Christ, Cattle and Hay Stacks

By May 14, 2018Articles


by John T. Patterson, Board Member, Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana. Picture by Mrs. Patterson

The count came up one short: #59 was due and so I began my search. We were calvin’ in a thousand acre pasture so she could be anywhere. It was April 6, 2016, a breathtakingly beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky and calves were either sleeping in the sun or running everywhere. The range and indeed Montana was coming to life before my eyes. No luck on the east half of the pasture, in the bottoms with lots of shelter, where she should have been, so I headed west. As I crossed the divide between Shane Creek and Joe Hill Creek with my beloved Beartooths as my back drop, I spotted her. She was tucked in some brush right under a cedar and there he was standing beside her getting ready to nurse. That bull calf represented years of planning, preparations and dreams in the unending quest to breed the next “great one.” His future was uncertain, it depended on a lot of variables, but on that day he was my dream come true and life was good.

What does any of this have to do with the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana? Quite a lot, actually. The Foundation is much like #59’s calf, it is all about the FUTURE; the future of our Church in a land that God has truly blessed with the broadest brush strokes of his paintbrush. Much like raising cattle in eastern Montana, not every day is like that one in April. He could just as easily have been born in a blizzard, raised during a drought, or perhaps struck by lightning. So we prepare for those, “what ifs,” and plan for the future and dream… Dreams.

Our Church has seen some blizzards of late, but like those ranchers we are not ready to give up on her. We LOVE her! So what do we do? We plan and prepare for the future. The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana represents that hay stack left at the end of calving season that will take care of the herd next winter in case the summer turns out to be hot and dry. The real beauty of the Foundation is that your involvement in it is self-directed.

Contribute to the general welfare of the Diocese, structure a giving plan that will only benefit your Parish, earmark your contribution for a specific need, make regular donations or have it be part of your estate plan. The best part of this is the Foundation is a standalone entity. Your contributions are safe, secure and preserved for the FUTURE. You, the donor, drive it; the Foundation simply provides the bus and the map to get you to your dream. Every contribution, no matter the size, is cherished.

As a Board member I feel so blessed to work with some of the best business minds in Montana; our staff headed by Judy Held is outstanding. I urge all of you to not just Dream the Dream; create the Dream. The future of the Catholic Church in Eastern Montana is literally in your hands. We welcome your questions. Explore our new website www.catholicfoundationmt.org and contact any of us if we can help. As Easter fades into our rear-view mirror and Montana in all its glory renews life through our windshield, look to the horizon, let the Holy Spirit guide you and just imagine that next great one over the hill. Blessings to you all.