Denver Nuggets to host Catholic Families Night Feb. 24

Aaron Lambert

For the fifth year in a row, the Denver Nuggets are hosting Catholic Families Night at the Pepsi Center on Sunday, Feb. 24, where they will face-off against the Los Angeles Clippers for a regular season game. Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila will once more be the special guest for the evening’s game, and Catholic youth from around the archdiocese will have the chance to be directly involved with the game, including VIP experiences, the flag presentation, and forming a high-five tunnel for the Nuggets before the game.

Catholic Families Night was once more organized this year by Gold Grown Foundation CEO and former Denver Nugget Bill Hanzlik, in conjunction with Jeff Stemper of the Denver chapter of the Saint Sebastian Project, Tom Sauer, Nick Burns and Mark Strawbridge, Director of the Denver Catholic Schools Athletic League.

A portion of the proceeds from Catholic Families Night will benefit the Denver chapter of the Saint Sebastian Project, a nonprofit organization that provides grants to schools for their athletic programs. The Saint Sebastian Project began in Los Angeles in 2008, and Stemper started the Denver chapter in 2011.

The grants Saint Sebastian offers generally go to new sports uniforms or equipment for the schools. However, they also do what Stemper called “scholarshipping,” which helps to address the fees associated with enrolling a child in an athletic program. Stemper said that a lot of families have a hard time affording these fees, and are sometimes even forced to turn their children away from athletic programs, simply because they can’t afford them.

“We’ll grant money to help the schools pay those fees,” Stemper said. “We’re up to about 20 schools that we currently help in the Denver Metro area.”

Annunciation Catholic School in Denver is one example of a school that Saint Sebastian has assisted with paying athletic fees. This past year, they also began to provide assistance to Bishop Machebeuf High School and Frassati Catholic Academy. Other schools they’ve helped in the past include Arrupe Jesuit High School and St. Francis de Sales School.

Catholic Families Night

Denver Nuggets vs. L.A. Clippers
Sunday, Feb. 24, 3 p.m.
Pepsi Center
1000 Chopper Cir. Denver, CO
Tickets start as low as $18
nuggets.ksetickets.com/1819cfn

 

COMING UP: Nuggets make a play for Christ

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After the Denver Nuggets steamrolled the Orlando Magic in their fifth-consecutive win Saturday, several athletes and coaches returned to the shiny court that night to make another winning play—praise Jesus Christ.

Star players on the NBA basketball team appeared for the annual Faith Night gathering at the Pepsi Center in Denver to testify to their faith in God and encourage discipleship.

“If we are serious about God, if we are serious enough to go out and serve the Lord, he will do  marvelous things in our lives,” said assistant coach Patrick Mutombo.

Mutombo led the testimonies before hundreds of fans in the stands. He bowed his head and raised an arm in prayer with forward Quincy Miller and guard Randy Foye, who scored double- digit points earlier during the game.

He said at some point Jesus will ask each person, “Who do you say I am?”

Mutombo faced this question at 19 years old after coming to the United States to play basketball.

“I was broken, I was hurt and at that point the Lord asked me, ‘Who will you serve?'” he told the fans. “And I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ.”

The crowd belted “Amen” to proclamations that Jesus is the answer to life. They also raised their hands with the Nuggets’ J.J. Hickson, Jordan Hamilton, Anthony Randolph and Nate Robinson who gathered to pray.

K-Love FM-91.1 Christian music station and the Colorado Christian University partnered to sponsor the Faith Night intended to reach out and minister to new people, said Kayleigh Bland, promotions manager for the station.

“Our main goal is letting them see the love of Christ,” she said.

The station also sponsored a concert by contemporary Christian musician Chris August, whose popular song “Starry Night” topped Christian billboards.

Before August’s performance, Mutombo closed the testimonies saying the “world needs believers.”

“It is OK to praise God in public. It is OK to say alleluia to Jesus Christ,” Mutombo told the crowd. “We need to show love and compassion, because the spirit of God is within us and the world is starving for love.”