by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG- Over 200 well-wishers, friends and members of the Saint Mary’s Catholic Community have said a final good-bye to the pastor who was their spiritual shepherd for the past three years. The potluck dinner event was organized by Yvonne Griego and Mary Ann Trujillo. In 2006, Father Chris Adinuba, a Nigerian, received a call from Bishop Arthur Tafoya while on vacation visiting another Nigerian priest in Florence, CO. The Bishop indicated that there was a small parish in southern Colorado which was in need of a pastor. Father Chris heard the call from God that this was his ministry. Now he is being called elsewhere.
Father Chris was welcomed by Saint Mary’s Parish on Feb. 1, 2006. When he first came, his accent was hard to understand. He began to print his sermon in the bulletin, and in time members of the church saw his spirituality, his devotion to God and especially to the Blessed Mother. He began a weekly Adoration to the Holy Sacrament, the praying of the Rosary. His offering of the daily Mass ended with the praying of the chaplets of Divine Mercy. Father Chris’ sermons spoke of the teachings of the Church and the message set forth in the word of the Lord. He often said, “People are afraid of the truth, but that’s the way it is. For them to accept or not accept.”
Father’s orthodoxy was in line with the teachings of the Catholic church and hard for some to accept. However, his conservatism helped convict people to a deeper faith. In his final address, Father Chris stated, “The Mass is the same wherever you go. I am only the priest. I hope to have brought something that you will remember. The next priest will give something different.”
This was Father Chris’ first assignment administering a parish. His next job will be as a teacher in Minneapolis, MN, working with the elderly. He will also celebrate Sunday Masses at that parish. Father Chris’ first experience with snow and cold came while he was in Colorado. He also enjoyed the experience of the local cuisine: Mary Ann Trujillo’s green chili or other fares offered by those who invited him to dinner. Speaking on Minneapolis he said, “My first choice would have been Colorado Springs or Denver, but God called me to Minnesota, where it’s cold.”
The replacement for Father Chris, Father Martin Frias, will move into the Parish Rectory on Tues. Jan. 27. This weekend, he will celebrate the fiftieth wedding anniversary Mass of his parents in Denver. Father Frias will celebrate his first Mass for the community this Sat, Jan. 31 and on Sun. Feb. 1. There will be a reception after each mass so parishioners may get to know their new priest. Father Frias has been ordained five years and is an exciting, devout and spiritual man of God who will bring his gifts to the Saint Mary’s Catholic Community. The Parish Council would like to invite those not familiar with the changes in our community to welcome Father Frias to the community.