You can help form the future generation of Catholic leaders

Annual appeal helps to fund youth evangelization and educational efforts

The annual Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal (ACA) is the primary source of funding for many offices, parishes, and ministries from the Archdiocese of Denver. It benefits and provides services to not only the Archdiocese of Denver, but our community as a whole.

Thanks to the generous support from donors to the ACA, ministries such as the Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries are able to stay active, especially during these times of crisis, and keep serving our community.

One of the missions of the Office of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries is to bring young people into an encounter with Jesus in real and powerful ways. Hence, the office provides a wide range of events, training, and support through youth ministries and resources for parishes and parents, that wouldn’t be possible without the contributions from the ACA.

“The contributions to the ACA play an important role in all the ministries of the Archdiocese of Denver, as it allows us to continue our mission to evangelize through formation, programs and companionship, and support parishes, ministries and movements from the diocese,” said Alejandra Bravo, Associate Director of Hispanic Evangelization.

Bravo also emphasized that even though, for now, they haven’t been able to meet in person with groups and movements due to the coronavirus pandemic, they continue to work from home to reach out to youths and young adults during these difficult times.

“We continue to provide our services through videoconferences, calls, messages, and virtual projects. But this continuous support is only possible thanks to the ACA. No matter how big a contribution is, it makes a difference,” she added.

Large youth conferences such as Steubenville of the Rockies, which serves over 2,500 high school students, National Catholic Youth Conference with over 20,000 young attendees every year, the Tutus Tuus program, Mountain Madness (with over 1,000 middle school students a year), and many more are carried out thanks to the annual appeal.

“We were also able to develop and publish a first of its kind sacrament preparation curriculum for the Restored Order of the Sacraments of Initiation. This curriculum, which is both free to parishes digitally and available in print for purchase is used by over half of the parishes in the Archdiocese and is also used in several other dioceses across the country,” said Scott Elmer, Executive Director of Evangelization and Family Life Ministries.

Elmer also highlighted how critical the ACA is when it comes to offering annual scholarships to train facilitators of Natural Family Planning.

“We are blessed to have four methods of NFP available to the faithful and facilitators who offer classes in English, Spanish and Vietnamese” Elmer said. “While training is incredibly valuable, it is also very expensive, and the ACA helps tremendously to make the training affordable to the people who wish to serve in this area.”

The Office of Catholic Schools helps form students as disciples of Christ, in such a way that academics are not separate from spirituality.

One of the largest ministries supported by the contributions of the ACA is the Office of Catholic Schools. The Office of Catholic Schools provides vision, direction, and supervision to 37 Archdiocesan Catholic school communities in order to assist them in the achievement of their mission to proclaim Christ and form authentic disciples.

“We are aiming to help all of our schools align all practices towards discipleship, such that academics are not separate from spirituality, not is a student’s formation bound to going to Mass, rather, that what students study point them to the truth of God’s work in history, the human story in responding to God and each other in literature, the truths of the ordered universe in math and science, and beauty in art and music,” said Abriana Chilelli, Director of Curriculum & Instruction for the Office of Catholic Schools.

Due to the coronavirus spread and the statewide orders to close schools and stay home, the Office of Catholic Schools had to adapt to a new reality and put into effect an emergency distance learning plan in a short period of time.

“We trust God invited all of us to this moment in time to draw ever closer to Him, to continue to assist parents in the formation of their children, and to become holy through offering Him our individual and collective best efforts in this adapted work,” Chilelli said.

The Office of Catholic Schools has worked hard behind the scenes to ensure each school is equipped to offer a distance learning experience toward the student’s formation of the mind, body, soul and emotions.

“Our distance learning opportunities aim to form students in truth, such that all children in our schools continue to grow in the intellectual, moral, and spiritual habits needed to be faithful and virtuous disciples of Jesus Christ,” Chilelli concluded. 

Donations to the annual Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal make an impact across the Archdiocese of Denver by supporting these and many more offices and ministries. Your donation makes all the difference in the future of the Church here in northern Colorado and helps to form our next generation of Catholic leaders.

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COMING UP: Colorado Catholic Conference 2021 Legislative Recap

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On June 8, the First Regular Session of the 73rd General Assembly adjourned. Over 600 bills were introduced this session. Policy primarily focused on transportation, agriculture, healthcare, fiscal policy, and the state budget. However, the legislature also considered and passed many bills that could impact the Catholic Church in Colorado.  

Some bills that were passed will uphold Catholic social teaching and protect the poor and vulnerable of our society while others pose potentially harmful consequences to the Catholic Church, its affiliated organizations, and Colorado citizens who wish to practice their well-founded convictions. There were also many bills that were considered by the legislature that did not pass, including two bills that would have upheld the sanctity of life and two that would have expanded education opportunity for K-12 students.  

The Colorado Catholic Conference (CCC), as the united voice of the four Colorado bishops, advocated for Catholic values at the Capitol and ensured that the Church’s voice was heard in the shaping of policy.  

Below is a recap of the CCC’s 19 priority bills from the 2021 legislative session. For a full list of the legislation the Conference worked on, please visit:  

For regular updates and other information, please sign-up for the CCC legislative network here.  

Six bills the CCC supported that were either passed or enacted

Note: Passed means the bill was approved by both chambers of the legislature and is pending the governor’s signature as of June 9, 2021. Enacted means the bill was signed by the governor and became law.  

HB 21-1011 Multilingual Ballot Access for Voters – Passed  
If enacted, counties where either 2,000 adults or 2.5% of the adult population primarily speak a language other than English will be required to provide a ballot in that language. 

HB 21-1075 Replace The Term Illegal Alien – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1075, the term “illegal alien” was replaced with the term “worker without authorization” as it relates to public contracts for services.  

SB 21-027 Emergency Supplies for Colorado Babies and Families – Passed  
If enacted, the state government will allocate much-needed funding for nonprofit organizations to provide diapers and other childcare necessities to families in need, including Catholic Charities.  

SB 21-077 Remove Lawful Presence Verification Credentialing – Enacted    
With the enactment of SB 77, verification of lawful presence will no longer be required for any applicant for a license, certificate, or registration, particularly in the job fields of education and childcare.  

SB 21-146 Improve Prison Release Outcomes – Passed  
If enacted, SB 146 will establish practices that ease the transition back into society for formerly incarcerated persons.  

SB 21-158 Increase Medical Providers for Senior Citizens – Passed  
If enacted, SB 158 will allocate more funding for senior citizen care, which is currently understaffed and underfunded.  

Eight bills the CCC opposed that were passed 

HB 21-1072 Equal Access Services For Out-of-home Placements – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1072, Colorado law now prohibits organizations that receive state funding for placing children with adoptive or foster parents from discriminating on, among other things, the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or marital status. This new law will likely to be impacted by the imminent Fulton v. City of Philadelphia U.S. Supreme Court decision. 

HB 21-1108 Gender Identity Expression Anti-Discrimination – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1108, “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression” are now recognized as protected classes in Colorado nondiscrimination code. This may have serious religious liberty implications for individuals and organizations that wish to practice their well-founded convictions on marriage and human sexuality. 

SB21-006 Human Remains Natural Reduction Soil – Enacted 
With the enactment of SB 006, human remains can now be converted to soil using a container that accelerates the process of biological decomposition, also known as “natural reduction.” 

SB 21-009 Reproductive Health Care Program – Passed 
If enacted, SB 009 will create a taxpayer funded state program to increase access to contraceptives.  

SB 21-016 Protecting Preventive Health Care Coverage – Passed 
If enacted, the definition of “family planning services” and “family planning-related services” will not be clearly defined in law and could potentially include abortion. Furthermore, SB 16 removes the requirement that a provider obtain parental consent before providing family planning services to a minor.  

SB 21-025 Family Planning Services for Eligible Individuals– Passed 
If enacted, SB 025 low-income women to be given state-funded contraception, “preventing, delaying, or planning pregnancy” services, which includes cessation services and sterilization services.  

SB 21-142 Health Care Access in Cases of Rape or Incest– Enacted  
The enactment of SB 142 removes the requirement that, if public funds are being used, a physician must perform an abortion at a hospital, and instead allows for abortions to be performed by any “licensed provider.”   

SB21-193 Protection of Pregnant People in Perinatal Period– Passed 
If enacted, SB 193 will eliminate an important protection in Colorado law for a preborn and viable baby when a woman is on life support.  

Five bills the CCC supported that failed  

HB21-1017 Protect Human Life at Conception – Failed 
HB 1017 would have prohibited terminating the life of an unborn child and made it a violation a class 1 felony.  

HB 21-1080 Nonpublic Education and COVID-19 Relief Act – Failed 
HB 1080 would have established a private school and home-based education income tax credit for families who either enroll their child in private school or educate their child at home, thereby expanding education opportunities for families during and after the pandemic.  

HB 21-1183 Induced Termination of Pregnancy State Registrar – Failed 
HB 1183 would have required health-care providers that perform abortions to report specified information concerning the women who obtain the procedure to the state registrar of vital statistics, thereby increasing transparency in the abortion industry.   

HB 21-1191 Prohibit Discrimination COVID-19 Vaccine Status– Failed  
HB 1191 would have prevented individuals from being coerced to take the COVID-19 vaccine by either the state or by employers.  

HB 21-1210 Modifications to Qualified State Tuition Programs – Failed 
HB 1210 would have allowed families to use some of their private 529 savings account funds for private K-12 school tuition for their children, including at Catholic schools.   

One bill the CCC opposed that failed 

SB 21-031 Limits on Governmental Responses to Protests– Failed 
SB 031 would have made it more difficult for law enforcement to protect innocent lives when protests turn violent.  

Two bills the CCC was in an “Amend” position that passed  

SB 21-073 Civil Action Statute of Limitations Sexual Assault – Enacted  
With the enactment of SB 073, the statute of limitations on bringing a civil claim based on sexual misconduct will be removed as of January 1, 2022. Under this law, victims of sexual abuse can pursue a civil cause of action if the statute of limitations has not expired, the abuse happened in Colorado, and the abuse could be considered a felony or Class 1 misdemeanor if it was a criminal case. 

SB 21-088 Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act– Passed  
If enacted, SB 88 will allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue public and private institutions for abuse that occurred between 1960-2022. Victims would have three years to bring a historical claim, starting from January 1, 2022. Claims brought during this window would be capped at $387,000 for public institutions and at $500,000 for private institutions, with the ability of a judge to double the damages depending on how the private institution handled the situation. Despite unanswered constitutional concerns regarding SB 88, the Colorado Catholic dioceses will also continue to offer opportunities for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to receive support in a non-litigious setting.   

While the legislature has adjourned the 2021 legislative session, there is still the possibility that they will reconvene later this year. To stay up-to-date on Colorado legislative issues and their impact on the Catholic Church in Colorado, be sure to sign up for the CCC legislative network HERE.