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, passed away on January 8.

By Marie Mischel

Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY – The year 2021 has brought a ‘new normal’ to the world. Public activities that had been banned the previous year due to the COVID-19 pandemic have become more acceptable, although many people still continue to avoid crowds and take other precautions such as wearing face masks to avoid spreading the virus.

Under these conditions, the parishioners of the Diocese of Salt Lake City have slowly started to return to Sunday Mass over the past year. Other church activities have also started to pick up, although as we prepare to ring in 2022, many parishes still require parishioners to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing protocols for Sunday Mass.

Despite the hardships of the past year, Catholics in Utah have continued to live out their faith in 2021. Here are some highlights from the year.


Father Reynato Rodillas, pastor of St. James the Just parish and spiritual advisor to the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, passed away on January 8.

Joan Loffredo, who was chief financial officer of the diocese for 22 years, has retired.

Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery has installed a wall of remembrance that honors deceased priests and deacons who served in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.


The Diocese of Salt Lake City has published “The Year of Saint Joseph”, a booklet containing reflections on Pope Francis’ apostolic letter “Patris Corde”, as well as prayers and other resources for the Year of Saint Joseph , which took place from December 8. 2020 to December 8, 2021.

The Grand Teton Music Festival on Location filmed a concert at the Madeleine Cathedral which was broadcast on the festival’s YouTube channel.

The Diocesan Office of Deacons has released a series of videos that explore different aspects of the permanent diaconate.


The diocese has started investigative sessions for a new class in the diaconate training program.


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

The Saint-Vincent-de-Paul dining room has reopened its doors after being closed to in-person services due to the coronavirus.

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


Dr Gabriele Terrone, organist and deputy musical director of the Cathédrale de la Madeleine, appeared on the May 1 episode of BYU Radio’s “In Good Faith”.

Seminarian Tristan Dillon was ordained a deacon on May 14.

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


Father Dominic Briese, OP, celebrated the 25th anniversary of priestly ordination on June 1.

The “Treasures of the Church” traveling exhibition of relics drew hundreds of worshipers to the Madeleine Cathedral on June 19.


Holy Cross Sister Catherine Kamphaus retired on July 31 after 54 years in Catholic education, 17 of which as Superintendent of Catholic Schools in Utah. She is now director of parish life for Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Salt Lake City.

Bro. JJ Schwall and Bro. 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 reassigned by his order in Seattle, Wash.


Bishop’s Dinner, the Madeleine Cathedral’s annual fundraiser, has reverted to its traditional in-person format after going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Diocesan Pastoral Congress has implemented a new format, with each parish and mission hosting its own event with video presentations by Bishop Oscar A. Solis and keynote speakers in English and Spanish. The presentations were followed by small group discussions in most of the parishes.


Catholic Community Services of Utah has launched a 12-week food service training program to help homeless people become self-sufficient.

Bishop Solis opened the synodal process in the diocese with a Mass on October 17 in the Cathedral of the Madeleine, asking all the faithful to participate in the sessions that will be held in their parish or mission. The process “is a pivotal moment in the life of the Church,” said the bishop during his homily at Mass.


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

Saint George Parish has started raising funds 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 Margaret of Tooele, celebrated his 25th anniversary of ordination on December 14. Parishioners surprised him that day with a mariachi band.

Father Alan Hohl, OCSO, passed away on December 16. He had been in monastic vows for 66 years and had been a priest for 58 years when he died. He had been a member of Notre-Dame de la Sainte-Trinité Abbey in Huntsville; when it closed, he and the other monks moved to Villa Saint-Joseph.

Bishop Robert J. Bussen, retired priest 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 response efforts at major Catholic aid organizations, Catholic News Service reported.

Until December, the extreme weather events and natural disasters of 2021 continued to upset local communities.

“We had about 85 disasters” in the United States last year, said Kim Burgo, vice president of disaster operations for Catholic Charities USA, according to the Catholic News Service.

Charitable agencies respond to disasters declared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well as local events, such as flooding, that impact local communities, she said.

Wildfires on the West Coast and major storms such as Hurricane Ida were among the main disasters of the past year, along with floods, tornadoes and winter storms in the Midwest and South, a- she declared.

Catholic Charities USA supports the local disaster response with financial assistance, technical support and, in the event of Hurricane Ida coming ashore in late August in Louisiana, the virtual deployment of case managers as a wave coronavirus was complicating logistics.

Often times the response at the local level can take five to seven years, and there are many places in the country that have pre-existing economic problems, “so you end up with a bad hurricane or a tornado in a place where they don’t. never really recover until the next one comes, and you end up with a constant state of recovery, ”she said.

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


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