parish and so was a reprieve from Lenten discipline, that the local news media has been very good to the Catholic Church and the Cathedral over this past year. Something that Bishop Wester pointed out at the end of our noon Mass yesterday.

As it is Lent and I work with the people going through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at the Cathedral, I am reminded that this year marks my 20th anniversary as Catholic. I was thrilled that among the pictures accompanying the Deseret News story, was the picture below:

This photograph features Fr. Tom DeMan, OP, who was the pastor of the University of Utah Newman Center/St. Catherine of Siena parish when I became Catholic. Fr. Tom, who served there with Fr. Thomas Kraft, OP (Tom and Thomas then, Peter and Pete at the Newman Center now), prepared me to enter the church, baptized, confirmed, and brought me into full communion. Of the two students in the picture, I remember Consuelo (the darkhaired girl) who was finishing her studies and leaving as I was arriving. This must have been some kind of official photograph because I never saw Fr. Tom wear a Roman collar. He wore his Dominican habit a lot. When he was not in his habit he wore khaki pants and polo shirts with Birkenstocks. The first time I met him I thought he was the custodian or a plummber because he was in work clothes fixing a pipe in the sacristy.

At Easter I hope to find and post the picture of me being baptized.

While I am on the subject of being Catholic in Utah, you may have heard that His Eminence, Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago and president of the USCCB is here. After touring the campus, he spoke at BYU this afternoon about faith in the public square, and dined with the LDS Quorum of the Twelve this evening.

Meum cum sim pulvis et cinis


  1. Scott this is quite interesting to read and I love seeing the photo.

    I am a cradle Catholic who drifted away from the faith after my confirmation at age 14, returning at age 32.

    When I came back to church I was in a Dominican parish and my re-entry and formation as such was very much influenced by Dominican spirituality. It still is even though I am not in touch with anyone from those days.

  2. I actually spent a little time, vey little time, at the Dominican House of Studies (St Albert's Priory) in Oakland. I worked with Fr Tom Kraft with regard to discerning a vocation to the priesthood and to be a Dominican. I daresay that if I had become a priest I would have been a Dominican. It has been fun to see all the friars I knew when they were brothers become pastors and priors, professors, etc. I still feel very connected. In fact, I sat next to Fr Peter at the luncheon after Mass on Monday.

    My wife was music and liturgy coordinator at St. Catherine's for several years after we were married. Of course, in addition to being baptized, confirmed and communed at this Dominican parish, we were married there (we met there as students), and had our first two children baptized there, too. Holly still does music from time-to-time and goes to Mass there most of the time.

  3. Fran:

    Were in LA when you returned? If so, was it at St Dominic's in Eagle Rock? Do you know Fr Dominic Delay? Fr Peter, one of the Dominicans here, is going to St. Dominic's to be pastor and prior.

  4. Do you know where a copy of Cardianal Gerges very historic speech is online?

    I am tad frustrated the powers that at the Salt Lake Diocese, the Bishops COnference, or it appears Chicago did not put it up.

    I am sure certain quarters will attack it (it appears to be hard hitting) and I would love to see the whole thing

  5. James:

    As far as I know the full text of His Eminence's BYU speech is not yet available. It will be available for podcast download and video-on-demand viewing shortly, courtesy of BYU.