For the first time, the Catholic community of northern Colorado is collaborating with Colorado Right to Life, to organize the annual March for Life, to be held in downtown Denver next month.
The Archdiocese of Denver and Respect Life Resources of Catholic Charities, along with standing organizer Colorado RTL, will host the 2015 March for Life Denver Jan. 17 beginning mid-day with an 11:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception celebrated by Archbishop Samuel Aquila. Mass will be followed by a rally at the Capitol beginning at 1 p.m. and a march around Civic Center Park with prayer, music, speakers, and life-affirming messages and signage.
“It’s the first time we’re having a definitive joint venture,” explained Lynn Grandon, director of Respect Life Resources and Lighthouse Women’s Center. “The Christian community is realizing we’ve got to come together on the things we agree on.”
And specifically, that pro-life Christians agree on the dignity of each and every human life.
“We’re taking a public stand to affirm the value, worth and dignity of human life at every age and every stage,” she said.
The events aim to mirror the national March for Life held on or around Jan. 22 each year, the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion in 1973. Since that ruling almost 42 years ago, it is estimated more than 57 million babies have died nationwide through abortion. The D.C. march draws hundreds of thousands, standing up for the unborn. Thousands also head west for the Walk for Life West Coast that’s been held annually in San Francisco since 2005.
Organizers hope the Denver event will draw crowds from not only Colorado, but also from Wyoming, New Mexico, Kansas, Arizona and other states.
“We want to begin a replication of what they’re doing on the coasts because so many people struggle to travel that far,” Grandon said.
Denver is home to the second largest abortion facility in the country at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Legally there is no gestational limit to abortion in Colorado—although the vast majority of states, 41, prohibit abortions except when necessary to protect the woman’s life or health after a certain point in pregnancy, most often fetal viability. Colorado is home to one of only four late-term abortion providers in the country.
The state is also being targeted by physician-assisted suicide advocates, with two Colorado lawmakers announcing plans last month to bring the debate to the Capitol next year. The legislators are working with Compassion and Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society) that has launched a national campaign pushing for legalized assisted suicide.
“We feel we have to show Denver that there are thousands concerned about the value of human life, from conception to natural death,” Grandon said. “That we stand for beauty, truth and life.”
Following the Mass at the Cathedral Basilica, participants will walk to the nearby Capitol for a rally where speakers will deliver messages from the west steps. Speakers will include Archbishop Aquila, Grandon; Chris Stefanick, renowned author and speaker to young adults; and Biff Gore, president of Colorado Right to Life, a pastor at Highline Community Church and a competitor earlier this year on NBC’s “The Voice.” Praise and worship music will be led by Danielle Duffy and Sara Guttormson.
“We’re really hoping for massive amounts of young people, just like the D.C. march,” Grandon said. “People are already calling and asking where they can park buses. It’s exciting.”
Denver seminarians as well as several religious orders have already committed to attend so she expects a “wonderful presence of religious” men and women.
“Pray for great weather!” Grandon added.
Following the rally at the Capitol, participants will march together around the perimeter of nearby Civic Center Park. For free registration, visit http://tinyurl.com/Jan17Life. Advance registration is encouraged to receive updates. Contact Grandon with any questions at 303-742-0828 or LGrandon@ccdenver.org.
Buses and carpools: Sign up for transportation through Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Northglenn by emailing IHM.BUS@gmail.com; or contact your parish office, youth group or Respect Life committee to see if transportation is being coordinated.