Yesterday I travelled to yet another Mission in the diocese, Our Lady of the Sage in Baggs, Wyoming. Baggs is located in South Central Wyoming just north of the Colorado border and is served by Fr. Sam Hayes from St. Joseph in Rawlins.
I’m not sure when the Mission was opened, but their present church was built in 1986 with the help of the Catholic Extension Society. I never realized as a priest in the midwest what great work the Catholic Extension Society does. Many of our churches in the diocese were built with the majority of the funding coming from the Catholic Extension Society. Tomorrow, we will dedicate another brand new church, much of the funding again coming from the Catholic Extension Society. So, please remember this great organization in the charitable giving.
The usual Sunday Mass for this Mission is Sunday at 3:00. However, to allow me to be present, we gathered at 6:00 Saturday evening this weekend. The church was full! After Mass, there was a pitch in dinner in the church hall, and there were not enough tables and chairs for all who came.
There was beef briscuit and pork tenderloin, and of course, all the good dishes the local cooks bring. The kids had a usual good time running around and enjoying eachothers company. Clearly, this local faith community is vibrant and alive!
Yesterday was a scorching day of heat as temps approached near 100 degrees. On my way to Baggs, as I passed over the Summit between Cheyenne and Laramie, I could see heavy smoke from a forest fire not too far to the south. Again last night, when Fr. Hayes and I took an ‘alternate route’ back to Rawlins from Baggs through the Medicine Bow National Forest, we could see evidence of another forest fire burning to the south.
This morning, I will make my way to Rock Springs for an 11:00 Mass to help them celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Sts. Cyril and Methodius parish, and the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Our Lady of Sorrows. Today, the two parishes in Rock Springs, formerly Sts. Cyril and Methodius and Our Lady of Sorrows exist as one Catholic community, Holy Spirit.
As we nationally continue our prayers for the Fortnight of Freedom, my homily in both places this weekend focuses on this priority of Religious Liberty. I will post the homily later today. I hope to also include some pictures from the celebration in Rock Springs.