Fr. Steven Voss health update: Details on recent hospitalization

Fr. Steven Voss - Pastor - Saint Joseph Catholic Church - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521
Fr. Steven Voss

Dear Friends,

On Monday June 27th, I was hospitalized with an acute case of pancreatitis. During my five-day hospitalization I came to learn that the tumor in my torso has grown and is beginning to push against my pancreas. It is also resting on the opening to my small intestine. This caused my sudden illness. As a result, I’m eating a modified diet. Many  common foods that  I once enjoyed  are now provocative  to my pancreas  and  digestive system.

Two months ago, on the advice of my oncology team, I elected to switch to a different  drug that had  the potential to be more aggressive in decreasing the size of my tumor. Clearly this did not happen and, in fact, the mass grew while I was taking this drug. After consulting with my oncologist I will, in the short term, be transitioning back to a drug therapy that I used most recently and which demonstrated a strong ability to hold and, at times, even shrink the cancer. There are various  tests and trials that have the potential of finding another type of treatment. While the odds of success in this area are slim, they are still worth  pursuing.

In the long term, I have been advised to consider immune therapy. That means using drugs that will enhance my immune system to fight the cancer. Being a kidney transplant recipient, this would involve stopping anti-rejection drugs which suppress my immune system to keep my transplanted kidney alive and healthy. Stopping these drugs would allow my  immune system to come back on line, but would  surely cause my body to reject my kidney. I’m sure you can understand how difficult this decision would be.

The good news is that I am confident that your prayers and support keep me feeling far better than is humanly possible. I continue to be grateful for them. I will keep you informed of any further news or information that I am able to share.  In the midst of this difficult time I give thanks for the presence  of  Fr. Joe Hartmann,  Fr. Greg Ames, our deacons and our amazing staff, all of whom have been heroically present to me and have kept the parish running without incident.

I regret that I have to share this news with you. It ‘s certainly not the news we have hoped  for; however, it does serve as a constant reminder to give thanks for each and every day that  God blesses us with good health and vitality. Many of you might be wondering “Is this the beginning of the end for Fr. Steven?” The answer is not clear. But it might help you to know that after many days of thought and reflection I see this only as another part of the journey, a journey I have undertaken hand-in-hand with Jesus Christ. This brings me peace.

In the end I would like to leave you with one of my favorite poems by Saint Teresa of Avila. My mother gave it to me as she was going through her illness and I have found it very meaningful: Let nothing disturb you, Let  nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.

Sincerely,

Father  Steven Voss

New governance board for Saint Joseph Catholic School

Logo - Saint Joseph Catholic Church - Fort Collins - Colorado -80521Dear Friends,

I have two exciting announcements to share regarding Saint Joseph Catholic School and its future.

First, as we announced in January, the school has been invited by the Archdiocese of Denver Office of Catholic Schools to pilot a new model of governance called a “Board of Specific Jurisdiction.” This is an innovative model of Catholic school governance that has been successfully implemented in many other dioceses, in which the archbishop, superintendent, and pastor formally share certain critical responsibilities with community stakeholders. By taking responsibility for the areas of financial oversight and support and evaluation of the principal, the board helps to promote and ensure growth in academic achievement, enrollment, and school sustainability.

The board will formally convene for the first time this summer.  An important consideration is who will initially be serving on the board.   In addition to myself and the superintendent, all the neighboring Fort Collins pastors (Fr. Rocco Porter, Fr. Enrique Salazar, and Fr. Joseph Toledo) have been invited to participate. Also, a dedicated group of laity with expertise in marketing, finance, law, education and philanthropy (Mrs. Lisa Clay, Mrs. Diane Erickson, Mr. Sonny Lubick, Mr. Neil McCaffrey, and Mr. Jacob Nazeck) have also been invited to participate. This board enhances the governance previously held by myself alone as pastor and seeks to complement other organizations and groups that work to support the school.

Secondly, I have empaneled a Principal Search Committee. We will be meeting in two weeks to begin the search process. The Office of Catholic Schools has already been advertising for the position and is screening candidates. The following individuals have accepted my invitation to be a part of the search committee: Mrs. Lisa Clay, Chair of the Finance Committee, a former school parent and a member of the Board of Specific Jurisdiction; Mrs. Diane Erickson, a former school parent and a member of the Board of Specific Jurisdiction: Mr. Jacob Nazeck, a member of Saint Joseph Church and a member of the Board of Specific Jurisdiction; Mr. T.J. Antinora, a member of Finance Council, SAC Committee and a school parent; and Mrs. Lynette Whisler, a school parent. Sister Rose Mary is also on the Principal Search Committee and has approved of these individuals.

I am confident that the members of the Board of Specific Jurisdiction and the Principal Search Committee have the best interest of the school in mind and will work hard to make this transition smooth and successful.  Thank you for your support of our school and Catholic education.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Steven M. Voss
Pastor

Please pray for Fr. Greg Ames’ healing from cancer

Logo - Saint Joseph Catholic Church - Fort Collins - Colorado -80521Dear Friends,

I am writing you today about our own Fr. Greg Ames. Recently, Fr. Greg learned his cancer has returned on his kidney. We are relieved to find out that he has a positive prognosis. He begins two months of medical leave during which time he’ll undergo a procedure to remove his tumor and recover at his parents’ home.

Fr. Greg asked for our prayers and support, and he will be providing us with periodic updates on his health. You may send any cards or well wishes for Fr. Greg to the parish offices at 101 N. Howes St., Ft. Collins, CO, 80521.

He is looking forward to resuming his class, Our Catholic Journey, in the fall.

I’ve been able to assure Fr. Greg that this is a wonderful parish when it comes to supporting a priest during difficult times. He and I both thank you for your love and support.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Steven