Hundreds gathered at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception the evening of June 7 to celebrate Mass for Servant of God Julia Greeley a century after she passed away.
Those in attendance had the opportunity to see Julia’s tomb up close and pay their respects to the woman on her way to sainthood.
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila presided over the Mass.
“Today is a historic day for the Church of northern Colorado as we gather in this Cathedral church to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the death of Julia Greeley on this vigil of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” he said during his homily.
The archbishop explained that Jesus’ selfless love given through the Eucharist is the same type of love Julia embodied in her own life.
“It is deeply rooted in sacrifice,” said Archbishop Aquila. “It is deeply rooted in giving oneself completely to the Lord no matter what the cost may be.”
Julia grew up a slave. She lost her eye when her mother was being beaten and the whip hit her instead, and yet she still lived a joyful life.
After becoming a free woman and moving to Denver, Julia walked around offering necessities to the poor. She spent one Friday a month walking to local firehouses, where she handed out pamphlets on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Julia not only had courage to spread love in these ways, but she did it while battling arthritis all over her body.
“Even in the midst of her terrible arthritis and in the brokenness and pain of her own body, she still carried a joyful spirit because she knew the love of Christ,” said Archbishop Aquila.
“Her life is a witness to grace, to the power of God, and to the humility and the total gift of self.”
The archbishop asked those present to consider the deep love Jesus has for each and every one of them and to use Greeley’s life as an example of holiness.
“… we lift our hearts in gratitude to the father for the gift of the sacred heart of Jesus, for the gift of his son to the world, and for the faithfulness of a former slave woman who was truly rooted and grounded in love,” he said.