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

Avatar

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: Despite no Masses, you won’t believe what parishes are doing

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

Despite no Masses, you won’t believe what parishes are doing

Livestreamed Masses, drive-through confession and more are sustaining the faithful during quarantine

Aaron Lambert

Nothing like creativity and some humor to make a tough situation a little easier to endure.

“It took generations, but they have succeeded where the rest of us have failed. Children, of all ages throughout the world, have successfully given up school for Lent,” St. John the Baptist Parish in Longmont posted on its Facebook page April 1. Quite a few “Haha” reactions ensued.

The post, of course, refers to the fact that because of the coronavirus pandemic, students are not attending classes in-person and are instead learning from home. This homebound engagement is true for pretty much every other public institution, including Catholic churches. Parishes across the Archdiocese of Denver are having to adapt to a temporary reality where Masses are empty.

Thankfully, that aforementioned creativity, strong communities and a little help from the internet are making it possible for parishes to still serve the faithful in plenty of ways. For many parishes, this means something as simple as livestreaming Masses for the faithful to participate in from home.

While it’s impossible to replace being physically present in the Mass, many seem appreciative and grateful for the opportunity to still engage with the sacred liturgy from afar.

“So grateful to have a Parish Staff that has responded to the current situation and found ways to continue offering sacraments and ministry,” wrote Jodee Hinton on Our Lady of the Valley’s Facebook page. “It was very special and much needed for my family to watch Mass today. My kids loved being able to see what actually happens on the altar.”

“Thank you Father, miss you and sharing Christ with you in person, but we will be with you soon with the help of Jesus Christ. Stay strong and safe,” wrote Judith Ann Aerne on Holy Cross in Thornton’s Facebook page.

Parishioners in their cars line up in the parking lot of Queen of Peace Parish in Aurora to have their confessions heard. Parishes are finding creative ways to offer the sacraments to the faithful while stay-at-home and social distancing orders are in place. (Photo provided by Queen of Peace)

Other parishes are also finding ways to continue providing other sacraments to the faithful. Queen of Peace Parish in Aurora, for example, has launched drive-through confessions on Saturdays to ensure people still have the chance to receive to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and they’re not the only parish to do so. It’s just one of the ways that they’re able to stay connected to their parishioners while their doors are closed.

“Since they can no longer gather here, we’ve tried to go to them,” said Queen of Peace pastor Father Felix Medina. “We’ve stayed busy. We livestream at least three liturgies a day: Morning Prayer and Adoration in the morning, English Mass at noon and Spanish Mass in the evening.

“I think it’s important for people to know that the Church is still open and it’s more present than ever before, that we will not be silenced, that we won’t stop reaching out to people now,” Father Medina said.

And by reaching out, Father Medina doesn’t mean that figuratively. Queen of Peace and other parishes such as Assumption in Welby and St. John the Baptist in Longmont have been calling their parishioners one-by-one to check in on them and see if they can help with anything.

“We’re essentially asking three basic questions: one, how are you doing; two, do you need anything; and three, can we pray with you?” Father Daniel Ciucci of St. John the Baptist said in an interview with Fox 31.

Volunteers at St. John the Baptist make phone calls to check in on parishioners. Outreach from parishes has taken on a whole new meaning during the coronavirus outbreak, and they’re finding ways to rise to the occasion. (Photo provided by St. John the Baptist)

“As priests, we’ve maintained a life of prayer, but we’ve also been calling our parishioners,” Father Medina said. “We each try to call 50 or 100 a day. They’re very happy to hear us checking in on how they’re doing and how their family’s doing and whether they need anything – especially because we know some of them are lonely and are having a hard time.”

Of course, there’s a whole lot more that parishes do besides offer Mass, and they’re finding ways to keep those things going too. Nativity of Our Lord in Broomfield is offering assistance to parishioners who need it, whether it be delivering groceries or seeing a priest; Risen Christ in Denver is continuing its partnership with Food Bank of the Rockies and doing drive-up food distribution; youth ministers across the archdiocese are doing virtual youth group nights via Zoom. And that’s just scratching the surface.

The parishes of the Archdiocese of Denver will continue to find innovative and creative ways to serve the faithful through all of this. However, they need the vital support of their communities to do so. Many parishes have online giving portals set up through their own website, but you can also visit passthebasket.org to give to any parish in the Archdiocese of Denver.

Vladimir Mauricio-Perez contributed to this report.