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‘It’s been my heart the last 16 years’

After 16 years of sharing the good news through the Denver Catholic Register, editor Roxanne King is retiring Oct. 1.

“It’s truly been a labor of love to get to tell the stories of God’s people today,” said King, 57, from her office on the campus of the St. John Paul II Center Sept. 24. “There is no more meaningful work than evangelization—announcing the love and light and hope of Christ.

“It’s been my heart the last 16 years,” she continued. “Now it’s time to go … to take the countless blessings and graces I’ve received here and to share them with others elsewhere.”

King started as the paper’s lone reporter on Sept. 30, 1998, although readers first saw her byline in the Register three years earlier when working as a freelance writer and finishing her degree at Metropolitan State College. At the time, she had two teenage sons at home, Rory and Levi, now 34 and 33.

“I was a very happy homemaker for 17 years before entering journalism,” she said. “I was the room mother, drove on the field trips and was a parish catechist for many years.”

She also facilitated RCIA classes, guided couples through marriage preparation with her husband Chuck, presented at couple retreats and worked part time as a parish receptionist. It was her love of reading that prompted her to major in English literature, and she selected journalism as minor.

King earned her bachelor’s degree eight years later.

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“I took one class, two classes, three classes, whatever we could afford while the kids were in Catholic school,” she said.

Once King began taking journalism classes “doors flew open” for her, she said, and she gained experience at the Register—including a restaurant review column—as well as the Aurora Sentinel and Jefferson Sentinel. After graduation, she landed a reporter position at the Aurora Sentinel covering the education and business beat: a job she enjoyed, but not the perfect job.

“The perfect job,” she thought, would be at the Register. Ten months later, then Register editor Peter Droege, now the executive director of the drug recovery program Step13 in Denver, offered her a reporter position. She eagerly accepted.

“I loved my job, I thought it was the best journalism job in town,” she said. “I got to interview incredible, holy priests, nuns and lay people, and cover amazing ministries and faith-related events.

“Journalism is about the truth,” she continued. “I wanted to write about the truth of Jesus Christ.”

Droege said she exuded a deep faith and modeled a healthy family life as editor.

“One of the things I most admire about her is her ability to balance the many responsibilities of being editor of the Register while maintaining a happy healthy family,” he said.

When Droege left the Register in February 2001, King, who had just served a short stint as assistant editor at the Aurora Sentinel, was selected to be editor.

“That was a miracle,” she said. “I never dreamed that. That’s what is so wonderful about God. I had these tiny dreams, and God’s were so much bigger.”

King said she won’t forget covering the Columbine tragedy, putting a local face on 9/11 events, handling local coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II and the installation of Pope Francis; as well as traveling to Cologne, Germany, for World Youth Day 2005, and International Eucharistic Congress gatherings in Quebec City in 2007 and Dublin in 2012. A highlight was covering a pilgrimage from Denver to Rome this year to the canonization of Sts. John Paul II and John XXIII.

A stand-out Register for her is a 64-page issue—the largest DCR published in her years with the newspaper—from July 25, 2012, on the installation of Archbishop Samuel Aquila. The special edition won a Catholic Press Association award.

“I was so proud of our team and that issue,” she said.

Archbishop Aquila, shepherd of the Denver Archdiocese since 2012, expressed his gratitude for King’s service.

“Roxanne has offered 16 years of generous service to the Archdiocese of Denver as editor of the DCR, and her work has been a valuable asset to the people and faithful of northern Colorado,” he said. “Her loyalty, love for Christ and the Church, and commitment to covering the many stories of the people of this archdiocese will be missed.”

Her tenure at the paper was a tremendous success, Droege said.

“I think she did an incredible job providing coverage of an archdiocese that’s large in terms of geographic region but also complex in terms of the many different parishes, organizations and cultures represented in the diocese,” he said. “She really did a remarkable job. She was fair, she was balanced. She provided coverage that ranged from international news to something very local but no less important to people involved.”

Each issue was a challenge and she will miss the exhilaration, she said.

“Every week we get to see what we produced,” King said. “It’s fun, challenging, creative, meaningful work.

“What I’ll miss most about leaving the DCR—the shared camaraderie and work of putting together the newspaper—discussing story ideas, engaging with sources and gathering the information, writing the stories, taking or picking the photos, editing copy, and planning and putting it all together, both in print and online.”

Despite leaving behind work that’s been her heart, King said she’s received “a deeper appreciation for the truth and beauty of Church teaching.”

She plans to continue writing and editing, start a blog about her West Highlands neighborhood, and spending more time with family including her five grandchildren.

“We pray the Lord will bless her abundantly in her future endeavors,” Archbishop Aquila said.


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