A Holy Week miracle

Senate kills abortion rights bill; pro-lifers made voices heard

Nissa LaPoint
Machebeuf students and nearly 1,000 faithful cheer for life at the state Capitol April 15.  The abortion rights Senate Bill 175 was killed by the Senate April 16.

Remember this night; remember this bill.

Life won a victory over the culture of death tonight when state senators began to buckle in the pursuit of the “abortion rights” Senate Bill 175 and killed it shortly before 7 p.m.

Pro-lifers mobilized in less than a week to pray for the defeat of the destructive bill that threatened to create unfettered access to abortion and undo life-affirming laws in Colorado.

Faith-filled citizens inundated state senators with phone calls, emails and personal requests to vote down the bill in support of mothers and for the protection of the unborn.

Jenny Kraska of the Colorado Catholic Conference said this night, April 16, is proof that Catholics can make a difference.

“Whenever someone says that we can’t make a difference, just remember this night, just remember this bill,” she said.

The Senate moved to lay over the bill until May 8, one day after the legislative session is scheduled to end on May 7. This effectively killed the bill, and the Senate will not vote on it.

Sen. John Kefalas, D-Larimer, who belongs to the Orthodox Church, and Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, a parishioner at Spirit of Christ Church in Arvada, reportedly began to waver in their support of the bill as pro-lifers made their voices heard.

Without the majority vote of the Democrats, the bill would have failed.

Kraska thanked everyone for their witness that stopped the bill in its tracks.

“It is because of your willingness to engage the public square that we were able to defeat (Senate Bill 175),” she said in a statement. “Your voices matter and are needed in the public square now more than ever; please remember what we were able to accomplish and continue to be involved and make your voices heard.”

Some are calling it a Holy Week miracle.

“I cannot thank you all enough for what you did to make this possible—this is truly a miracle,” Kraska said.

The bill’s progress was stopped one day after nearly 1,000 Christians gathered with Archbishop Samuel Aquila and Greek Orthodox Father Ambrose Omayas at the state Capitol to pray for the protection of life.

Young and old; men, women and children; laity and religious; solemnly prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m. April 15.

The bill was scheduled for a vote that same evening and faithful from the gathering outside flooded the Senate chambers. However, the Senate moved to lay over the bill because one Democrat, Kefalas, a key supporter of the bill, reportedly went home sick.

Bill proponents believe the outside prayer gathering and the high volume of opposition and prayer led the Democrat-controlled Senate to move to end the bill April 16.

During that prayer rally, Archbishop Aquila told the crowd gathered on the Capitol steps that it’s important to participate in the political system. He said Catholics can no longer take the backseat.

“Some of the senators have said they have shut off their phones, some of them said they have never been contacted by so many,” the archbishop said during the gathering. “And you can make a difference. Too many times we have taken a backseat, and Catholics, Christians, and people of good will can no longer take a back seat.”

His statements echoed the words of Pope Francis, who said in September, “A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.”

COMING UP: The Pope’s message to teens

Pope Francis hears confessions of youth as part of the Jubilee for Boys and Girls in St. Peter's Square on April 23, 2016.
@Servizio Fotografico - L'Osservatore Romano

Pope Francis celebrated a special teens-only Jubliee over the weekend, during which he reminded young people that they are made for happiness. His message reminded teens across the world that they are never alone, and that Jesus wants a relationship with them.

The Pope encouraged the teens of the world to seek happiness in ways that may seem uncomfortable, but that will satisfy their need for communion.

“Your happiness has no price,” the Pope said during Mass in St. Peter’s Square. “It cannot be bought: it is not an app that you can download on your phones nor will the latest update bring you freedom and grandeur in love.”

He said love requires a dedication and self-gift that technology cannot.

“That is because love is a free gift which calls for an open heart,” he said. “It is a noble responsibility which is life-long; it is a daily task for those who can achieve great dreams!”

Pope Francis absolves a teenager during a special teens-only event for the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Pope Francis absolves a teenager during a special teens-only event for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Credit: © L’Osservatore Romano

He reminded the teens that they should not listen to anyone who tries to tell them that their worth is in the clothes they wear or their resemblence to a movie character. He said the teens have worth by virtue of who they are.

Every teen is loved, he said. He begged the young people to recognize this.

“The biggest threat to growing up well comes from thinking that no one cares about us, from feeling that we are all alone,” he said. “The Lord, on the other hand, is always with you and he is happy to be with you.”

He suggested the teens practice being with Jesus by reflecting on his life. He said Jesus will use this time to transform their natural need to give and receive affection into a beautiful experience.

FrancisConfessionGirl

Pope Francis and other priests heard the teens’ Confessions during the special Jubilee event, held April 23. Credit: © L’Osservatore Romano

“The Lord, if you let him teach you, will show you how to make tenderness and affection even more beautiful,” the Pope said.

“Love is nurtured by trust, respect and forgiveness,” he said.

He reminded the teens that we all have a perfect example of love in Jesus, who “gives us himself in the Mass. He offers us forgiveness and peace in Confession. There we learn to receive his love, to make it ours and to give it to the world.”

Love must be the identity of every Christian, he said. Sometimes this love will be difficult, but then we all, young people included, should look to Jesus on the cross.

Pope Francis said to see Jesus on the cross as a real human being, whose hand could be grasped, not as a fictional character in a story. He wants to be asked for help when one of us faces a tough decision or makes a mistake.

“And when loving seems hard, when it is difficult to say no to something wrong, look up at Jesus on the cross, embrace the cross and don’t ever let go of his hand. He will point you ever higher, and pick you up whenever you fall,” Pope Francis said.

He encouraged the teens to become like Jesus by practicing acts of mercy. He encouraged them to look at acts of mercy as a sort of athletic training, a training that will help them to love better and become more fully Christian.

“Jesus is waiting patiently for you. He awaits your response. He is waiting for you to say ‘yes,'” the Pope said.