Hundreds of Catholics young and old alike--including a number of small children wearing shirts emblazoned with the words, ‘I’m a child, not a choice”--packed into Denver’s Immaculate Conception Cathedral Saturday to sadly commemorate 33 years of legal abortion in the U.S.
Faithful in Denver joined thousands nationwide who commemorated the January 22nd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade--which legalized abortion in the country--with marches, rallies and prayer.
Colorado was the first state to legalize abortion following the 1973 decision.
Following the annual Mass, celebrated by Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput, much of the crowd processed down Colfax Avenue to the Colorado State capital building, where thousands gathered to take part in the annual March for Life rally, sponsored by the Colorado Right to Life.
The Archbishop was flanked by a large group of his brother priests from around the Archdiocese as well as the Knights of Columbus who processed from the Cathedral in full regalia.
Speaking on the Gospel reading, taken from the Book of Matthew, homilist, Fr. Andreas Hoeck, who is a professor at the Archdiocese’ St. John Vianney Seminary and resident priest at the Cathedral, said that “those who devalue the fruit of the womb to be nothing, they think themselves to be everything.”
He equated the concept of abortion, as well as those who procure it, to lawlessness, citing St. Paul, in saying that “Jesus, in His death has destroyed death now…and has brought life and immortality.”
“Our faith,” he said, “helps us to understand that if we can see the sacrifice of our innocent children--who are not allowed to come into this world to glorify God--that their sacrifice becomes triumphant and glorious in the light of Jesus Christ.”
Fr. Hoeck challenged the crowd to “settle for nothing less than the legal guarantee of the right to life…the legal reversal of abortion in our country.”
The young teaching the old
28-year old Andy Remstead, who attended Mass with his expectant wife Alissa, said that although he’s taken part in the Roe vs. Wade memorial for the last three years, preparing to be a new father made this year different.
Although he says he‘s always been strongly opposed to abortion, “Something about the first time the baby kicked,” he said, “made my whole perspective change.”
“Up until that point, it had always been sort of an abstract concept, but I realized, the first time I felt the kick, that there’s something really serious going on here.”
Monica Leonard agreed. She attended Mass and the rally with her 5 children said that she came to witness and let people know how wrong abortion is. “It has to end”, she said simply.
Toward the end of the Mass, Elizabeth Miller, a 7th grader at a local Catholic school, got up to read her award-winning pro-life essay entitled; ‘Life is worth living.”
Afterward, Archbishop Chaput equated the reading to a major thrust he sees in the New Evangelization; a movement called for by the late Pope John Paul II.
“I often say,” the Archbishop told the crowd, that “the old evangelization was generally elders teaching younger people the faith, [but] one of the signs of the New Evangelization is the young teaching their elders the faith.”