The holidays are known for bringing people together, making it an even greater time to work at Grace Church for Episcopal pastor Catherine Tran.
“It’s always a busy time,” says Tran. “People always have a lot of things on their calendars, and there’s a lot of social events that happen in people’s lives. It’s fun to get together with people and celebrate the holidays.”
Tran has been a Colorado resident since she was 12. Since she was young, she always felt drawn to a vocation in the church.
“I’ve always been a spiritual person,” she says. “When you feel called to be a minister of the gospel, it’s a choice that comes from deep within. It can be different from other vocations in that way.”
As an undergraduate, she studied piano. Then she got married, had children and started studying at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver. By then, she had already been ordained and was working at a church.
By 2010, Tran’s work brought her to historic Grace Church in Buena Vista. Her work here was very part-time, as she was around just on the weekends.
However, she never stopped returning. Grace Church, as well as Buena Vista, proved to be a fun location to work, she says.
“The people are great to work with,” she says. “There’re a lot of dedicated people there, and they’re active in the community. It’s a really warm and welcoming parish family, so it’s easy to be with all of the people. It’s a great team. We work together really well.”
Working with people offers more for Tran; it’s her favorite part. “You get to know people really personally. That’s a real gift to me. I enjoy getting to know people and walking with them in their life journey.”
She officially began living in Buena Vista by February this year, though she still commutes back and forth. She even took up a stronger role at Grace Church as the pastor.
Tran has also been working in spiritual direction for a long time. “It’s almost like spiritual counseling, guiding people in their spiritual life,” she says. “I do that with individuals in the congregation and other people too. I also do that with the congregation as a whole.”
Keeping the church running may not be very easy on a daily basis, but it’s balanced out by the relationships she forges with others and watching people grow in their relationship with Christ.
“Of course, I have my role as priest and pastor and director and preacher and all of that,” she says. “That’s one thing that I really like about church work, you work with a lot of different people and you do a lot of different things. I enjoy it.”
In 2015, Tran published a co-authored a book titled “Spiritual Discovery: A Method for Discernment in Small Groups and Congregations”. The book discusses prayer methods for spiritual discovery and discernment in groups.
Tran feels happy to be a published author. “The publisher came to us and asked us to write the book. It took us quite a while but we got it done. It was a lot of hard work,” she says.
She’s currently working on a second book, hopeful to have it done with the same publisher. It will be a complimentary book to the first, she says, but it will also stand alone.
As Christmas approaches, Tran looks forward to being with her family as well as her congregation. “I’m really fortunate that my children live in the area so I get to see them,” she says. “It’s always a lot of fun to celebrate Christmas together.”
She reports that Grace Church will have its regular 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. service on Christmas Eve.