On a cold and snowy night several days before Christmas, a man
was seen in front of Holy Ghost Church without a coat. It was late
afternoon and Father Woody was coming back from his office at the
Chancery when he spotted the man shivering in the cold. Looking
squarely at him, he asked, “Man, where is your coat? Aren’t
you freezing out here?”
The man replied, “I just got to Denver and I don’t
have a coat.” Without missing a beat, Father Woody took off
is black wool topcoat and handed it to the man, saying, “Stay
warm, brother, and Merry Christmas.”
Ordained in 1953 and a former alumnus of Regis College (now Regis University), Msgr. Charles Bert Woodrich, better known as “Father Woody,” spent the better part of his life offering assistance and support to the less fortunate of our city. He was a co-founder of Samaritan House, served as Communications Director at The Archdiocese of Denver and has been the pastor of several churches in the Denver metro area.
His indelible legacy continues on through scholarships, outreach programs and through the Father Woody Haven of hope, which bears his name. His commitment to helping the downtrodden is vastly eminent through the namesake luncheon, which is sponsored by Holy Ghost Church, The Archdiocese of Denver, Daniels Fund, Regis University and the Adam’s Mark Hotel Denver.
The first luncheon was hosted in 1981 at Cathedral High School and has since outgrown its previous locations to find a new home at the Grand Ballroom in the Downtown Sheraton Hotel. The Downtown Sheraton Hotel provides the meeting space, tables, chairs and other functionary requirements as well as prepares donated turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes and other holiday fare for over 4,000 attendees, all of which is free of charge.
In addition, other organizations and local businesses donate gifts for the many who attend, along with a host of volunteers from Holy Ghost Church, The Archdiocese of Denver, Daniels Fund, Regis University and the Downtown Sheraton who graciously serve and host the large, family-style meal.
Msgr. C.B. Woodrich "Father Woody" was a beloved pastor
known as Denver's "Patron Saint of the Poor." In his
memory, the annual tradition of providing a delicious Christmas
meal and presents to the poorest among us continues to this day.
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