Thu Sep 7th, 2023
Jeremy Wade Shockley
The Southern Ute Drum
Categories: Top Stories
In recognition for their service to the country during the Vietnam Conflict and for their support of the Catholic church in Ignacio, Father Caesar Arras presented Southern Ute Veterans Association members, Howard Richards Sr. and Rod Grove with a certificate of recognition from St. Ignatius Parish on behalf of Pope Francis.
“It was for Mr. Richards and Mr. Grove,” Father Cesar Arras, CR Theat., said. “The reason why we gave them this was to honor their service to the community, their sacrifices in their youth and to recognize their efforts [through the Veterans Association] — they have been instrumental in helping with events to make them more patriotic.”
“It is a blessing that the Pope bestows on any baptized or good standing Catholic at the request of their parish priest, in this case it was our father provincial who requested this on behalf of the church – and the Pope,” Father Arras explained. “As a Vietnam veteran they had not been recognized when they served, this was our way of acknowledging their sacrifices and all that they have done for their country.”
The recognition was held during the last mass when the Theatine Father Arras served the Ignacio community. Father Arras was recently assigned to a parish in the Denver area after nearly five years in Ignacio; it is now the responsibility of the Dioses of Pueblo to provide a new priest to serve the St. Ignatius Parish. Kevin F. Novack, formerly a pastor of St. Columba Parish in Durango, Colo., is slated to step into that role as early as next week.
The St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish is rooted in a long-lasting Catholic identity and rich cultural heritage of Ignacio’s Tri-Ethnic community. Established in 1898, the St. Ignatius Parish celebrates 125 years of Catholic presence in Ignacio this year.
“It’s just a way of thanking them for their service, and my way of expressing my gratitude to them,” Father Arras said.