Celebrating the Truth in Colorado

By Deacon Geoff Bennett

Deacon Geoff Bennett is the Vice President of Parish and Community Relations at Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Denver, including the Respect Life Office.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and anticipate a new year, we need to defend the gifts of life, marriage and religious liberty. Being active in the public square involves educating ourselves and others to the truth. We must always remember that we have truth on our side and that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If we are not defending the truth on life, marriage and religious liberty, then we are not following Jesus.

We have nothing to fear, but sometimes we act out of fear and do very little or nothing. Fear can be debilitating and keep us from being the witnesses we are called to be.

I’d like to suggest three ways to get involved, and then explain what’s at stake in Colorado in the coming months. The first is to join the pro-life community at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, for the annual Celebrate Life Rally and March at the state Capitol in Denver. The second way is to get up-to-speed on the critical issues of defending life, marriage and religious liberty. We’ve created a reading list at respectlifedenver.org/list. The third way is to sign-up for emails and text messages, also at respectlifedenver.org.

Here’s why it matters. We have just recently completed the 2018 election cycle. Colorado will be governed largely by officeholders who believe that the killing of innocent life is acceptable. The new legislative session will start in January. Watch for the bills that come up — and may even get passed — that will attack life, marriage and religious liberty, while redefining gender. Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call. This is not about political parties, because the truth should be bipartisan. We need to ask ourselves how this happened and what are we going to do to make a difference. The Lord is calling us, as he called the faithful to be strong against the hostility of the Roman Empire. Just as the early Christians answered the anger of their times by leading with the love and truth of Christ, we are called to do the same thing today. Followers of Christ shared his love and mercy to a world living in darkness. If we try to shout louder than those who disagree with us, we will lose.

It will be difficult, at times, but if we lead with the light of Christ, he will do the rest when it comes to changing hearts and minds. It is time to ramp up our pro-life and pro-family efforts in the public square. Over the last few months, we have seen some encouraging signs in the culture. The most important is the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court. We now have a majority of justices that understand and defend the gift of life. It wasn’t easy and make no mistake: The efforts to vilify Justice Kavanaugh were supported by the abortion lobby. The forces of evil will stop at nothing to destroy life and family.

We have truth on our side, so we have nothing to fear, but we can’t rest on that alone. We need to be visible in the public square and share the truth. Yes, we can and must fight evil. As Catholics, we do that by loving everyone in the truth, compassion and mercy of Jesus Christ.  Let’s continue to tell — and celebrate — the truth that matters.

COMING UP: Thousands march on Denver to Celebrate Life

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On Saturday, Jan. 13, thousands took to the streets of Denver and stood up for the dignity of all life, from conception until natural death, at the annual Celebrate Life March.

Editor’s note: If you clicked this link from the Denver Catholic newsletter, it was not our intention to discount the coverage by local media of the Celebrate Life March. The Denver Post wrote two stories about it: 

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/01/13/denver-celebrate-life-rally-march-abortion/

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/01/10/denver-march-for-life-abolition/

Prior to the rally, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrated Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, while parishes around the archdiocese celebrated Masses of their own before loading into buses and other modes of transportation to head down to join many other pro-life marchers at the State Capitol.

“All of that beauty that we see that surrounds us is not as beautiful as looking on the face of a newborn child,” Archbishop Aquila said. “I invite all of you to celebrate these gifts more fervently and wholeheartedly. To look around you and not to dwell on the darkness that we find ourselves in, but to dwell on the light — the light of Christ.”

Among the speakers at the rally were Dr. Don Sweeting, president of Colorado Christian University. Chris Stefanick of Real Life Catholic, Rocky Mountain regional coordinator for Students for Life of America Bethany Janzen, and others. This year, the march was led by members of the women’s ministry ENDOW, and also featured Mexican Matachines dancers and a mariachi band.

Denver Catholic was there to capture the occasion.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila (left) and Dr. Don Sweeting, president of Colorado Christian University (right), delivered remarks at the rally before the march. (Photo by Anya Semenoff | A&D Creative)

Over 2,000 people gathered for this year’s Celebrate Life March at the State Capitol. (Photo by Cari Devlin | Denver Catholic)

This year, the march was led by member’s of the women’s ministry ENDOW. (Photo by Cari Devlin | Denver Catholic)

Pro-life advocates of all ages were proud to stand up for the dignity of all life. (Photo by Cari Devlin | Denver Catholic)

A volunteer hands out “I am the pro-life generation” signs to marchers. (Photo byAnya Semenoff | A&D Creative)

A young girl in traditional Mexican garb marches. Matachine dancers livened up and added a welcome stroke of cultural diversity to the march. (Photo by Anya Semenoff | A&D Creative)

Chris Stefanick of Real Life Catholic opened up the rally and ignited the crowd with excitement. (Photo by Anya Semenoff | A&D Creative)

Some marchers brought their own signs to carry in the march, while others used signs that were provided. Either way, the pro-life message remained the same. (Photo by Brandon Young | Denver Catholic)

ENDOW’s message of “For every woman, for every life” was a key theme of this year’s march. (Photo by Anya Semenoff | A&D Creative)