Year in Review

Friday, Dec. 27, 2019
Year in Review Photo 1 of 12
By Special to the Intermountain Catholic


Pro-life efforts in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, marking the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, included the Mass for the Unborn and Ceremony of Light at the Cathedral of the Madeleine on Jan. 17, the annual bilingual rosary on Jan. 20 at Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery, the diocesan Respect for the Dignity of Life Day on Jan. 26 at St. Joseph the Worker Parish, and Catholic participation in the Jan. 26 March for Life at the Utah State Capitol.

Jan. 3-7: Twenty-eight Utah university students attended SEEK2019, a FOCUS conference in Indianapolis, Ind.

Jan. 4: The newly renovated St. Vincent de Paul Parish was blessed.

Jan. 6-7: His Excellency Venedykt Aleksiychuk, Bishop of the Saint Nicolas Ukrainian Eparchy of Chicago, celebrated the Pontifical Divine Liturgy and offered the Sacrament of Reconciliation to his congregation at St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church in Murray.

Jan. 12: Bishop Oscar A. Solis blessed the new social hall at St. Henry Parish.

Jan. 13: To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Eccles Organ Festival, the world premiere of “Preludio, Cantilena e Finale” was presented at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

Jan. 19: Nitai Fluchel, a fifth-grader at The Madeleine Choir School, performed the lead role in the Utah Opera presentation of “The Little Prince.”

Jan. 19-28: A delegation from the Diocese of Salt Lake City participated in World Youth Day 2019, in Panama.

Jan. 31: The Judge Memorial Catholic High School girls tennis team received the trophy recognizing them as the 2018 USTA/Utah Tennis High School Team of the Year.


Feb. 2-5: Maria Cruz Gray, director of the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry, and Junuee Castro, director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, met with federal legislators in Washington, D.C. to discuss social justice issues.

Feb. 9: The first Couples for Christ retreat in the diocese was presented in Spanish; a similar retreat in English was given on Feb. 23.

Feb. 20: Bishop Solis blessed the renovated Nano Nagle Children’s Center at St. Vincent de Paul School.

Feb. 23: Catholic apologist and author Patrick Madrid presented a talk at Judge Memorial CHS.


March 1: St. Thomas More Parish received the American Institute of Architects - Utah 25 Year Award.

March 2: Holy Cross Sister Celine Dounies celebrated her Golden Jubilee by renewing her vows during a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Oscar A. Solis.

March 3: Top officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including President Russell M. Nelson, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican. This was the first ever such meeting of the leaders of the two churches.

March 6: A fourth-grade student at a local elementary school was told by his teacher to remove from his forehead the ashes he had been marked with for Ash Wednesday; the teacher apologized at a press conference on March 11, saying she did not know it was a religious symbol.

March 8: Fr. J.J. Schwall, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, was presented with the Christ the Teacher Award by Utah Catholic Schools.

March 8: Sergio Chavez and Tristan Dillon, seminarians for the Diocese of Salt Lake City, were instituted as acolytes at Mount Angel Seminary.

March 15: The Diocese of Salt Lake City welcomed Fr. Rodelio Ignacio, a priest from the Philippines. He originally was assigned to St. Mary Parish in West Haven and now is parochial vicar of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish/St. Lawrence Mission.

March 17: Madeline Joklik-McLeod, a senior at Juan Diego CHS, was named one of the six grand champions of the University of Utah Science and Engineering Fair.

March 31: Danielle Weinerman was presented with the Girl Scout God Award by Bishop Solis during the Bishop’s Dinner for Scouting and Clergy. Only 2 percent of Girl Scouts earn that award.


April 4: Renowned Catholic architectural historian Dr. Denis McNamara led a tour of the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

April 5-6: Fr. Michael Gaitley, author and director of Evangelization for the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, presented the Mercy & Mary Retreat at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish

April 13: Catholic radio hose Jesse Romero presented programs at St. Francis Xavier Parish.

April 16: The Cathedral of the Madeleine began the “Cathedral to Cathedral” fundraiser to benefit the Cathedral de Notre Dame de Paris, which was heavily damaged by fire on April 15.

April 20: The Catholic Church in Utah welcomed 334 new members at the Easter vigil.

April 22: A statue of Mary, Seat of Wisdom,was dedicated in honor of Sr. Karen Stern, SHF, at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish.

April 28: Bishop Solis presided at the inaugural Northern Utah Divine Mercy Celebration, held at St. James the Just Catholic Church.

April 28: Bishop Solis celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.

April 29: Two lay members of the Dominican Order made their life vows at a Rite of Reception and Profession at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center.


May 2: Bishop Solis joined leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other religious leaders in commemorating the 1879 celebration of a High Mass by Father (later Bishop) Lawrence Scanlan at the St. George Tabernacle. Earlier in the day, Bishop Solis was the keynote speaker at the National Day of Prayer breakfast organized by the St. George Interfaith Council.

May 8: Five priests of the diocese were honored for their jubilee celebrations of their priestly ordination this year. Celebrating his 50th anniversary was Fr. Patrick Carley (retired). Celebrating their 25th anniversaries were Fr. David Bittmenn, pastor of St. George Parish; Fr. Anastasius Iwuoha, pastor of St. Patrick Parish; Fr. Erik Richtsteig, pastor of St. Ambrose Parish; and Fr. Michael Sciumbato, pastor of St. Joseph Parish (Ogden).  

May 19: An image of Our Lady of Prompt Succor that had been behind the altar at the now-closed Trappist monastery in Huntsville, was installed inside Holy Family Catholic Church.

May 26: Paulist Father Evan Cummings, who grew up in Clearfield and was ordained a priest on May 18, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Rose of Lima Parish, with family and friends in attendance.

May 30: Bishop Solis blesses renovations at J.E. Cosgriff Memorial Catholic School.


June 1: Bishop Solis bestowed the Sacrament of Confirmation on 130 adults, bringing them into full participation in the Church.

June 2: A farewell celebration for Benedictine Sr. Marilyn Mark was held at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.  Sr. Marilyn was reassigned by her order.

June 2: A farewell celebration for Fr. Marcin Szymanski, OP and Fr. Lukasz Misko, OP, was held at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center. Both priests were reassigned by their order.

June 2: Fr. Cody Jogensen, OP, celebrated Mass at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center, where he has been assigned as director of campus ministry.

June 7: Dominic Sternhagen, a seminarian for the diocese, was ordained a deacon by Bishop Solis in the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

June 30: Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York was the keynote speaker for the America’s Freedom Festival at Provo Patriotic Service.

July 11: Louis Franciose, a 2013 Judge Memorial CHS graduate, professed temporary vows as a Benedictine monk.


July 13: St. Patrick Parish (Salt Lake City) celebrated the 100th anniversary of the dedication of its church building.

July 12: Fr. Joseph Minuth, OP, who has been granted exclaustration ad experimentum, began as parochial vicar of St. Joseph Parish (Ogden).

July 14: St. Joseph Parish (Ogden) celebrated paying off their mortgage.

July 19: The London Oratory Schola presented a free concert at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

July 25-28: The Diocese of Salt Lake City hosted the national Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors’ Social Action Summer Institute.


Aug. 7: A replica of the Cross of the Stigmata was installed at St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center.

Aug. 15: Holy Cross Sr. Celine Dounies, who teaches at St. John the Baptist Elementary School, celebrated the 50th anniversary of her initial profession of vows.

Aug. 15: Bishop Solis blessed the new Catholic Community Services administration building in Salt Lake City.

Aug. 17: Bishop Solis commissioned 70 lay ecclesial ministers for the diocese. Of those who completed the four-year formation, 50 were from the Spanish-speaking LEM program known as Emaús and 13 from the English-speaking program.  

Aug. 14: Fr. Francis Hung Le, OP, began as chaplain for Judge Memorial CHS.


Sept. 4: Deacon Owen Cummings gave the keynote address at the 16th annual Bishop’s Dinner.

Sept. 6: St. Rose of Lima Parish celebrated the 25th anniversary of the dedication of its church.

Sept. 20-12: The Ladies of Charity of the United States of America held its 2019 National Assembly in Salt Lake City.

Sept. 26: Juan Diego CHS was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

Sept. 27: Junuee Castro, director of the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, was among the members of a U.S. delegation that met with Pope Francis in Rome to present the results of the Fifth National Encuentro.


Oct. 26: The inaugural diocesan Youth and Young Adult Leadership Summit was held at St. Ambrose Parish.

Oct. 27: Fr. Sébastien Sasa celebrated Mass at San Pablo Mission in honor of Extraordinary Missionary Month.


Nov. 9: Catholic radio host and author Jon Leonetti spoke at St. Ambrose Parish.

Nov. 12: Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles was elected to a three-year term as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. A native of Mexico, he is the first Latino to be elected president of the USCCB.


Dec. 2: The Cathedral of the Madeleine began a 40-hour period of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in solemn exposition with a special emphasis for vocations, the first in a yearlong devotion called for by Bishop Solis. All of the parishes and missions in the diocese have been assigned a week in the coming year in which to participate in the Devotion for Vocations.

Dec. 15: The Cathedral of the Madeleine hosted the inaugural Brass and Organ Christmas Concert.

Dec. 22: St. Rose of Lima Parish celebrated its inaugural 12 Stations of the Crib, a bilingual devotion recalling the events leading up to and immediately following the birth of Christ.


Deacon Kenneth W. Murphy, a retired deacon of the diocese who had served at St. James the Just and St. Mary parishes, died April 16.

Deacon John J. Conniff, a retired deacon of the diocese who had been a member of the first class of deacons ordained in the diocese, died June 13.

Deacon Dan Essary, who most recently served at the parishes of St. Joseph and St. James the Just in Ogden and St. Mary in West Haven, died Sept. 12.

Sister Angela Marie Hinckley, SSF, a graduate of Judge Memorial CHS, died Sept. 4. Her ministries included religious education in Helper and Tooele, director of religious education for the diocese, coordinator of the diocesan Office for the Handicapped, pastoral associate for St. Lawrence Mission and St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, and director of social and human concerns for St. Vincent de Paul Parish.

Brother David McManus, OCSO, a monk of the former Abbey of the Holy Trinity in Huntsville, died Oct. 26.

Deacon John Louis (“Jack”) Gorman died Nov. 13. He was ordained in 2000 and served at St. George Catholic Church until his retirement in 2013 at the age of 86.

Sister Estelle Marie Farrell, CSC, died Dec. 19. Among her ministries was working at Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City, and also working in Catholic elementary schools in Utah.

Requiescant in pace

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