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Editor’s picks: Bests and firsts

Below are some of the milestones, events and all-around good news that the staff of the Denver Catholic Register considered among “Bests and firsts” of the year.

– Seminarians now sweat a little less during finals week while they enjoy air conditioning for the first time at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary following completion of an extensive systems and mechanical remodel.

– Archbishop Aquila was out and about in Colorado, traveling to visit some 34 parishes including communities in the Denver metro area, the mountains and the plains.

– In honor of the April canonization of the Pope John Paul II, the Denver campus named after the former pontiff was renamed the St. John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization.

– Also in honor of the canonization of who some have called the first pope rock star, Rocky Mountain PBS aired “Pope John Paul II,” a 30-minute documentary highlighting the pontiff’s 1993 visit to Denver for World Youth Day.

– Pope Francis announced that his first visit to the United States will be next year when he comes to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.

– Secrecy was sworn and evidence was sealed following months of investigation into an alleged miracle in Denver credited to Blessed Zdenka Schelingová. Testimony and evidence totaling 695 pages was sent the Vatican for the Slovakian nun’s cause for canonization.

– There are now more people to help explain the Bible because the Denver Catholic Biblical School graduated the largest class in its history when 160 people received certificates of completion for the institute’s four-year program. More than 1,000 students are currently participating in the four-year course.

– There are more future priests to celebrate and pray for as St. John Vianney Theological Seminary welcomed its largest first-year class ever of 27 seminarians.

– Archbishop Aquila ordained four men to the priesthood, bringing to total number of priests in the archdiocese to 331; and he ordained 10 men to the diaconate, bringing that total to 200-plus men.

– Catholics in Colorado had a chance to chat on the phone with Archbishop Aquila when he held his first live interactive TeleForum, complete with a Christmas message, as well as time for Q&A and feedback.

– More than 1,500 area Catholics attended the first Catholic Families Night with the Denver Nuggets that raised more than $12,000 for athletic programs in Catholic schools.

– Archbishop Aquila traveled to New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII and celebrated Mass for the Denver Broncos prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks. The archbishop acknowledged in a later tweet that the 43-8 less was “not the outcome we hoped for.”

– Colleges filled up a bit more when 887 seniors graduated from area Catholic high schools, both archdiocesan and private, and were sent off with $78.4 million in scholarships.

– The Denver Catholic Register announced it will return to its original name Denver Catholic.

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