Sunday, October 16, 2011

Denver Day Two

Thursday, October 13

Our second day in Denver began with Mass at St. Thomas More which was about eight miles from the campground. When we drove into the parking lot we thought we'd stumbled on a funeral there were so many cars in the parking lot. We'd already been to a baptism and a wedding at Sunday Mass. But this turned out to be a regular daily Mass. The school's seventh graders were there and several hundred parishioners. Wow! Must be a big parish.

The church is modern. You walk into a large lobby with an information room on the right and a wide staircase (and elevator) that take you up to the church level. The church was decorated for ordinary time with large green banners. A pro-life banner was placed prominently to the left of the altar, I presume to mark respect life month.
Three priests concelebrated Mass and a deacon gave the homily which was on Fatima since it was the anniversary of the last apparition and the miracle of the sun. He read an eye-witness testimony by an atheist who attended to scoff, but was impressed by what he saw. Whether he ever converted, he didn't know.

After Mass we decided to go out to breakfast, but surprisingly we couldn't find a breakfast place. The Garmin showed nothing but Starbuck type places and bakeries. We stopped at one bakery in hopes they also served sandwiches. No luck, but we bought a beautiful cinnamon bun for later (delicious!). Believe it or not, we ended up at the only place we could find -- a Mexican restaurant. I've never had salsa and chips with breakfast. They had normal breakfasts which Larry had (essentially a grand slam), but I had a breakfast burrito made with eggs, potatoes, and sausage. It was a little spicy for breakfast, but I enjoyed it.

Then we were off to visit the Mother Francis Cabrini Shrine in Golden. It's located at the top of a long hill with a beautiful view of the Denver skyline. We walked up the 350+ stairs along the stations of the cross to the top where a large statue of the Sacred Heart stands along with a sacred heart arranged of stones. It's under a plexiglass protector and says it was arranged by Mother Cabrini, but I wasn't sure whether it was actually the one she arranged or like it. Since she did it in the early 1900s and the cover wasn't put in until the 80s (I think) it's hard to imagine the stones hadn't been disturbed by weather and tourists. The sign was ambivalent enough not to be clear. At the bottom of the stairs is a grotto chapel and a spring. There was no water available when the sisters moved in and founded a school there, but mother tapped a rock with her cane and said there was a spring and so there was. We drank from the spring.

Stained glass windows in the church trace Mother Cabrini's life. What an amazing woman! She wanted to be a missionary to China, but Pope Leo XIII urged her to served the Italian immigrants in the U.S. She made something like 24 trips back and forth across the ocean and founded schools, hospitals, and orphanages all over the U.S. and even the world. How anyone can say the Church oppresses women is beyond me. At a time that the secular world treated women as second class citizens, the
Church encouraged their vocations as foundresses and directors of great institutions.

We stopped at a bench in the rosary garden to pray our rosary and then were off to meet our niece, Robin, and her twins at the giant praying mantis outside the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster. The twins, Sidney (a girl) and Corbin (a boy) are almost four and full of energy and enthusiasm. The first thing they wanted to do was hold Rosie, the tarantula. Well, how could Larry and I not hold a tarantula when two almost four-year-olds were brave enough to do it. According to the docent, tarantulas are only a threat to their dinner which consists of bugs. But it is a little disconcerting to hold a furry, spidery-looking creature that covers your entire palm!

I preferred the butterfly pavilion. The museum imports something like a thousand chrysallises a week. They can't raise their own because the caterpillars need too much to eat and would quickly decimate any vegetation they had. The adult butterflies only live about two weeks. Capturing them on camera was a real challenge since they flitted about so much. I did get a few good pictures before we moved on to another area of the museum with a play center and some games, like "feed the caterpillars" which was a bean bag toss that involved tossing "food" into bugs' hungry mouths. Sidney has quite an arm on her and, once she got the hang of it, pegged a good many.

After the butterfly pavilion closed, we went over for dinner at our niece's home. Her husband Louis had dinner ready, chili and Larry's favorite veggie, brussel sprouts. (Don't let me hear any "yucks" out there.) The twins chattered like bright little mocking birds all through supper. Sidney likes cottage cheese and Corbin lined up 40 or 50 raisins and then ate them one by one. The visit was fun since we've been missing our grandchildren. Sidney and Corbin gave us a chance to practice our grandparent skills before we see Alice and family in Lawrence, KS. It was definitely a fun time in Denver filled with family, feasting, and fun!

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