Weekend in Casper, WY
17 - 18 January 04 with Fr. Matthew
On the weekend of 17-18 Jan 04 I gave an NFP Weekend at St. Patrick's Church in Casper, WY. Fr. August Koeune is the pastor of 600 families, and is a strong supporter of the Catholic sexual ethic. I have never received so many "thank you's" after Mass for my homily as here. One hundred copies of Janet Smith's audiotape, "Contraception, Why Not?" were circulated at the three Masses.
At the Sunday afternoon conference there were 15 couples, four of which were teachers of NFP. Mrs. Pat McCarthy, diocesan director of NFP, was also there. The four teaching couples came to be reinvigorated. Ten couples signed up to begin classes.
For my presentation on the spirituality of NFP, I used Bishop Steinbock's (Fresno, CA) pastoral letter on Life Giving Love of Husband and Wife in Light of the Teaching of the Church on Marriage and Family. Each participant received a copy of the pastoral, which was published on 1 Jan 02.
Dr. Maura Lofaro Harrower, MD, drove six hours from Jackson Hole to Casper to make her presentation on "Good Medicine and Good Morality: the Perfect Fit." Then another six hours for the return trip. She made a very good presentation. NFP doctors are scarce in Wyoming. Kevin & Ruthie Halvorsen, teachers of NFP, gave a personal testimony to the values that NFP has brought into their marriage and family life. Kevin is a coach at the high school in Glenrock. The couple has eight children, one of which is now in a minor seminary in Lincoln, NE. Their presentation was fascinating, as testimonials of this nature usually are, as they explained how God's plan for human love gradually changed their attitudes, their communication with each other, and their openness to the gift of life.
Fr. Dan McCaffrey has given parish missions and NFP weekends in Wyoming over the years. Recently Fr. Richard Hogan has given talks to the diocesan clergy on the theology of the body, which they found very helpful. It would not be surprising if members of the NFP Outreach team were asked to return in the future.
The diocese of Cheyenne includes the entire state. Out of a population of 494,000, Catholics are 49,000, or one tenth of the state. Bishop David Ricken has 46 diocesan priests assisting him, 14 of which are retired; 10 religious priests and 15 permanent deacons.
Wyoming is noted for its wildlife , ranches, oil fields, natural gas reserves and vast deposits of coal. Antelope appear everywhere. There is a hunting season for deer, moose and elk. There are two national parks in the state, and several Indian reservations. Coal is so close to the surface that it is extracted by strip mining. Because Wyoming coal has low sulfur, it is in great demand by many power plants throughout the Mid-West.