Let mercy overcome misery

It is the Year of Mercy, and people are starving for God’s mercy, even if they don’t recognize it. I was pleasantly surprised to see concrete evidence of this hunger at Mercy Chose Me, our archdiocesan conference on mercy.

Close to 500 people packed the parish hall at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Northglenn to learn about the role of mercy in the New Evangelization, our archdiocesan model of mercy Julia Greeley, how to incorporate mercy into one’s spirituality, and to discover opportunities to engage in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Lent, which we began on February 10, is a perfect time to practice the works of mercy and make them a regular part of our daily lives.

The hectic pace of our society makes it difficult to be merciful. It’s easier to pass by the suffering of others, to let our schedules carry us past encounters with others that would be a chance for healing and forgiveness to enter our lives and theirs.

A few months ago, someone approached me and suggested that we should hold a Eucharistic Procession around the Planned Parenthood campus in Stapleton. I told that person I would pray about it, and after I brought it before the Lord, it became clear that we should hold the procession.

The need for God’s mercy at Planned Parenthood or any abortion facility is enormous. The Colorado Department of Health reported that 10,648 children were killed by abortion in 2014 in our state. That means that over 21,000 parents – not to mention other family members – were wounded by the trauma of abortion.

If that many Coloradans lost their lives or were harmed by an infectious disease, I’m sure that the state and federal governments would assemble task forces, coordinate relief for the afflicted and spread awareness through the media. But because the suffering is quietly borne and the unborn are defenseless, the trauma experienced by parents, extended families and siblings goes untreated.

The Church does extraordinary things through our Archdiocesan Catholic Charities to help those who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation or who have made the tragic decision to abort their child. Lives have been changed forever through these works of mercy. No one is beyond God’s mercy.

I am inviting you to join me in carrying out a spiritual work of mercy on March 5 at the Planned Parenthood facility in Stapleton. On that day, beginning at 10:00 a.m., I will lead a Eucharistic Procession seven times around the campus, similar to what Joshua did around Jericho.

Truly experiencing the freedom of the Jubilee Year begins with each of us acknowledging that we are sinners in need of God’s mercy. Once we receive his mercy, then we are able to bring it to others. With that in mind, we will ask God as we process around Planned Parenthood to have mercy on all those who enter the abortion clinic, on those that work there, on all those impacted by the evil of abortion, and on our country. We will pray for their deliverance from the evil they participate in.

A wonderful way to prepare yourself to participate in this prayerful procession is to experience God’s mercy in the sacrament of Confession before attending. Then, ask the Lord to prepare your heart to be his agent of mercy in interceding for those involved in the sin of abortion.

God’s mercy conquered death when he rose from the dead. The mercy of the Father can overcome abortion, and all sin and evil, when we open our hearts to him. Let us pray for the conversion of all involved in abortion and the spread of God’s mercy throughout the world!

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

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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.