DENVER -- A piece of Colorado will be center stage, every time Pope Francis celebrates mass with his many followers.
It all started with a chance meeting, and through the power of Facebook, Colorado will have a special place on the papal stage.
The whole world was watching when Pope Francis was elected.
For one man in Wheat Ridge it spurred a crazy idea. But this really begins with a love story.
Zach and Melinda Urban were married in February 2007.
They traveled to Argentina for their honeymoon.
“On the last day of our honeymoon we were walking down the street looking at the shop windows and we happened upon a silversmith shop and looked into the windows and saw some silver leathermans,” says Zach Urban.
“We walked in and met the owner, Adrian Pallarols. “Got to meet him and be friends with him and it was really kind of a chance coincidence that we met him.”
But the coincidental friendship lasted. Urban kept in touch with the seventh generation silversmith on Facebook.
“It wasn’t until a few months ago that the friendship too, a different turn.” That turn took place on March 13when Urban watched the election of the new pope.
“The day I heard the pope was elected I realized that my friend was from Argentina, and not only that he was from Argentina but that he had made previous objects for Pope Benedict. So it clicked in my mind that maybe given his location and the pope was from Argentina that he might have something to do,” Urban says.
“I Facebooked him and said, ‘What`s your involvement here?’ And he said, ‘Well the pope has asked me to make all his liturgical vessels for the mass.’ And the next question was, ‘Could you use anything from Colorado to incorporate to show a unity between North and South America because this is the first pope from the new world from the western hemisphere?’”
“When I first mentioned it to my wife, this is what I was going to do she thought, ‘That`s nice Zach, that`s cute... that`s a cute idea but that`s never going to pan out,’” he says.
But Urban kept at it, and he eventually found someone in Fort Collins who could get him Colorado silver.
“We bought three ounces of silver that comes from the 'In God we trust' mine near Alma.
He heard that name and he knew. “It told me I was on the right track.”
Urban had the silver blessed and 24 hours later it was en route to Argentina, to be used in the pope`s new chalice and other vessels he’ll use to give parishioners communion.
A gift, urban says, is not from him or his family... But on behalf of Colorado.
“Whether you`re Catholic or not I think it`s an ability to show cooperation among different cultures and cooperation among different people and no matter where you go in the world it`s important to always try to make friends,” Urban says.
“All the right pieces fit together, we just happened to go to Argentina for our honeymoon and we just happened to walk down the street. We just happened to walk into that silver shop and met that guy who we shouldn`t have met, there`s no earthly reason why we would have met.”
Earthly? Maybe not. But perhaps divine.
The Argentinean silversmith will present the chalice, spoon and other vessels with Colorado silver in them to Pope Francis in the next month.
And, as for the silver leatherman that initially drew Zach Urban and his wife into the silver shop? Urban tells us it will be a family heirloom he passes on to his kids.AlertMe