Special Religious Education Mass to honor Mary, celebrate life

Nissa LaPoint

All faithful are invited to the annual Archbishop’s Mass for Special Religious Education this April when families will gather to celebrate Mary, mother of the Church.

Every year the Archdiocese of Denver holds the packed Mass for hundreds of families and those with special needs to nurture their faith and honor life.

A previous year's Special Religious Education Mass for those with special needs.

A previous year’s Special Religious Education Mass for those with special needs. Denver Catholic File Photo

Father Roland Freeman, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Special Religious Education and Pastoral Care, will celebrate the Mass 2:30 p.m. April 19 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception downtown.

The Mass is part of the office’s ministry to recognize the dignity and develop the faith in persons with special needs.

“Realizing all persons are called to be full members of the body of Christ, the ministry facilitates the development of the Catholic faith and its sacramental life through education, nurture and presence,” Sister of Loretto Mary Catherine Widger, co-founder of the program and associate director since inception, told the Denver Catholic.

Ministry participants will honor Mary, whose image will be depicted by an 8-foot figure placed near the altar, and present their own art projects during the Mass. Each of the eight parish-based special religious education programs and other area special needs groups will present an art project in a procession.

After Mass, participants may gather for a reception in the lower level of the Cathedral Basilica.

For more information, contact the office at 303-934-1999.

COMING UP: Colorado Catholic bishops remember Columbine on 20th anniversary

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Colorado’s bishops have issued a joint statement recognizing the 20th anniversary of the April 20, 1999 shooting at Columbine High School that claimed the lives of 12 students and one teacher. The full statement can be read below.

This week we remember the horrific tragedy that occurred at Columbine High School 20 years ago. In life there are days that will never be forgotten; seared in our minds and
on our hearts forever – for many of us in Colorado that day was April 20, 1999.

As we mark this solemn anniversary with prayer, remembrance and service let us not forget that there is still much work to be done. Violence in our homes, schools and cities is destroying the lives, dignity and hope of our brothers and sisters every day. Together, as people of good
will, we must confront this culture of violence with love, working to rebuild and support family life. We must commit ourselves to working together to encourage a culture of life and peace.

Nothing we do or say will bring back the lives and innocence that were lost 20 years ago. Let us take this moment to remember the gift of the lives of those we lost, and let us, as men and women of faith, take back our communities from the fear and evil that come from violence like we witnessed at Columbine. Our faith in Jesus Christ provides us with the hope and values that
can bring peace, respect and dignity to our homes, hearts and communities.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Columbine community and all those affected by violence
in our communities.