All of us are aware of the devastating floods that have occurred in Colorado. The loss of life, homes and property have impacted many of our parishes and many of our fellow citizens. Catholic Charities in Denver is reaching out to those in need. I urge all of us to pray for those who have been affected by the flood.
At the end of August, 160 people from throughout the archdiocese experienced the power of prayer first-hand during the archdiocesan pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe near Mexico City. As the Year of Faith pilgrimage, the faith of those who went grew. Many spoke of the graces they received from the pilgrimage, the Masses and the time in prayer.
I urge everyone in the archdiocese to turn to Our Lady as we cope with the aftermath of the floods; pray to her for protection and peace, because as she told St. Juan Diego, she is our mother.
There is another event that will soon be taking place in the archdiocese that Our Lady of Guadalupe is connected to as patroness of the unborn, and we should entrust it to her intercession. On Sept. 25, people committed to ending the scourge of abortion will begin holding vigil outside the Planned Parenthood facility at 38th Avenue and Pontiac Street in Denver as part of the 40 Days For Life fall campaign.
As this vigil launches, I believe we can learn about the power of prayer from an encounter that Jesus had just after he was transfigured before Peter, James and John.
“Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit … and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” When the father brought his son to Jesus, the Lord rebuked the evil spirit and it left him. Later, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9: 17-18, 29).
As Jesus taught us, when he encountered the deaf and dumb spirit, prayer and fasting are powerful tools against evil and we must recognize that the fight for life takes place at the spiritual level as well as the physical. For this reason, the vigil will last 40 days and will involve prayer, fasting, peaceful protest and community outreach.
When a pregnant mother walks into an abortion facility, there are two souls entering those doors, there are two people who will be eternally impacted by the decisions that are made. If her boyfriend, husband, parents or friends are with her, then there are more souls in the balance—and that is not even including the clinic workers.
But there is something else Jesus said that I think is valuable for us as we work to protect the innocent unborn children who are in danger of being aborted.
The father approached Jesus and said, “‘If you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can! All things are possible to him who believes’” (Mark 2:22-23).
“All things are possible to him who believes.” This should be our attitude as we work to show God’s mercy to those mothers who are contemplating abortion, as we strive to carry the peace of Jesus to a society where the culture of death and a culture of self-centered isolation are spreading.
And if we find ourselves despairing or not believing in God’s power as we talk to a mother thinking about an abortion or as we stand vigil for hours on end, we can cry out with the father of the boy, “I believe; help my unbelief!” This is a poignant prayer for every Christian in this Year of Faith and beyond.
I plan to participate in this important event myself, as I did when I was bishop of Fargo, and I encourage all Catholics in the archdiocese to get involved in the work of building a culture of life.
Within the archdiocese, 40 Days For Life events are taking place in Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins, Greeley and Vail. There are also campaigns being held in the Colorado Springs and Pueblo dioceses. You can find out more info by visiting the website www.40DaysForLife.com and selecting the appropriate location.