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The Denver metro area offers many ways to meet people outside of looking through profiles on an app.

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Basquez, has built a business bringing people together, and not just Catholics. She says she creates a space where "intentional dating" can take place, with an aim towards marriage, not just "falling into the big dating pool in Denver," she said. Lakewood's historic Casa Bonita restaurant was the site of Basquez's most recent Catholic speed-dating eventSunday.

Fourteen men and women met to chat for five-to-seven minutes and possibly find someone they might want to follow up with later.

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Maybe you don't know 'this is definitely going to be the person I marry,' the second you meet them," she said. A former daily newspaper journalist and food critic, Basquez started with a traveling Catholic dinner group called the Last Supper Club. She keeps on the lookout for restaurants where she can bring people together.

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Perhaps as an advance glimpse of married life with small children, Casa Bonita was in its full glory Sunday with raging waterfalls, stage shows and a stunt person in a gorilla suit. No flame jugglers were working this particular lunch, but some speed daters appeared to flinch at the fake gunshots punctuating their conversation.

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The over-the-top Mexican restaurant opened in a mall in and has been a Denver-area institution for decades on West Colfax Avenue. Several daters said they hadn't been inside Casa Bonita since they were kids.

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Others said they'd seen it parodied on the show South Park. Daters did not partake of the arcade games or stumble through Black Bart's Cave, the haunted tunnel. They had some speed-dating to do. Basquez ased them to partners, then rang a bell to al it was time to switch seats and make notes on a cheat sheet.

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So far, Basquez says her company, Catholic Speed Dating, and affiliated blind dating match service Faith Match, have been credited with 30 marriages — and that doesn't count people who used her service and later found someone to marry.

She said many are professionals, doctors, dentists, FBI agents, people who travel for work and don't really socialize with people who would make good marriage partners. A string of nuptials after her first event led her to think she was providing a service that was needed -- and divinely inspired.

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She recommends waiting at least three months before dating exclusively and not to jump into marriage quickly. We're not in high school anymore," she said.

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For some, taking part in the exercise opens their eyes to the redeeming qualities of an old flame. Basquez said she's had several people who "reconciled" with an ex after participating. She's been married for 57 years. After that, people are less jittery.

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John from Westminster, a repeat customer, said he usually asks women about their interests and how they spend their leisure time. Seamus, an IT professional, said he never has any set questions for women because he likes to "see if there's chemistry. Plus, it forces you to get out and spend a couple hours talking to people," he said.

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Basquez always cautions daters to never write someone off. A priest she knew gave the best dating advice, she said. Anna's advice for the broken hearts in the group is simple: Sometimes there aren't answers for suffering. But "there is peace in the presence of others, even in the absence of answers," she said, quoting a favorite author.

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When we are intentional and focus, we can get ," she said. Community Corner Denver Catholic Speed-Dating at Casa Bonita Daters seek true love amid live show featuring cowboys, gunshots and a guy in a gorilla suit. Basquez started the event with a prayer and gave a pep-talk to the nervous daters. Find out what's happening in Denver with free, real-time updates from Patch. Let's go! Look for someone who is both emotionally and spiritually mature. Thank Reply Share. The rules of replying: Be respectful.

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