In a recent column in “The Catholic Thing,” Robert Royal observed that “the public space afforded to religion has shrunk” and offered a clear call to action: “Let’s take it outside.”
He asked, “What if 20, or 30, or 50 cities in America each had some sort of religious procession or pilgrimage yearly? And could draw thousands — or more?” Royal acknowledged the March for Life and similar events, but proposed developing “public events that have a solely religious or spiritual character.”
That public witness, Royal noted, is common in Europe.
Processions and pilgrimages are also part of the Catholic culture of Latin America.
In the Archdiocese of Denver, we’ve had for years a number of public initiatives that take our Catholic faith to the streets. Let’s continue to join together in joy!
Celebrate Life. The annual Celebrate Life rally and march at the state Capitol in downtown Denver has drawn many thousands of people over the years, featuring music, dynamic speakers, student testimonies and a peaceful walk around Civic Center Park. It’s been held in January to mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, 1973, that legalized abortion nationally. With the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Dobbs case, overturning Roe v. Wade, we are planning to mark the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade this coming January around the Archdiocese, as well as hosting a Celebrate Life event later in 2023. Stay tuned at respectlifedenver.org.
Forty Days for Life. The 40-day fall campaign to pray, fast and keep vigil for an end to abortion begins on Wednesday, Sept. 28. Please know that we have opened up our prayer efforts outside of Planned Parenthood in northeast Denver to “every day that their doors are open” throughout the year. Individuals in pairs, parishes and organizations are encouraged to commit to specific prayer vigil times. Go to 40daysforlife.com/denver for more on 40 Days for Life 365 and the upcoming fall campaign.
National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children. This annual event takes place this year on Saturday, Sept. 10, with memorials held nationwide. In Colorado, events are typically held at the Memorial Wall for the Unborn at Sacred Heart of Mary Cemetery in Boulder and at the Respect Life Memorial at St. Louis Catholic Parish in Englewood. Go to nationaldayofremembrance.org for details.
Eucharistic Procession. We boldly hold Eucharistic Processions that include fervent prayer, singing and Benediction in the Stations of the Cross Garden of Marisol Health in northeast Denver, after circling the block across the street of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. The next procession will be on Saturday, Oct. 1. Details at respectlifedenver.org.
Prayer in the Square. On Saturday, Sept. 3, and every First Saturday, Prayer in the Square takes place at more than two dozen locations in Northern Colorado. “We pray a Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet for God’s love, mercy and peace — through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Guadalupe — for our country, for an end to the persecution of Christians worldwide and for the sanctity of all human life.” These prayers for the innocents “also include any person at risk of being denied their true dignity and loving care due to aging or health issues.”
Prayer in the Square is now in its seventh year, initiated when a group of concerned parishioners approached Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila to discuss Our Lady’s message at Fatima regarding the First Saturdays of each month. Their idea was to bring fervent prayer to the public square as a witness to our belief in the relevance and power of a united prayer effort that is visible in public — outside the church doors. It has become a lay movement here in the Archdiocese of Denver with more than 20 parishes involved and the Archbishop’s blessing.
Go to prayerinthesquare.com for more details and to join a community of public prayer near you, ranging from the metro Denver area to the Eastern Plains. If you would like to begin this effort at your own parish, please contact Respect Life Denver, which oversees this effort, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:20.
Lynn Grandon is director of Respect Life Denver, a program of Catholic Charities of Denver. Learn more at respectlifedenver.org.