Monday, December 9, 2013

Scene on Colfax: The Pope

In 1993, the Pope flew to Denver expressly for a giant World Youth Day rally. While he took time to celebrate Mass with the bishops, to visit Denver's Catholics, the Vietnamese diaspora and the children of Mount St. Vincent Home, he spent his biggest chunks of time with WYD's instant community. Those assembled showered John Paul II with a love expressed in hugs, tears, cheers and applause.

On Thursday, August 12, 1993, his first day in Denver, a full house of 90,000 welcomed the pope at Mile High Stadium, a welcome also marked by a late evening rainbow. On Friday, he spoke briefly by remote hookup to conclude the Stations of the Cross. On both Saturday and Sunday, he spent nearly four hours with youth at Cherry Creek State Park.

Photo by Jonny Barber
A statue of Pope John Paul II, designed by Polish sculptor Jacek Osadczuk, was installed outside the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, at the corner of Logan Street and Colfax Avenue, on April 2, 2009, the fourth anniversary of the pontiff's death, and dedicated on May 17, 2009. The statue commemorates the event of Pope John Paul II holding mass at the cathedral for World Youth Day on August 13-14, 1993.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is home to the Archdiocese of Denver. The cathedral building, designed by Detroit architect Leon Coquard in the French Gothic Style, was constructed from 1902-1911 with a final cost of approximately $500,000. Influenced by the the 13th century coll├ęgiale Saint-Nicolas of Munster, Moselle, France--the birth village of bishop Nicholas Chrysostom Matz, who supervised its construction--the cathedral is made of Indiana limestone and Gunnison, Colorado granite and features two 210-foot spires. Its inaugural mass was held on October 27, 1912 and consecration in 1921. The cathedral was raised to the status of minor basilica on Christmas Day, 1979--one of only 29 American Cathedrals with that title.

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