Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 76

but at the same time he planned a mission tour for me which took in the principal settlements of Longmont, Loveland and Fort Collins, none of which was organized or had a priest. This necessitated a drive about a hundred and fifty miles, but I enjoyed it all the same and met a lot of old friends as well as relatives. 

          The departure of Father Maguire, Reitmayer and Matz left the Cathedral with only the Vicar General and myself as workers with the Bishop, and that meant a slowing up with some of the outside missions. The Bishop, too, started on one of his long visitations and only Father Raverdy and myself were left in Denver. Yet, I had to make a visit to some of the camps along the railroad that was then being built in the mountains up the Platte river where there ar enow so many bungalows, summer camps and mountain resorts.

          I took a horse and buggy for the trip, and one day in the vicinity of Dome Rock I was caught in a mountain snow storm. The road soon dwindled to a mere trail, and that was difficult to follow in the storm. To add to my trouble a connecting rod in my buggy broke while I was descending a steep and sideling mountain side. I managed to tie it up with a loose strap from the harness, and finally reached a camp almost frozen. The foreman of the camp saw me coming and, helping me out of the buggy, told me to go in to the fire and he would take care of my horse. While I was getting warm and talking to the cook, who was an Irishman, the foreman (a non-Catholic Englishman name Madge) asked his men who were mostly Irish, what was the custom when a priest came to visit the camp. They told him of mass in the morning, to which he kindly agreed, and said they might take an hour off from work for that purpose. I told him they need lose no time for the mass would be before working hours. He made an offering, and as the men had not received their monthly pay, took their names and subscriptions and gave me a check for the amount saying he would collect it from the men and reimburse himself. 

          At another camp I was told that morning services were not possible but I might preach on temperance some night. To another camp I had to walk several miles, but I said mass there, and the boss said he would take a subscription from the men and forward me the amount after pay day. I am of the opinion that he took up the subscription, but he did not send me the amount. He was supposed to be a Catholic, but later developments proved him to be a rogue. When I came to my first camp my buggy was repaired and the weather was fine, so my drive home was pleasant after a week’s absence. 

          The Bishop did not get home until just before Christmas, but he found that we had met all the work and difficulties of the situation. In the meantime he learned that Father McGarth was no coming back to Colorado, so he appointed Father Matz pastor of Georgetown and myself

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