You responded, made a difference

'Let us continue to be people of hope...a leaven in society'

Karna Swanson

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila gave credit for the pro-life victory in Colorado tonight to the people of Colorado “who listened to God’s call” and voiced their opposition to the abortion rights bill known as SB175.

Read the entire letter here

“You are the ones who made a difference!” he wrote in a statement released shortly after state senators killed the bill even before debating it in the Senate. The legislation sought to create an absolute right to abortion in Colorado, and possibly undo life-affirming laws already on the books.

Faith-filled citizens inundated state senators with phone calls, emails and personal requests to support mothers and the unborn by voting down the bill, touted as the “The Reproductive Health Freedom Act.”

On Tuesday, with less than a day’s notice, as estimated 1,000 Coloradans gathered at the state Capitol building at 3 p.m., the Hour of Mercy, to join Archbishop Samuel Aquila to pray for the defeat of SB175. He was joined by Father Ambrose Omayas, assistant administrator of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver.

“As I said yesterday after we prayed together on the steps of the state Capitol,” the archbishop wrote, “I had no idea how much impact my letter would have on the people of Colorado. In just a few days we are able to raise a united front in opposition to Senate Bill 175 and in defense of unborn children, the most innocent of all people.

“Congratulations to the people of good will throughout Colorado who listened to God’s call to be active in politics and to defend life at every stage!”

The archbishop then expressed gratitude towards all those who came together to pray at the state Capitol on Tuesday, including “families that came out in support of life, particularly mothers who came with their young children.”

He also thanked seminarians, priests, women religious, and those “of various faiths who work each and every day to be a leaven in society for the common good.”

“We need you!” he added. “Keep up the good work!”

Archbishop Aquila expressed “deep gratitude” to Father Omayas, “who joined me in a particularly moving way on the steps of the state Capitol to pray and bless the people present.”

He also thanked Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs and Bishop Stephen Berg of Pueblo, who joined him in writing a letter against SB175 to all the state senators, and Regis University president Father John Fitzgibbons, who released a public letter in opposition of SB175.

Our strength, our hope

Turning his attention to Holy Week, the archbishop noted that “these holiest days of the year are a very important moment of memory.”

“For the Catholic Christian,” he continued, “living the ‘memory’ of Christ is not like remembering some completed event that’s now relegated to history; rather, the memory of Christ is someone present in our midst – in the sacraments, in our communities – and is the same as remembering who we are, and whose we are.

“He is our strength and our hope and the one who brings joy to the human heart!”

“Our hope lies not in the powers of government,” he continued, “nor the laws of man, but in the Resurrected God-Man who conquers the grave and never ceases to be present among us, his followers.

“This is not the end of a political battle, but the beginning of a journey together in the Archdiocese of Denver. Let us continue to be people of hope. Let us continue to be a leaven in society. Let us continue to seek the kingdom of God, helping one another, particularly those who are most vulnerable.”

COMING UP: Celebration to support ministry to chronically homeless

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Their homeless ministry is unique and so is their “gala,” which helps support it.

Christ in the City is a Catholic nonprofit born in Denver that forms young adult missionaries to know, love and serve the chronically homeless. Erin McCrory, managing director of the ministry, said the public perception of the homeless is based on a highly visible but small percentage of that population.

“Of the homeless population, 80 to 90 percent are homeless temporarily,” she said, adding that sadly, “10 to 18 percent become chronically homeless.”

The chronically homeless, McCrory said, are those often seen on street corners. They’re the ones who are most likely to have substance abuse (18 percent) and/or mental health (23 percent) issues.

Other surprising facts: More than half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck so when they lose their job—unemployment is the No. 1 cause of homelessness—they often reach out to family, friends or homeless services and bounce back fairly quickly: typically a few months to a year. Not so with the chronically homeless.

“They’ve told us that once your reality becomes eating out of garbage cans and you don’t hear your name spoken for months at a time, you accept this is your reality,” McCrory said. “Their spirits are broken and they are lacking in hope and faith in people.”

Described as “service resistant,” they don’t avail themselves of services because they don’t believe they’re worthy of them, which leads to isolation and loneliness, McCrory said. So Christ in the City goes to them. Young missionaries—25 who volunteer for one to two years and receive spiritual and academic formation—walk the streets searching them out, learn their names, serve quality lunches to them in parks and sit with them as they eat, offering community. They befriend them—as Christ would have done.

The ministry will be offering that same Christian hospitality and friendship to guests of their upcoming gala, “Knowing, Loving and Serving the Poor,” set for 6 p.m. Oct. 7 at Holy Name Parish in Englewood.

The missionaries will emcee the event, which starts with a cocktail hour outside under tents, followed by a delicious dinner hosted by the missionaries who will sit at the tables with attendees. Program includes a video about the ministry, the presentation of the Father Woody Award to Michael Malloy, longtime director of case management at Samaritan House Homeless Shelter, and an “unconventional” live auction.

“Our celebration is simple, but nicely done,” McCrory said. “It’s simple, but beautiful and appropriate.”

Tickets are $125 per person. Table sponsorships are also available. RSVP by Sept. 30 by visiting Questions: email or call 303-952-9743.