MONUMENT. “Come, Shine Your Light” was the theme for the 2019 Celebrate Life Rally and March in Denver on Jan. 12. The Respect Life Apostolate for the Diocese of Colorado Springs chartered a bus and took 30 enthusiastic pro-life warriors from all over the diocese, and even one from Pueblo, to participate and shine our lights in celebration of the gift of life.
The day began with Mass at Holy Ghost Church on California Street in Denver, followed by lunch sponsored by Holy Ghost Respect Life Ministry. All agreed that the Mass in the spectacularly beautiful Holy Ghost Church was the perfect beginning of this day of pilgrimage, and lunch was great too.
As the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, the rally kicked off with beautiful music provided by the worship team from Our Lady of Lourdes and the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary choir. The day before had been a snowy, stormy mess so we all felt blessed by God to have a lovely day.
David Bereit, co-founder of 40 Days for Life, served as emcee, and he was as inspiring as always. Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila also inspired us with his words as he reminded us of how interconnected all the life issues are when we remember that every life is created in God’s image and likeness. Elias Moo, Superintendent of Schools in the Archdiocese of Denver, and Elizabeth Felix from Students for Life of America at Gunnison High School both spoke passionately about being pro-life in school and at work.
That said, our group agreed that the McGarrity family stole our hearts with their story of family love and sacrifice. This family shared the impact of discovering, at his birth, that their third son had Down Syndrome. That was the beginning of their selfless journey of sacrificial love as they felt God was calling them to put out into the deep. In the years since his birth, they have adopted three babies with Down Syndrome, in addition to having several more children of their own. The joy of this family was palpable and was the perfect exclamation point for the rally, reminding us that living pro-life takes many forms.
As we marched from the Capitol to the Denver Mint building, and back to the Capitol, we marveled at the thousands of people around us holding signs, singing, laughing, praying, and just smiling. It was truly a crowd overflowing with love. And the best part of all was the overwhelming majority of young people in that crowd.
After enjoying the Mariachi band, Aztec dancers, Mexican folk dancers, and Irish dancers we climbed back on our bus for the trip home. We all agreed it had been a great day and hope to do it again next year. We vowed to spread the word about this great event and hopefully will be able to fill two buses.
(Julie Bailey is Director of the Respect Life Apostolate for the Diocese of Colorado Springs.)