Denver Catholic

DCR - August 14, 2013

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12 I 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF WYD 1993 AUGUST 14, 2013 I DENVER CATHOLIC REGISTER Historic event made Denver a center of 21s This story concludes a Denver Catholic Register series celebrating 20 years of faith since the Denver Archdiocese hosted World Youth Day Aug. 11-15, 1993. It focuses on the effects WYD had on the archdiocese. BY ROXANNE KING When Msgr. Michael Glenn attended seminary in Rome in the 1980s, if he told people he was from Denver he had to explain where it was. But no more. "Since World Youth Day 1993, whenever I mention I'm from Denver, people immediately understand the significance," the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary rector said. "It put Denver on the map for Catholicism in the world in a way it had never been before." Asked the effects of the Aug. 11-15, 1993, international gathering of youth on the Denver Archdiocese, Church leaders point to a renewal of faith that has manifested itself in increased vocations and has fostered numerous vibrant movements and apostolates promoting the "new evangelization" called for by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, whereby the Gospel is shared via "new methods, new ardor and new expression." "When you speak with people they still reference World Youth Day as being what transformed the Archdiocese of Denver and well beyond," said Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila, who served as director of liturgy for the archdiocese in 1993 and helped plan the WYD liturgies. "The Holy Father (Pope John Paul II) himself spoke of that, of seeing Denver as one of the centers of the new evangelization." Archbishop Aquila credits the event led by Blessed John Paul II, and follow-up by then-Denver Archbishop J. Francis Stafford and later by Archbishop Charles Chaput, with implementing the new evangelization here with zeal. "When one looks at the many apostolates that are present now in the archdiocese and the youthfulness of the Church here," Archbishop Aquila said, "... whether the Augustine Institute or FOCUS or Endow and the many ecclesial movements—the Neocatechumenal Way, Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary, Communion and Liberation and so many others—they have added to the bearing of fruit here." Theologian-author George Weigel, syndicated columnist for the Denver Catholic Register, put it this way: "World Youth Day completed Denver's 'turn' into the new evangelization, which has made it into one of the most dynamic dioceses in the world and a center of 21st-century Catholicism." Seminaries born The Denver Archdiocese established two seminaries shortly after WYD 1993: Redemptoris Mater was erected in 1996 and St. John Vianney was inaugurated in 1999. Both are located in south Denver at the site vacated by a seminary that closed in 1995. Archbishop Stafford immediately bought the campus, renamed it the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization, and moved the archdiocese's offices to it with hopes to also soon offer priestly and lay faith formation there. "Redemptoris Mater was a grace that directly flowed out of World Youth Day," Msgr. Glenn said about the international seminary, one of 100 such schools worldwide whose vocations come from the Neocatechumenal Way, a Vatican-approved catechumenate. Redemptoris Mater students, currently from a dozen countries, are in formation to serve the Denver Archdiocese, but they also receive missionary training and are willing to go wherever the archbishop sends them. Catholic leaders quickly proposed starting a second seminary, St. John Vianney. "For Denver to have the courage to do that was also a direct grace from World Youth Day," Msgr. Glenn said, adding that for the previous 30 years seminaries had been closing. "We thought, 'We hosted World Youth Day, sure, we can start a seminary!' The priests realized and had a whole new experience of what is possible." St. John Vianney provides the academic formation for both seminaries. It opened with 59 students, including 23 Redemptoris Mater seminarians, and four men studying for another diocese. The seminary has shown steady growth, with an enrollment of 116 men in the 2012-2013 academic year. It has ordained 90 men, 57 of them for the Denver Archdiocese, 21 of which were in formation at Redemptoris Mater. The Neocatechumenal Way In 1992, when it was announced Denver would host an international WYD the next year, there were just two parish-based Neocatechumenal Way communities in the archdiocese, with a total 40 members. "We'd had some problems introducing the Way here and seemed to be bogged down for a couple of years," recalled Rose Mary McLeod, who with her husband Don is responsible for the Way in Colorado. "As soon as World Youth Day was announced, things started to turn around and we had five requests to begin right away. Therefore, we had seven communities by the time the Holy Father arrived." PHOTO BY JAMES BACA/DENVER CATHOLIC REGISTER POPE John Paul II waves to the 750,000 faithful gathered at Cherry Creek State Park Aug. 15, 1993. The McLeods were in charge of organizing a vocational meeting for Neocatechumenal Way participants of WYD to take place in Fort Collins the day after Pope John Paul II celebrated the closing Mass at Cherry Creek State Park. "All together, 32,000 brothers from the Way attended," McLeod said. "Approximately 1,000 boys stood up for the priesthood and around the same number of girls stood up for convent life." Among those who answered the vocational call are two men currently serving as priests in the Denver Archdiocese: Father Giovanni Capucci, judicial vicar for the Metropolitan Tribunal, and Father Felix Medina, pastor of Queen of Peace Church in Aurora. The two were among the inaugural students of Denver's Redemptoris Mater. "Today, we have 63 communities of the Neocatechumenal Way in the archdiocese located in 23 different parishes," McLeod said. "It's about 1,600-1,700 people." Communion and Liberation Matt McGuiness, a member of the Communion and Liberation movement, discovered the Church's lay movements and charisms at Denver's WYD when he saw their different colorful banners among the sea of people gathered at Cherry Creek State Park for the vigil and closing Mass. "Later, I realized that Mother Church in her wisdom was allowing something to flourish that is akin to the birth of religious orders and congregations during the Middle Ages," he said. "Yet, unlike those orders that came to life in an environment in which the Christian faith permeated all aspects of life, the modern movements have grown in a secular or 'post-Christian' culture." The movements support the faithful in their Christian life that they might not be overwhelmed by the "'gods' of success and hedonism that surround us," McGuiness said, adding, "This (spiritual battle) requires a community, not 'rugged individualism.'" The movement has grown since 1993 from about a half-dozen members to 100, about half of whom regularly participate. "In the 1990s there was one small community of CL," McGuiness said. "Twenty years later we have five different communities, three priests of (CL's) Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo and a couple of consecrated people." Endow It was in housing four teen boys from France for WYD 1993 that Terry Polakovic, a co-founder of Endow, which promotes the new feminism of Blessed John Paul II, became an admirer of the late pope. "In a very real way, I was introduced to Pope John Paul II (through WYD) and because of that I was open to learning about what he was writing and saying about the dignity and vocation of women," she said. In 2003, under the guidance of Archbishop Chaput, Polakovic and friends Marilyn Coors and Betsy Considine started Endow study groups. Since then, more than 25,000 women and teen girls have participated in Endow, which is present in 120-plus dioceses across the world. "The most powerful thing is that each of those women and girls has families, friends, co-workers, etc., with which to share the message," Polakovic said. Augustine Institute In 1993, Tim Gray led a group from the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D., to Denver's WYD with his boss, then-Bishop Chaput. There he watched ambivalent youths "catch fire" as they encountered the pope and catechesis. "It showed that the youth simply need both an encounter and education to really make the faith their own," he said, adding that the experience planted the seed for the Augustine Institute graduate school, which he co-founded in Denver in 2005 with the aim to form leaders for the new evangelization. "In eight short years, we have become the third largest Catholic MA program in the country and the fastest-growing program," said Gray, who serves as the institute's president. It was at Denver's WYD that Gray introduced Bishop Chaput to his friend Curtis Martin, who would start the hugely successful FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) campus ministry. Later, Archbishop Chaput invited Martin to move FOCUS' headquarters here. "That's just another example of the many ways providence was using (WYD) to start in motion an avalanche of good things for the Church in Denver and the U.S.," Gray said. Looking back and forward Reflecting on the effects of Denver's WYD, Cardinal Stafford told the Denver Catholic Register from Rome, "Rivers of hope flowed from Butterfly Hill (in Cherry Creek State Park) in 1993. "They upended everything," he said. "That expresses my understanding today of what happened. The great question remains: What will we do with this legacy?"

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