Calling Pro-life Colorado: stand up and ‘be counted’

Chris Stefanick, Abby Johnson to headline Jan. 14 March for Life

Every pro-life Coloradan is invited to gather the second week of January at the State Capitol to “be counted” and “show with overwhelming numbers” that this state is pro-life, says event headliner Chris Stefanick, founder of Real Life Catholic.

The annual March for Life is set for Jan. 14, 2017, on the steps of the state capitol. Various Masses will be held around downtown Denver before the March.

The March for Life marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion across the United States, and it roughly coincides with the national March for Life that is held each year on Jan. 22 in Washington, D.C.

In an interview with Denver Catholic, Stefanik encouraged all pro-life Coloradans to come out in big numbers for the January life event: “All politics, like all religion, happens locally. This is where we experience our life … that is why we can’t afford not to be counted in our home city.”

Former Planned Parenthood employee-turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson is also slated for the Jan. 14 march in Denver.

The author of Unplanned, the best-selling book that chronicles Johnson’s exit from the abortion industry, told Denver Catholic that events such as the March for Life are critical for the cause of life: “It’s always important for like-minded individuals to come together to support one another. It is easy for pro-lifers to feel alone in this movement, particularly in states that are typically pro-abortion.”

She said her talk will encourage all pro-lifers to “participate in all forms of prolife activism, [such as] helping to support pregnancy resource centers, working on prolife legislation and peaceful activism outside local abortion facilities.”

“It is our job,” she added, “not to simply make abortion illegal, but to make it unthinkable.”

Archbishop Samuel Aquila will preside at the Respect Life Mass at 11:30 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, and lead the rally on the steps of the state capitol at 1 p.m.

At 11:00 a.m., Masses will be said at Annunciation Parish (Spanish), Holy Ghost Parish, Holy Rosary Parish (Spanish), Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish (Spanish), St. Dominic Parish (Spanish), and St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish.

A youth rally will be held at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish at 10:30 a.m.

The Celebrate Life Rally begins at 1 p.m. at the Colorado State Capitol, and the March for Life begins at 2 p.m.

Since abortion was legalized in 1973, an estimated 59 million babies have died in this country because of abortion. In the United States, 1.45 abortions are performed per minute, 87 each hour and 2.092 abortions per day, according to numberofabortions.com.

Alexa Forster, program director of Respect for life from Catholic Charities and event organizer, told Denver Catholic that it’s “imperative that we publically show our love and support for all human life. As Catholics, we belong to the Universal Church and we must gather in unity and peace to show Denver that we stand against the prevailing evil of abortion.”

Carmen Elena Villa contributed to this report.

Masses, Rally and March for Life Schedule

Youth Rally 10:30 a.m.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish

Spanish Masses for Life 11 a.m.
Annunciation, Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Dominic

English Masses for Life 11 a.m.
Holy Ghost, St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Archbishop’s Mass for Life 11:30 a.m.
Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Celebrate Life Rally 1 p.m.
Steps of the Colorado State Capitol

March for Life 2 p.m.
Around the Colorado State Capitol

COMING UP: The pro-life generation: Upcoming March for Life to be a celebration of pro-life unity

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This year’s March for Life promises to be a celebration like no other.

Morgan Rosand, Program Director for the Respect Life Office at Catholic Charities, said that her office is working hard to make the march and event of hope and joy.

“Really, it’s just going to be a dramatic show of joyful unity,” Rosand said.

Rosand said that according to police estimates, last year’s March had 5,000 people. She said that’s the biggest turnout Denver has ever seen. However, this year, they hope to have even more.

One way they hope to increase numbers is by increasing the Catholic presence. Last year’s march included a Mass at the Cathedral Basilica at the Immaculate Conception. This year, however, will have three separate Masses at St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Holy Ghost and the Cathedral, all located in downtown Denver. After Mass, the participants will walk to the Capitol. Volunteers will be stationed throughout downtown to hand out positive pro-life signs to the marchers.

Rosand said she is eagerly anticipating the site of so many people converging on the capitol for the pro-life cause. She said she thinks it will provide a powerful visual of the pro-life cause in the Rocky Mountains.

“We want to send a message that is positive, life-affirming and shows concretely that there’s a stronghold in the Rocky Mountain region that values life. We’re here. We’re here to stay,” Rosand said.

Rosand said that the March can help the marchers, as well.

“The deepest longing of our hearts is unity. Something that’s really special about the Mass and the events is it’s an opportunity to know in a big way that we are not alone. In our respective vocations and missions, we are all fighting the good fight for life,” Rosand said.

For those who are homebound or unable to march, Rosand still urged participation.

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Rosand said that police estimates put last year’s March for Life at around 5,000 people. She hopes to beat that record this year.

“Prayer is not limited by time or space, so join us. Visit an Adoration chapel, say a rosary or a divine mercy chaplet; let’s just all come together,” Rosand said.

This year’s event will not focus exclusively on pre-born children, but on all stages of life. According to the March for Life website, http://liferockymountains.org/ , the March will celebrate life “in all of its ages and stages.”

“The overall message is celebrating life in all its ages and in all its stages. From the child in the womb to the pregnant mother to the homeless to the dying in hopice to the trafficked–all have dignity,” Rosand said.

Rosand is also hopeful that there will be a strong youth and young adult contingent at the March. There will be a youth rally for middle and high school students at Bishop Machbeuf High School on Jan. 15 from 6-9 p.m. In addition to students from local colleges and universities attending, Wyoming Catholic College is sending 125-150 college students to help with the rally and March.

Rosand said she hopes the presence of young people will send a message about the longevity of the Pro-Life cause.

“It goes back to hope. There is new life coming. We are the pro-life generation. New leaders are coming to take up the torch,” Rosand said.

As for the overall tone of the March, Rosand said that it will be “positive, life-giving and joyful.” She said she also hopes it serves as a kick-off for participants to spread hope and joy in pro-life ministries throughout the year.

“While it’s important to come together as a community, it doesn’t end Jan. 16 when we do the final loop around the Capitol,” Rosand said.

For more information, including a full schedule of events and a detailed parking map, go to liferockymountains.org.