Celebrate Life at the 2020 Rally & March: ‘Every life is a gift!’

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Thousands of people will take to the streets of downtown Denver on Jan. 11 to celebrate joy over the gift of life and human dignity at the annual Celebrate Life Rally & March.

With this year’s theme, “Every life is a gift!” the rally will feature various guest speakers who will share their testimonies as well as musical performances to brighten up the celebration. Speakers will include Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, Michael Moubarek from the Catholic Medical Student Association, and Ramona Trevino, the former director of a Planned Parenthood Clinic who will be sharing her testimony on the power of prayer and her transformation from someone who fought for abortion to a warrior who defends life.

“A life is a life. It doesn’t matter if it was an unplanned pregnancy or not,” said Litzy Morán, participant at the Celebrate Life Rally and March 2019.

As usual, the celebration for life will begin with a special Mass in several churches in the area in both English and Spanish. After the Eucharistic celebration, participants will head off to the Colorado State Capital for the scheduled events that will kick off at 1 p.m.

The annual Celebrate Life Rally and March will take place at the Colorado State Capitol Jan. 11, 2020. (Photo by Brandon Young)

At the rally, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy music by the worship team from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary Choir, a mariachi band, and Aztec and Mexican folk dancers. The march will then begin at 2 p.m.

“[Abortion] is the moral evil of our time and we cannot be silent, we cannot be apathetic, we must do what we can to rid our country of this moral evil,” said Lynn Grandon, Program Director of the Respect Life Office at Catholic Charities of Denver. “You must think of what’s going to happen in the future when your children and grandchildren say to you, ‘Mom, Dad, what did you do when abortion was legal? Did you do anything about it?’ You don’t want to feel bad when you have to say to them ‘I did nothing.’ You must do something, and this can be your beginning of doing something about abortion.”

The Celebrate Life Rally and March will take place Saturday, Jan. 11 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the west steps of the Colorado State Capital. Masses beforehand will take place in various parishes of the area, including the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at 11:30 a.m. and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at 11 a.m. (in Spanish). For more information about special masses, you may check with your local parish.

For more information, visit respectlifedenver.org.

End late term abortion in Colorado

Participants at the Celebrate Life March will also have the chance to sign a petition to get Initiative 120 on the 2020 Colorado ballot to end the practice of late-term abortion in our state. Colorado is one of seven states in the nation that allows abortions for any reason up until birth with no restrictions. By getting Initiative 120 on the ballot, Coloradans will have the opportunity to vote on ending abortions for babies from 22 weeks through birth.

Under Initiative 120, a person conducting a late-term abortion could be subject to having a medical license suspended for a least three years and would be subject to a fine, but no jail time. The initiative would not impose a penalty on a woman receiving the abortion. The only exception to performing a late-term abortion is if the mother’s life is in danger.

In order to get this initiative on the Colorado Ballot in November 2020, supporters must reach the goal of 124,632 valid signatures. Colorado was the first state to lift restrictions on abortion in 1967, but this could change if you join the pro-life movement and sign the petition.
“Come out and stand for the value of every life, show your friends, relatives and neighbors that you are not ashamed to stand for it and work towards the abolishing of abortion in America.” Grandon added.

Initiative 120
Visit respectlifedenver.org/initiative120 to get involved.

COMING UP: What parents want most from their child’s school — and how Catholic schools fulfill it

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By Carol Nesbitt

What do parents of school aged kids want most of all from their child’s school?

Safety

Photo by Andrew Wright/Denver Catholic

It’s probably first and foremost to know they’re safe — not only from physical harm, violence, and drugs, but also other negative influences kids have to navigate in today’s complicated and confusing world, including cultural pressures to do what ‘feels good’ instead of what is right, just and moral.

This past year, some news media outlets questioned the safety of students in Denver’s Catholic schools because of sex abuse from decades ago. The reality is that the Church and all of the Archdiocese of Denver’s Catholic Schools have worked diligently to ensure the safety of all students. In fact, many parents say they specifically chose Catholic schools here because they feel their children are safer than the alternatives. But the term “safe” is much broader in today’s society.

“Their physical safety, as well as the safety of their souls, is something that is always on our minds as parents,” said Kelsey Lynch, a parent of two school-aged children. She and her husband, Michael, said that knowing their children were safe in school was one of the main reasons they chose St. Mary’s Catholic School in Greeley.

“St. Mary’s has proven over and over that our children’s safety is on the forefront of their minds,” she said. “They are taking every preventative step possible to keep our children safe from the evils that are so prevalent in our world today. With open communication, facing the hard topics instead of shying away from them, and vetting all people that our kids will come in contact with, we feel a Catholic school is the safest place for our kids to receive an education.”

The safety of their children’s souls is equally as important to mom Kelsie Raddatz and her husband, Justin, who have five children. Their two oldest attend St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in Loveland.

“There is truly no greater lesson to learn than to know that you are so incredibly loved by God and that God is so good. These crucial lessons aren’t allowed to be spoken in public schools,” Kelsie said.

Faith

Photo by Andrew Wright/Denver Catholic

That’s why the Raddatzes make the financial sacrifice to send their kids to St. John’s, with the strong belief that not only will their children be physically safe, but that they will fully understand that their purpose in life is to share Jesus’ love with others through everything they do; whether it be in the classroom or on the playground, speaking to others the way they would speak to Jesus.

“Every single moment is an opportunity to see Jesus present and to serve Him as well,” Kelsie continued. “What a blessed environment for our kids to learn and practice such crucial lessons!”

The Lynches say they can’t do it alone. For their children to become the saints they are called to be, the Lynches know that they need to work in partnership with their school community.

“Our kids’ teachers and classmates get more time with our kids during the week than we do, so it’s important that the people they are surrounded by are also helping them grow into the individuals God created them to be,” Kelsey said. “Our kids are learning what it is really like to have a strong faith family and the importance of a community that stands together in prayer and action to serve each other and the world around them, in both good and trying times.”

Kate McGreevy Crisham and her husband John echo the Lynch’s in their desire to have a strong faith foundation in their children’s education. That’s why they send their kids to St. Vincent de Paul in Denver.

“We are so fortunate in Denver to be able to choose Catholic schools because they are academically excellent AND thoroughly Catholic,” Kate said.

She and her husband wanted their faith to surround their children at home and at school. “We wanted God to be a part — actually the center — of the educational process of drawing out, igniting curiosity, working with challenging concepts and, as important, failing, struggling, and building resilience,” Kate shared. “Catholic schools value that process, encourage it, and love kids through it.”

Character

Photo by Brandon Young

She said she can see Jesus incarnate on a daily basis at St. Vincent de Paul.

“I see Jesus when I see an 8th grade boy stop to high five a group of kindergarteners. When I talk to the teachers of my kids, I see Jesus in their pure interest in what is best for my child — not what I want to hear — yet their words are delivered with professionalism and yes, love.

“From the maintenance staff to the principal, hearts are aligned in the work being done to educate the whole child.”

After exploring various options for preschool for their eldest child, Christy and Scott Kline toured Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, and although there was a free public school across the street, there was no question where they would send their kids. The decision was about so much more than simply educating their child.

“We have a ‘caught caring’ award (at the school) that is multi-faceted,” Christy said “Children are recognized for doing good — not academically — but in ways that benefit society and communities as a whole. Teachers and administration are ‘looking for the good’ in the school and finding it. When you look for something, it stands out.”

She feels that by looking for the best in people, you bring out the best. Kline also believes that strong parental involvement helps keep the school as safe as possible.

“The onus is on all of us to create an open, safe, transparent culture going forward, not just in Catholic organizations, but in all organizations and activities where children are involved,” Christy said.

Academics

Photo by Brandon Young

That same responsibility is on parents to choose schools that will reinforce the values they’re working to teach their children at home. David and Kathy Silverstein have had four children in Catholic schools in Denver over the past 20 years. Although there were many options for schools, including a charter school near their home, once they stepped foot inside St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Longmont, they knew it was the ‘only choice’ for their kids. As their children transitioned into high school, the Silversteins found that Holy Family High School was another perfect fit.

“In today’s world, finding a school that excels at education, sports and extra curriculars is challenging enough, but to find a school, particularly a high school, that prioritizes kindness, morality, personal responsibility, strength of character and just plain old being a good person — that is the uniqueness of Holy Family High School,” said Kathy. “An atmosphere of respect lives within the halls, between teachers, between students. It’s expected.”

For these families and countless others, they have experienced that it is the overall commitment by Catholic schools to keep students safe, to help them truly know they are loved by God, to incorporate faith into every subject area, and to set high expectations for students which reinforces parents’ decision to choose Catholic schools for their kids.

“My greatest desire for my children is for them to know how deeply they are loved by Jesus (and us, too!) and that their whole purpose in this life is to share Jesus’ love with others through every single thing they do,” Kelsie Raddatz said. “The classrooms are such a beautiful example of Jesus’ presence!”