From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
A community blessing for farmers and public prayer for rain are planned later this week in response to the drought which is gripping the Arkansas Valley. The event will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Milberger Farms, 28570 U.S. 50, in Blende.
“We honor St. Isadore, the patron saint of farmers,” said the Rev. Joseph Vigil, pastor at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Blende. “When he was working the fields, people would see angels following him and helping him.” St. Isadore lived in Madrid, from 1070-1130, and is the patron saint of Madrid, and the U.S. Rural Life Conference as well. A small statue of St. Isadore will be used in the blessing as well.
The Rev. Matthew Wertin, pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Avondale, also will participate in the blessing. “It’s both a blessing for the canals and land, as well as a prayer for rain,” Vigil said. “It’s open to all denominations. We don’t want to limit it to just the Catholic church. All are welcome to intercede for farmers.”
The idea for the event came from farmers and former farmers on the St. Charles Mesa. “We chose Milberger’s because it’s sort of a neutral place,” said Bernie David, who farmed on the mesa until age and drought caught up with him in 2002.
“We just need the rain, whether it’s down here or up in the mountains to get the river going,” added farmer Joe Mauro.
Southeastern Colorado is in its third year of drought, with snowpack at 69 percent of average prior to storms that are expected to move through the state this week. Streams are expected to be flowing at just 56 percent of normal, according to the latest assessment by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.