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CATHOLIC LIFE I 3 DENVER CATHOLIC REGISTER I OCTOBER 23, 2013 Broncos team with Knights to beat poverty Defending the goal Faith points Broncos' coach in right direction BY JULIE FILBY PHOTO BY ROBERT LINN FOR THE DENVER CATHOLIC REGISTER STUDENTS from Denver's Annunciation School proudly display the new coats they received at a Knights of Columbus Coats for Kids giveaway, held with the Denver Broncos organization, Oct. 15 at HealthQ Facility in the Denver Tech Center. The Knights' Supreme Council recently donated 1,000 coats to be distributed to children in need in Colorado. BY JULIE FILBY Members of the 6-1 Denver Broncos organization recently teamed up with the Knights of Columbus for an event where everyone came out a winner. On Oct. 15, the Knights' Coats for Kids initiative collaborated with the Broncos and Catholic Athletes for Christ to present new winter coats to students from Denver's Annunciation School. "They're having a lot of fun," said Father Francisco Ramirez, O.F .M. Cap, pastor of Annunciation Parish, who accompanied 20 students to the distribution site at HealthQ Facility in Greenwood Village. "Some of them probably don't have the best coats in the world. It's awesome." Most of them are big Broncos fans too, he added. "That makes it extra special," he said. "A lot of the kids watch the Broncos with their families." Assisting at the giveaway were Broncos' defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and center Steve Vallos, as well as several Broncos' wives, including Linda Del Rio and Robyn Fox, the wife of head coach John Fox. Jack Del Rio and Vallos signed mini footballs and posed for photos with the children, after they ﬁnished browsing several tables of coats, to ﬁnd the perfect one to take home. "I'm having lots of fun," said third-grader Christian Luevano, 8, sporting a new jacket in Broncos' blue and orange. "I got my football signed," he added as he tossed around the new prized possession. Seventh-grader Fatima Mezza, 12, agreed, "It's fun to have the opportunity to come here and visit people; I'm a Broncos' fan." KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS' COATS FOR KIDS What: New coat distribution When: Oct. 29 Where: Father Raney Knights of Columbus Council, 2600 Sixth Ave., Greeley Coach Del Rio appreciated the opportunity as well. "It's nice to take a break from the normal grind of coaching football ... and come over here and share, joining up with the Knights of Columbus," he said. (They're) a great organization, they do a wonderful job of ... not only just giving back to the community but maximizing the resources they have." See Knights, Page 9 While Jack Del Rio, defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos, admits his faith journey has had some detours, he's grateful to a fellow National Football League coach who got him back on track. Del Rio, 50, has fond memories of being raised Catholic in California. However when his parents divorced during his teenage years, he fell away from the Church. Throughout high school and college at the University of Southern California—where he played football and baseball—he remained Christian, but stayed away from the Church. He spent 11 years playing linebacker in the NFL and was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1994. After retiring from playing in 1996, he started a coaching career, ﬁrst with the New Orleans Saints. "The pivotal point for me (returning to the faith), aside from my marriage with my lovely wife, Linda, was Danny Abramowicz challenging me in New Orleans when I ﬁrst started coaching," Del Rio told the Denver Catholic Register Oct. 15. "He really challenged me to get some of the facts straight." Abramowicz—former AllPro NFL wide receiver and coach, and more recently producer of the EWTN series "Crossing the Goal"—arranged a meeting between Del Rio and Msgr. John Reynolds (since deceased) at St. Patrick Church in New Orleans. "I met with Msgr. Reynolds Can you spare $50 to help disaster survivors? When we think of the homeless, it's often those on the street and in shelters, people that Catholic Charities seeks to help every day in service to Christ. There's another group of homeless, those forced out of their homes through disaster, as we all witnessed in September after the ﬂooding in northern Colorado. "They are living in warehouses, churches or hotels or are crammed into the spare rooms of friends and relatives because there are so few TO HELP Click "Donate" at www. ccdenver.org to support "Disaster Response Efforts" or mail donations to: Catholic Charities, 4045 Pecos St., Denver, CO 80211 rentals available," The Denver Post reported of more than 300 immigrants, primarily the undocumented. In Milliken, as Catholic Charities participated in a Coats for Colorado distribution, I heard that a house was taken off the market temporarily in order to allow people to sleep there. If so, that's a remarkable act of charity. Here's how we can respond. If 1,000 people will donate $50 each, that will provide $50,000 toward our outreach in the ﬂood zone, including housing needs and other necessities such as food and clothing assistance. That should help dozens of people get through every week," Del Rio said. "He would take the time and answer questions I had in my mind … that I'd come up through the years. "The world was telling me things that weren't factual and monsignor took me to Scripture and answered all my questions," Del Rio said. "He was patient with me. He was really tremendous." In 1998, Del Rio received the sacrament of conﬁrmation and his marriage with Linda was convalidated by Msgr. Reynolds. The couple has been married 26 years and they have four children. "It was a blessing to have a fellow coach, a fellow Catholic man of God who was willing to stand up and say: 'Hey, why aren't you doing this? What happened to you?" he relayed. "He pointed me in the right direction." Following his tenure as head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars 2003-2011, he joined the Bronco's staff in 2012. Jack and Linda, parishioners of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Denver, are both involved with Catholic Athletes for Christ, an apostolate founded by Ray McKenna that supports athletes and coaches in their faith and helps them use their unique platform to reach others with the Gospel. "Ray approached me about wanting to be involved in Catholic Athletes for Christ about six years ago," Del Rio said. "I'm glad to be a part of it, it's a great project ... we're grateful to Ray for his stewardship and giving of himself." One way CAC serves is to help coordinate NFL team Masses. See Del Rio, Page 9 CALL TO CHARITY the coming weeks. LARRY SMITH We are working with other organizations on longer-term housing solutions. If you have been abundantly blessed by God, please consider a greater gift to Catholic Charities to help ﬂood disaster survivors rebuild their lives going forward. I'll report back in a future "Call to Charity" column of the Denver Archdiocese. on what your support has Visit online at www.ccdenver. accomplished. org or call 303-742-0828. There are many opportunities Larry Smith is the president to serve others with your time, and CEO of Catholic Charities talent and treasure.