Year in Review 2021 – Intermountain Catholic

Friday December 31, 2021

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Father Reynato Rodillas, pastor of St. James the Just Parish and Spiritual Advisor to the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, died on January 8th.

From Marie Mischel

Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY – The year 2021 brought a “new normal” to the world. Public activities that were banned the previous year because of the COVID-19 pandemic have become more acceptable, although many people still avoid crowds and take other precautions such as wearing face masks to prevent the virus from spreading.

In these conditions, parishioners in the Salt Lake City Diocese slowly returned to Sunday Mass last year. Other church activities have also begun to resume, although even as we prepare to ring in 2022, many parishes are still requiring parishioners to wear face masks and follow social distancing protocols for Sunday Mass.

Despite the troubles of the past year, Utah Catholics continued their faith in 2021. Here are some of the highlights of the year.


Father Reynato Rodillas, pastor of St. James the Just Parish and Spiritual Advisor to the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, died on January 8th.

Joan Loffredo, who was the Diocese’s CFO for 22 years, has retired.

The Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery has installed a memorial wall to honor the deceased priests and deacons who served in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.


The Diocese of Salt Lake City published the Year of Saint Joseph, a pamphlet with reflections on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter Patris Corde, prayers and other resources for the Year of Saint Joseph, which ran on December 8th. 2020 to December 8, 2021.

The on-location Grand Teton Music Festival filmed a concert at the Madeleine Cathedral, which was shown on the festival’s YouTube channel.

The Diocesan Office for Deacons has published a series of videos examining various aspects of permanent diaconate.


The diocese began investigative sessions for a new class in the diaconate formation program.


Br. Hernando Diaz, a retired priest from the diocese, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination.

The St. Vincent de Paul dining room reopened after it was closed for personal services due to the coronavirus.

St. Patrick’s Parish in Salt Lake City reopened the doors of their church, which had been closed due to damage from the March 2020 earthquake.


Dr. Gabriele Terrone, organist and deputy music director of the Madeleine Cathedral, was featured on May 1st on BYU Radio’s “In Good Faith” program.

The seminarian Tristan Dillon was ordained a deacon on May 14th.

On May 26, Bishop Oscar A. Solis lifted most of the pandemic restrictions on liturgical assemblies in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.


Father Dominic Briese OP celebrated the 25th anniversary of his priesthood ordination on June 1st.

The traveling exhibition “Church Treasures” lured hundreds of believers to the Madeleine Cathedral on June 19.


Holy Cross Sister Catherine Kamphaus retired on July 31st after 54 years of Catholic education, including 17 years as director of the Catholic schools in Utah. Today she is the church leader in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Salt Lake City.

JJ Schwall and Br. Michael Sciumbato retired as priests of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, and Dominican Father Francis-Hung Le, who had served in the diocese for the past two years, was transferred from his order to Seattle, Washington, offset.


Bishop’s Dinner, the annual fundraiser for the Madeleine Cathedral, returned to its traditional personal format after going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Diocesan Pastoral Congress introduced a new format in which each parish and mission had their own event with video presentations by Bishop Oscar A. Solis and the keynote speakers in English and Spanish. The presentations were followed by discussions in small groups in most communities.


The Utah Catholic Community Services have launched a 12-week food service training program to help people affected by homelessness become self-sufficient.

Bishop Solis opened the synodal process in the diocese with a mass on October 17th in the Cathedral of the Madeleine and invited all the faithful to participate in the meetings that will take place in their parish or mission. The process “is a crucial moment in the life of the Church,” said the bishop in his sermon at Mass.


St. Joseph High School Boosters celebrated 50 years of supporting the school’s exercise programs.

Saint George Parish began fundraising for a new church in Washington City to serve the growing Catholic population in the area.


Father Rafael Murillo, pastor of the parish of Saint-Marguerite in Tooele, celebrated his 25th anniversary of ordination on December 14th. The parishioners surprised him that day with a mariachi band.

Father Alan Hohl, OCSO, died on December 16. He had taken monastic vows for 66 years and had been a priest for 58 years when he died. He had been a member of the Abbey of Notre Dame of the Holy Trinity in Huntsville; When it closed, he and the other monks moved to St. Joseph’s villa.

Monsignor Robert J. Bussen, pastor of the diocese, celebrated his 50th anniversary of ordination on December 17th. Friends and former parishioners celebrated with a feast.

Local Catholics have also supported domestic and foreign emergency relief efforts at major Catholic relief organizations, the Catholic News Service reported.

By December, extreme weather events and natural disasters of 2021 turned local communities upside down.

“We’ve had about 85 disasters,” said Kim Burgo, vice president of disaster relief for Catholic Charities in the United States last year, according to Catholic Intelligence.

Charities respond to disasters reported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well as local events such as floods that affect local communities, she said.

The west coast forest fires and major storms like Hurricane Ida were among the top disaster priorities of the past year, along with floods, tornadoes and winter storms in the Midwest and the South, she said.

The United States’ Catholic charities support local disaster relief through financial aid, technical assistance and, in the case of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana at the end of August, through the virtual use of case managers, as a coronavirus surge made logistics difficult.

The local response can often take five to seven years, and there are many places in the country with pre-existing economic challenges one comes and you end up in a constant state of recovery, “she said.

Kim Pozniak, senior director of global communications at Catholic Relief Services, said CRS spent about $ 380 million on emergency response measures in 2021.

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