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

Rocio Madera

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: ‘I have seen the Lord’: St. Vincent de Paul’s new adoration chapel honors St. Mary Magdelene’s witness

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“I have seen the Lord.” (John 20:18). 

One couple from St. Vincent de Paul parish took these words to heart with urgency last year during the pandemic and decided to build a Eucharistic Adoration chapel for their fellow faithful to be in the Lord’s presence themselves. 

Mike and Shari Sullivan donated design and construction of the new Eucharistic Adoration Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene adjacent to their parish church to make a space for prayer and adoration that they felt needed to be reinstated, especially during the difficult days of COVID-19. 

The chapel was completed this spring and dedicated during Divine Mercy weekend with a special blessing from Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila. 

“It was invigorating to have the archbishop bless the chapel,” Mike said. “The church has been buzzing.” 

Mike has been a Catholic and a member of St. Vincent de Paul since his baptism, which he jokes was around the time the cornerstone was placed in 1951. The Sullivans’ five children all attended the attached school and had their sacraments completed at St. Vincent de Paul too. 

Archbishop Samuel Aquila dedicated the St. Mary Magdalene adoration chapel with a prayer and blessing at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church on April 9, 2021, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

The 26-by 40-foot chapel is a gift to fellow parishioners of a church that has meant so much to their family for decades, and to all who want to participate in prayer and adoration. 

The architect and contractor are both Catholic, which helped in the design of Catholic structure and the construction crew broke ground in mid-December. The Sullivans wanted to reclaim any Catholic artifacts or structural pieces they could for the new chapel. Some of the most striking features of the chapel are the six stained glass windows Mike was able to secure from a demolished church in New York. 

The windows were created by Franz Xaver Zettler who was among a handful of artists known for the Munich style of stained glass from the 19th century.  The Munich style is accomplished by painting detailed pictures on large pieces of glass unlike other stained-glass methods, which use smaller pieces of colored glass to make an image. 

The two primary stained-glass windows depict St. Augustine and St. Mary Magdalene, the chapel’s namesake, and they frame either side of the altar which holds the tabernacle and monstrance — both reused from St.  Vincent De Paul church.  

The Sullivans wanted to design a cloistered feel for the space and included the traditional grill and archway that opens into the pews and kneelers with woodwork from St. Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana. 

The chapel was generously donated by Mike and Shari Sullivan. The stained glass windows, which depict St. Augustine and St. Mary Magdalene, were created by Franz Xaver Zettler, who was among a handful of artists known for the Munich style of stained glass from the 19th century. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Shari is a convert to Catholicism and didn’t grow up with the practice of Eucharistic adoration, but St. Vincent de Paul pastor Father John Hilton told her to watch how adoration will transform the parish. She said she knows it will, because of what regular Eucharistic adoration has done for her personally. 

The Sullivans are excited that the teachers at St. Vincent de Paul school plan to bring their classes to the warm and inviting chapel to learn about the practice of adoration and reflect on the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. 

The words of St. Mary Magdalene “I have seen the Lord,” have become the motto of the chapel, Mike said, and they are emblazoned on a brass plaque to remind those who enter the holy space of Christ’s presence and the personal transformation offered to those inside.

The St. Vincent de Paul  Church and The Eucharistic Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene is located at 2375 E. Arizona Ave. Denver 80210 on the corner of Arizona and Josephine Street. The chapel is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Visit https://saintvincents.org/adorationchapel1 for more information about the chapel and to look for updates on expanded hours as they occur.