The following story was published by the Denver Catholic on Dec. 6, 2017.
Annual rally to showcase pro-life solidarity among cultures, Christians
By Roxanne King/Denver Catholic
You’re invited to march in support of the most vital civil rights movement happening today and all you need to bring is your joy.
That’s the message of the 2018 Celebrate Life rally and march organized by the Respect Life Office of the Denver Archdiocese.
Themed “Bring your joy,” the Jan. 13 annual event at the state Capitol is a show of unity and solidarity for the right to life.
“This is the Colorado piece of the largest civil rights movement in our lifetime,” said Lynn Grandon, archdiocesan Respect Life program director, speaking about the annual event better known as the Colorado March for Life.
Everyone, from parents bringing infants, to schoolchildren, young adults and senior citizens exercising free speech, are invited to show up and bear witness to the sanctity and value of human life at every age and every stage.
Inspiring speakers will rouse the crowd, which has numbered 3,000 in past years, on the west steps of the Colorado Capitol at 1 p.m. prior to embarking on a march through the Capitol Hill neighborhood accompanied by various musical groups.
Speakers include Archbishop Samuel Aquila, ordained Presbyterian minister and Colorado Christian University president Don Sweeting, Denver Sisters for Life, Students for Life of America regional coordinator Bethany Janzen, and All Saints Church pastor Msgr. Peter Quang Nguyen.
Music at the rally will be provided by popular artist Matt Miller and by the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary Choir. Acclaimed author/speaker Chris Stefanick, founder of Real Life Catholic, will serve as emcee.
“We’re striving to dissipate the attitude of so many people who think pro-lifers are negative and unpleasant and show that the pro-life movement is the opposite of what’s purported,” Grandon said. “There is a wonderful, growing contingent of people who are positive, joy-filled and energetic about valuing every single human life.”
The celebration aims to build unity among Spanish- and English-speaking pro-lifers within the Church and with Protestants, Grandon said.
The event is preceded by 11:30 a.m. Mass celebrated by Archbishop Samuel Aquila at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception across from the Capitol, or faithful may attend an 11 a.m. Mass at six other Catholic churches nearby, four of which will be said in Spanish. Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodriguez will celebrate Mass in Spanish at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
A mariachi band and matachines, whose ritual dance often depicts the victory of Christianity over paganism, will accompany the marchers.
“There’s a wonderful cultural diversity and we have this beautiful ecumenical partnering with Colorado Christian University,” Grandon said. “This is an issue we all agree upon.”
ENDOW, a Denver-based apostolate that teaches the new feminism of St. John Paul II, will lead the march.
“Often the general public is unaware of the amazing side of the Catholic Church of the vibrancy, dedication, faithfulness and exuberance of our holy women,” Grandon said, sharing excitement over the Sisters of Life speaking and Endow leading the march. “They are a powerful face to our community of joyful women.”
Marcela Garcia Lopez, Hispanic operations coordinator for ENDOW, said the march complements the apostolate’s mission.
“Our name, ENDOW, stands for educating on the nature and dignity of women, and in order to understand the dignity of women you have to understand the dignity of the human person, which is what this march is about,” she said.
The Catholic school with the largest contingent of students will win a pizza party, Grandon said. Surrounding dioceses have been invited, as have all the mega-Protestant churches.
Seeing the diversity of the pro-lifers and their contagious joy should make a powerful impact on the wider community, Grandon said.
“Don’t sit back in your home with apathy,” she urged, noting that a list of fun things to do in Denver has been provided for families at RespectLifeDenver.org. “Come to the march and stay for the fun!
“Seeing all the different groups, people will wonder, Who are they? What is that all about?” she added. “It’s powerful to unashamedly stand together and say every single life God has created has value, worth and dignity.”
CELEBRATE LIFE MARCH
When: Jan. 13, 2018
Where: West steps of Colorado Capitol, 200 E. Colfax Blvd., Denver
Masses: preceding the event at downtown churches – 11:30 a.m. Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception; or at 11 a.m. at Holy Ghost or St. Elizabeth of Hungary or in Spanish at Annunciation, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sacred Heart or St. Joseph
Information: https://respectlifedenver.org or 720-799-9299