Father's Weekly Message

The Ascension of the Lord
May 28, 2017

Dear Friends and Family,

For those who are privileged and called to be disciples, the Lord gives us a direct command in Sunday’s Gospel: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” How’s that going for you?

It is not typical for us to think of ourselves as disciples except in the most general way. To be conscripted into service for the sake of the gospel is probably not in our consciousness, and to be called to bring others into discipleship seems totally beyond us. As a young Catholic, I was taught to worry about my own faith and salvation. We Catholics try to live good lives, obey the commandments, participate in Church as we can, and even try to pray with some regularity. It has long been believed by many that our intentions and our examples should be enough to win souls to Christ. So, we’re busy minding our own business. 

But what if our business is consciously making disciples of all nations? Can we be concerned about drawing others to Jesus when we ourselves haven’t quite gotten our own acts together? 

There is an interesting line in the Gospel which to me speaks to this dynamic. Matthew reports that when the disciples see the Resurrected Lord “They worshipped but they doubted.” Curiously, this seems inconsequential to the Lord and to the task at hand. Though it might seem that faith should be solid, for all of us it is still developing, and perhaps in the making of disciples, the sharing of faith, it becomes stronger. I recognize in my own life in teaching and preaching the faith I am strengthened in my own commitment. Having to share something causes us to be alert to what it is we actually hold, and to try and live it. 

This, however is terribly inconvenient for most of us who simply want to mind our own business, and don’t give too much thought to discipleship. Isn’t it enough simply to try and be a good person? Honestly, no. Goodness is rooted in God, rooted in Jesus, and rooted in our relationship to him. The more we find our purpose in him, goodness will not simply be an abstract notion of ‘not doing harm’, but actual participation in the transformation of the world. I don’t think we do ourselves any favors in avoiding Jesus’ command in this Gospel, for the more we talk of him and the more we share the good news, the more the world comes to know him and receive him as our hope. 

With you on the march, 

Fr. Kevin

Parish History

The Cornerstone for St. Columba Church was laid June 12, 1881 on land donated by real estate developer Peter Fassbinder. The location, halfway between Animas City and Durango, meant that the church escaped fires that consumed other early churches along 3rd Avenue. Not only the building, but the people of this faith community have flourished in spite of a history of struggle and imperfection. Even St. Columba had problems before he achieved sainthood. He made his epic journey to Scotland in 563 AD, and began establishing monasteries after being accused of starting a war. Sheriff Robert Dwyer was present when the church’s cornerstone was laid, as there were no barroom brawls to break up that day. Sister Mary Baptiste Meyers, who led the Sisters of Mercy to Durango in 1882, was beheaded in a 1901 train wreck while traveling to Denver to visit a sister who was gravely ill. Father William Kipp traveled all over the mountains of southern Colorado in the 1920s bringing the sacraments to miners, and others who lived in remote locations. The Sisters of Mercy bravely cared for patients during the smallpox and flu epidemics of the early 20th century.

Wars came and went, and the mines of the San Juan Mountains produced minerals needed for weapons and industry. National economic problems had their effect, like the demonetization of silver, the crash of 1893 and the depression 35 years later. The mines that drove the economy of the region thrived, and eventually died. But in the end, families that started the parish in the early years are still represented at Mass each Sunday. Newcomers from all over the country have joined the parish, coming to retire, to work in natural gas production, construction or the tourist industry. They come for the quality of life, abundant outdoor recreation, and for the excellent, yet affordable St. Columba School. Together they have kept alive a common faith, in spite of their differences and hardships, so that the faith community of St. Columba Church might flourish.
St. Columba Church
St. Columba Church

Parish Staff

Fr. Kevin Novack


Steve Johnson


Judy Sturdevant
Liturgy & RCIA


Sally Fochtman
Youth Ministry


Pete Fochtman
Youth Ministry


Cathy Cray
Parish Secretary


Kelly Gessel
Business Manager


Kevin Chick


Dan MacVeigh


Fabian Mendez


Interested in Volunteering?

If you are interested in volunteering in any of our wonderful ministries, we'd love to have you! To learn more about opportunities to serve at St. Columba and in the community, and to find the perfect fit, please click  below or join us at the next Leadership Forum on the last Thursday of each month at 6:30pmParish members are encouraged to attend the upcoming gathering of the five commissions to participate in decision-making and leadership. 

Ministries & Leadership Forum
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