Thursday, July 29, 2021

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Wyoming Catholic Priest

July 23rd marked the one year anniversary of Fr. Carl Beavers' death. To commemorate the day, we set him a Wyoming Catholic Priest head stone. 

Once we discovered how long it takes to get a traditional grave stone cut, we started to think outside the box.

Greg Hampson and I took on the challenge. Why don't we just build him something, we thought.

The only thing I know how to work with is 2 7/8", while Greg turned to some railroad plate for the plaque.

Father's sister Jeanette and her son Matt came for the anniversary. While there they asked if I knew how to have Mass intentions said that Fr. Beavers was unable to fulfill. Just wanting to help out I said I would take care of them. Little did I know the impact that would have on me. Being his successor is big shoes to fill. 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Pumpkin Buttes

One of the perks of being a missionary priest in God's Country is seeing new terrain. The Pumpkin Buttes are on many peoples' bucket list. But being on private ground, they are not easy to get to. Good thing I have friends in high places. Trent and Kahla Mills have the lease on the North Butte this year, so we saddled up for one of the coolest cattle drives I’ve been on. 

The North Butte is one of four major buttes that make up the Pumpkin Buttes in Campbell County. A geological oddity, they rise out of nowhere like islands on a sea of prairie. They are called Pumpkin because at the foot of the North Butte lie hundreds of round orange colored rocks that resemble pumpkins.  History tells us that they were used by the US military, outlaws, and no doubt they were sacred grounds to the Native Americans.

The day started before sun-up to beat the heat. Loading up the 22 pairs, we trucked them about 10 miles to the north foot of the buttes.

This was pretty much new territory for all involved. So Kahla pointed out the gun site on the horizon that we were going to drive the cattle through. I'm always up for a challenge.

Surprisingly to me, there are quite a few springs coming off the rim of the Butte. Here the cattle will come down to water and back up to graze. The Mills have a camera set up so they can keep an eye on things. 

Now the final stretch. For not being here before, the cattle sure pushed nice.

Sure enough, right through that gun site.

There she be. The top of North Butte. Flat as a pancake and as lush as Hawaii. 

Big bucks and elk even roam these parts. In the center of the pic is part of about 70 head of elk we kicked up.

Another well job done.

That was cool. And Mollie loved it too. What a vast garden our Lord has given us to explore. I'm super thankful for the opportunity to get a bird's eye view of this land that I call home. In the end, all we can really do is just that, give thanks.

Holy Desire

St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Ride with Faith

The testimony of a good retreat is whether you feel refreshed or exhausted at the end. Well, we're back home now and I'm totally rejuvenated. We hit it hard and the travel home was long, but our time in Spain with the boys was the funnest adventure I've ever been on. 

Some people have asked how we got to know Gerardo and Gonzalo. Well to be honest, we never even talked to them until two days before we saw them. Last summer Gerardo reached out to me wanting to spend a summer interning on a ranch in Wyoming. That'd be great, I said, and we stayed in conversation. Well as the summer drew close, the borders were closed for him to make the trip. There is always next year we thought. In prayer, however, the inspiration came for me to go over there. So I turned to my trusty sidekick Kurt and we started to plan. Our major obstacle was that the Spanish borders were closed as well, but there was hope that they would open sooner than the US. With all our ducks in a row, we waited till the two week mark to make our final decision. That morning Gerardo emailed and said they were still closed and it looked like it was a no go. One hour later, he emailed back and said they just opened, let's go! Thanks Blessed Mother.

St. Teresa of Avila once said, show me your friends and I'll show you yourself. Well if I'm anything like these young men I'm doing alright. 

Our last day in Barcelona we spent on the Mediterranean Sea fishing, boating, swimming, snorkeling, wake boarding, and of course cliff jumping. 

No shoes, no shirt, no problem.

Your future is bright Ol' son. And I hope to some degree I'm a part of it.

On to the next one.

To be continued... The program of the spiritual life is to just take the next right step. No one could have planned this trip. We just put one foot in front of the other with faith. I have no doubt that these Catholic Cowboys will ride again. Hopefully the next time will be on our turf. Besides, you boys are now one of the Brothers. You have to come check on the herd!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Country goes to Town

Being from Wyoming I figured I was about as well cultured as they come. Turns out not. But Kurt and I got up to speed after our hike around Barcelona. 

First stop was Sagrada Familia, the basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí. Undertaken about 130 yrs ago, she is still under construction.

In matters like these, it's best to listen to the experts. Ana and Inés, cousins of Gerado and Gonzalo, showed us around town and explained the rich meaning behind this church in particular.  

Gaudí's whole effort was to mirror God's creation, His first cathedral. Inside is like a forest of height and light.

He was not a naturalist per se, but he used the natural to draw us into the supernatural. Sagrada Familia was Gaudí’s master piece. He died in 1926 and is buried in the crypt of this work of art. His cause for canonization is under investigation.

He has many more works around town, of which this bad boy is one.

Definitely different, but a marvel nonetheless. 

Now that's more my style. 

That was fun. I am super impressed by the cleanliness and beauty of this city. They say you can tell a lot about a culture by the buildings they build. Through this lens, it is clear that Spain's priority was and continues to be Christianity. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Tour de France and Spain

We arrived in Lourdes France after going through the epic bike race as well as a hail storm. Other than that, smoothing sailing. We paid our respects to our Lady that evening and then retired outside of town at a little local hotel.

Our Blessed Mother appeared to the little girl Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 and asked that a chapel be built here so that pilgrims can come and venerate her. Thanks St. Bernadette. 

Our Lady appeared to her on various occasions and told her to dig in the sand, which revealed a spring that has brought about miraculous healings ever since. Bernadette also asked the Lady, whom at the time she didn't know that it was Mary, what her name was. To which the Lady replied, I am the Immaculate Conception. This says much. But at that time especially because just prior to this, in 1854, Pope Pius IX had officially declared the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception. This was a confirmation to the truth of this doctrine that many skeptics held at the time.

The next morning we had French crapes before we ventured back onto this holy ground.

I hope our Blessed Mother is pleased with this church that now gathers pilgrims from all over the world.

We were blessed to reserve a small chapel inside to celebrate Mass. This was the pinnacle moment of our entire pilgrimage. I was praying in advance that Mary would show me what more I can do in the realms of evangelization. She simple said, just celebrate the Mass.

Before we departed we prayed a Rosary at the Grotto, entrusting our lives to Mary, the Immaculate Conception and our Mother.

The next stop was Loyola to walk in the footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits). The Lord provided us a room at a local convent near his birth place. Turns out the boys' grandmother lived here for a sort time as a young woman.

Loyola Spain is the hometown of St. Ignatius. This basilica is built around the house he grew up in. As providence would again have it, this is the 500 anniversary of his conversion. 

The chapel is of 16th century baroque architecture. Loud and proud.

He was of noble descent and the home is still largely intact.

A knight of great valor in his youth, Ignatius was hit with shrapnel from a canon ball in battle. Back home where he was recovering in this room, he asked for some books on chivalry. Not having them, they gave him a book on the lives of the saints. This is where his eyes were opened just a little. He noticed that when he thought about chivalry he got fired up, but soon after his heart was left empty. When he thought about living a noble life like the saints and fighting for the Kingdom of God, he got fired up AND his heart remained at peace long after. Thus began his discernment of spirits, where he learned to follow the voice of God in his heart.

Once we left Loyola we stopped by Pamplona where we was injured in battle.

Pamplona is also the home of the running with the bulls, which is held this very week. As providence would have it again, it was canceled this year to keep Kurt and I out of temptation.

Here we stopped for lunch to enjoy some Spanish bovine and vino. 

The final stop was at the Cave of St. Ignatius in Manresa. He spent about 11 months coming here to pray. These rocks are where the Spiritual Exercises were composed.

Mission accomplished. Now we can just have fun. We are back in Barcelona and plan to just hangout and live as Spaniards for the next couple days.

Sunday, July 11, 2021


Perseverance pays off. On Thursday July 8th, Kurt and I embarked on our long awaited pilgrimage to Spain and Lourdes. Well aware of that pilgrimages come with obstacles, it was no surprise that our first flight was canceled due to tropical storm Elsa. Catching a plane the next day, we eventually arrived in Barcelona and were greeted by our friends Gerardo and Gonzalo. We didn't waste any time though. The boys quickly drove us up to the Cerdanya valley nestled in the Pyrenees Mountains.

The Catholic Cowboy Crew: Kurt, Gerardo, Ol' Father, and Gonzalo

The first order of business was to scope out the terrain. No better way than on steel horses.

When the boys were 15 they started handcraft construction on this hunting camp.

A couple years later they had it ready for action.

The family has a summer home in the little town of Guils.

Meals have been off the charts. No hurry here. Mom and dad made us a mediterranean lunch and around 10pm we had dinner.

No better view of the town then from the bell tower of the local church.

Here we celebrated Sunday morning Mass. This church is about 1000 years old.

Simple beauty.

Of course we invited the rest of the clan in the neighborhood. 

This afternoon we travel to Lourdes France to see our Blessed Mother. This has been the driving force of our mission. No doubt we will hit bumps in the road. But, in typical Catholic Cowboy fashion, we won't give up easy. On to the next one...

Bridle Repair

About the only memory I have a getting yelled at as a kid was for tying a horse up hard. To this day I know I shouldn't, but I still do....