Father vows to save children after losing his own

Pro-life activist and filmmaker in Denver this month

2015 March for Life Denver When: Jan. 17 Mass: 11:30 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, 1530 Logan St., Denver Celebrant: Archbishop Samuel Aquila Rally: 1 p.m., west steps of Capitol, 200 E. Colfax Ave., Denver Speakers: Archbishop Aquila, Chris Stefanick, Lynn Grandon, Pastor Biff Gore March: following rally, around Civic Center Park Free registration: http://tinyurl.com/Jan17Life

2015 March for Life Denver will be Jan. 17, begining with 11:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception celebrated by Archbishop Samuel Aquila; followed by a rally at 1 p.m. on the west steps of Capitol with speakers: Archbishop Aquila, Chris Stefanick, Lynn Grandon and Pastor Biff Gore. The rally will be follwed by a march around Civic Center Park.  More information here.

Jason Jones had just celebrated his 17th birthday in 1988 when his girlfriend told him she was pregnant.

When she told me, we didn’t discuss abortion, it wasn’t even an option,” Jones, 43, told the Denver Catholic from his home in Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii.It just wasn’t something that would’ve been on the table.”

The couple conspired for Jones to drop out of his suburban Chicago high school and join the Army, and she would hide the pregnancy until he returned from basic training. However, things didn’t go as planned.

“I get a call from my girlfriend toward the end of basic training and she was just crying,” shared Jones, who described himself as “vaguely atheist” at the time. “Her father had taken her to a friend where she was forced to have an abortion.”

He begged his company commander to call the police.

“My company commander said, ‘Why would I call the police, Private? Don’t you know abortion is legal?’”

He didn’t.

“I didn’t land on the abortion issue, the abortion issue landed on me,” Jones explained. “It was so startling to me that my girlfriend could be violated against her will, that my child could be destroyed like that against our will—and at all.

“And what really took the wind out of me is that in a country I love, this was all completely legal.”

He began a grassroots effort, knocking on doors to inform people that abortion was legal. He believed if more people knew, they would join his crusade to end it.

“My eyes began to open,” he said of the exchanges he had and as he became more educated on the issue. “I wanted to reach more and more people.”

To do so, Jones began speaking to groups, leading press conferences, making appearances on radio and TV programs, worked for both Human Life International and Hawaii Right to Life, and started making pro-life films. He was a producer of the 2006 film “Bella,” which won several industry awards, most notably the People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival; and was associate producer of the 2008 film “The Stoning of Soraya M.,” winner of the NAACP Image Award in 2010 and the Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award in 2009.

His 2011 short film “Crescendo” has raised $6 million for pregnancy centers. Jones will be in Denver Jan. 31 to deliver the keynote address at the annual Beacon of Hope Gala that benefits Lighthouse Women’s Center in Denver and Women’s Services of Catholic Charities. Lighthouse is a licensed medical facility across the street from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, the second largest abortion provider in the country.

“Pregnancy centers and shelters are so important because they’re on the front lines of the culture wars, where people are at their most vulnerable,” he said. “They should be the first organizations in our community that we support.”

If his high school girlfriend would have had access to a crisis pregnancy center, he said, his daughter—aborted at about six months gestation and whom he has since named “Jessica”—might be alive today. And although she didn’t have a chance to be born, he attributes his coming to Christ to her. After a long and serious spiritual journey, Jones converted to Catholicism in 2003.

“There’s no other way I would’ve become Catholic,” he said.

For more about the gala or to purchase tickets, visit www.ccdenver.org/gala.

>> New book: Jason Jones recently released his first book “The Race to Save Our Century: Five Core Principles to Promote Peace, Freedom, and a Culture of Life.”  In the book, which he began writing 18 years ago, he lays out five “whole life” principles that he describes as a “universally appealing consensus of moral truths on which we can build a more human future.”

>> Did you know?
– Abortions in the U.S. have declined significantly from more than 1.5 million in the late 1980s to some 730,322 in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
– 73 abortion facilities were shut down for all or part of 2014, reports Operation Rescue.
– Of 60 surgical abortion clinic closures, 47 were permanent. 739 abortion clinics remain in the U.S.: 551 surgical facilities and 188 medication-only facilities.
– In 2014, state legislatures introduced 335 provisions aimed at restricting access to abortion. 15 states enacted 26 new abortion restrictions.

Source: LifeNews.com

COMING UP: Team Samaritan cyclist goes ‘Everesting’ for the homeless and hungry

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

When it comes to the daily sufferings of those who are homeless, there’s nothing like a 29,029-foot bike ride to keep things in perspective.

That’s exactly what Corbin Clement will be doing this Saturday, June 19, with a couple of his riding buddies as they attempt an “Everesting” ride to raise money for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver. Starting at Witter Gulch Road in Evergreen, the three riders will climb Squaw Pass Road to a point in Clear Creek County and ride back down the hill for over eight laps, which amounts to roughly 190 miles in distance and the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing – hence the name “Everesting.” Their goal is to complete the feat in 20 hours or less.

Oh, and they can’t sleep. It is, indeed, just as crazy as it sounds. Those who aren’t avid cyclists might be wondering, “How in the world do you train for something like this?” 
“For training, it’s been just more or less ride as much as possible,” Clement told the Denver Catholic. “The training is structured around endurance, and that’s of course what Everesting is. It’s just a lot of peddling. So, a lot of my training so far has just been trying to ride as much as possible and ride longer high elevation rides.” 

In March, an Irish cyclist set the world record for Everesting when he completed the feat in six hours and 40 minutes. Clement isn’t trying to set a record, but regardless, it’s quite a feat to undertake, even for a seasoned athlete like him, whose pedigree includes snowboarding and rock climbing. 

“Our ride will be the same thing, but it’ll be pretty different,” Clement said. “We don’t have any sort of special bikes or super focused diet or a really regimented plan or a crew that’s very well-instructed on how we’re going to tackle this. I’ve read a couple of things to just kind of make it into a party — have friends come out to support you, get people to join you on certain laps…that’s kind of the approach we’re taking.” 

Clement has already raised $5,200 for Samaritan House, with a current goal of $8,000. This is Clement’s first year riding for Team Samaritan, but his dad, Kevin, has ridden for the team for several years. When his dad offered to give him an extra kit and uniform, Clement accepted, but didn’t want to take it without doing something help the cause. He could’ve simply opted for a nice ride in the countryside, but he chose to do something a bit more challenging.  

Corbin Clement used to experience the challenges that homeless people face on a daily basis when commuting through downtown Denver to work on his bike. This Saturday, he will raise money for Samaritan House homeless shelter by “Everesting,” a 190-mile bike ride that is the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing. (Photo provided)

“For some reason, the Everesting idea popped into my head,” he explained. “I think it’s one of those things that has a little bit of shock value for people who hear about it. It’s certainly something that’s gained more popularity and visibility in the last couple of years with endurance athletes. I wanted to choose something that would actually be a challenge for myself and something that I’d have to work towards.” 

Clement currently resides in Utah, but he used to live in Denver and commute by bike to work every day. During those rides to his office, which was located near Samaritan House, he would pass many homeless people and have conversations with them. This experience was also a motivating factor for his Everesting attempt for Team Samaritan. 

“It’s very different when you’re on a bike versus in a car because you’re right there,” Clement said. “If you stop at a stoplight and a homeless person is on the corner, whether or not they’re panhandling or something like that, you hear the conversations, or you’ll have a conversation with them. There are things you smell or you hear or you see that you just never would if you were in a car. So, it kind of made sense, too, with the biking aspect. It’s part of my community that I’ve lived and worked in for a very long time.” 

Clement’s Everesting attempt is one event in a series of endurance event’s he’s doing over the summer that culminates with the Leadville 100, a single-day mountain bike race across the Colorado Rockies. In that race, he will be riding to support young adults diagnosed with cancer by raising funds for First Descents.  

Both causes are near to Clement’s heart, and he said that while his Everesting attempt will be a form of “suffering,” it pales in comparison to what the homeless face day in and day out. This is ultimately why he’s riding and raising funds for Team Samaritan. 

“Any time we see a homeless person or people who have to live on the streets,” Clement said, “That is true suffering — true endurance — with no end in sight.” 

To learn more about Corbin’s fundraising efforts or to donate, click here.