Ground Breaking Ceremony in Sheridan

This morning we broke ground for a new Habitat for Humanity home in Sheridan. A few major events were the driving force behind this particular idea.

This year, the Diocese of Cheyenne is celebrating its 125 Anniversary.  We also in this past year promulgated a new Diocesan Strategic Plan.  We wanted to do something significant as a means of celebrating our faith, and the thought of building a habitat home seemed both appropriate and exciting.

When Fr. Jim Heiser, pastor of Holy Name in Sheridan shared with me that the parish was assessing the various pieces of real estate it owned, and deciding the best use of these properties, I asked him if the parish would be willing to donate one of the lots for a habitat home.  The idea was embraced, and we were off and running.

Blessing the construction site: Fr. Heiser, pastor, Bishop Etienne, and Deacon John Bigelow.

 Every year, the diocese sets aside a percentage of our annual appeal, Living and Giving in Christ as a means of tithing to support local, national or international relief or assistance efforts.  This year, the Stewardship Committee committed $40,000 towards this Habitat home.  With the additional support of Habitat for Humanity and the Holy Name Catholic Church, the project is funded sufficiently to move forward.

In time, all the Catholic communities of Wyoming will be invited to support this project, either through fund raising, or by sending materials and volunteers to assist in building the home.  I know several groups have already expressed interest in coming to Sheridan to work on the home.  If you or a group from your parish are interested in working on the home, please contact Deacon John Bigelow at Holy Name.  I know this bishop fully intends to spend a day or two with a hammer working at the site!

Pope Benedict XVI in his first Encyclical, God is Love taught that the three-fold nature of the Church is the Ministry of the Word, Ministry of Sacrament, and the Ministry of Charity.  This habitat project is a concrete way for the Catholics of Wyoming to live this basic ministry of Charity, and thus grow in faith.  I invite all our parishes and parishioners to please support this project.  Please God, given the success of this project, we may be able to build at least one more home in the coming years.

I wish to thanks Deacon John Bigelow for his willingness to coordinate this project on behalf of the Church.  Thanks to Fr. Jim and the people of Holy Name Catholic Church who have already shown such generous support.  Of course, we thank Habitat for Humanity for their 37 years of generous service to those in need.  In particular, thanks to Matt Davis, Executive Director for Habitat in the Eastern Bighorns, Brian Spring, Site Supervisor for this home, and Sandy Baird, the architect of the home.

May God bring to completion this good work begun today!