March in D.C. draws enthusiastic crowd despite dreary weather
- March in D.C. draws enthusiastic crowd despite dreary weather
- Raleigh Bishop Michael Burbidge: Proclaim the sacredness of all human life
- Youths' joy is 'greatest evidence' Jesus rose from dead, priest says
- Life, liberty at 'core of our national character,' Boehner tells rally
- Archbishop Chaput urges respect for life amid high disabled abortion rate
- Belmont Abbey students inspired by Archbishop Chaput's keynote address
- Young people the hope of pro-life movement, says Texas cardinal
- Pro-life congressmen hopeful despite Roe v. Wade anniversary
- All Pages
‘If we say we’re pro-life, we need to show we’re pro-life’
View a slideshow from the trip on the Diocese of Charlotte's You Tube Channel.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Looking up and down a soggy Constitution Avenue on Jan. 23, it was clear that the pro-life movement is thriving and strong. A wave of humanity – estimates were between 300,000 and 500,000 people – made its way to the Supreme Court and the Capitol Building during the March for Life despite rainy and cold January weather.
The 39th annual march was held on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. Since then, more than 50 million babies have been legally murdered in the U.S.
Hundreds of thousands of people from around the country boarded buses, vans, trains, cars and airplanes to converge on the nation’s capital to raise their voices and give witness to the dignity of life, especially for the unborn.
A great number of them were the youth of America, the “pro-life generation,” who carried signs and exuberantly chanted encouraging statements as they walked from the Mall to the Supreme Court building. They and their signs declared: “Stop unborn pain,” “De-fund Planned Parenthood,” “I vote pro-life first,” “Personhood for all no matter how small,” “Abortion is not health care” and “Face it…abortion kills a person.”
Several busloads and vanloads of families and youth from across the Diocese of Charlotte were among them. They joined more than 10,000 people at the standing-room-only Vigil Mass for Life the night before at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and then again on Monday morning for the annual North Carolina Mass celebrated by both the Diocese of Charlotte and Diocese of Raleigh.
Two busloads of enthusiastic pilgrims made the journey from St. Mark Church in Huntersville.
Zach Bevilacqua, who grew up at St. John Neumann Church in Charlotte and is now a parishioner at St. Mark, traveled to D.C. on one of those buses with his wife, two children and his mother – the first-ever march for all of them and their first visit to the basilica. They had very personal reasons for wanting to attend the march: His wife experienced a miscarriage in 2010 and had a molar (abnormal) pregnancy in 2011.
“The weekend she had the molar pregnancy we went to Mass and they were collecting the baby bottles (for the fundraiser for the march for life),” he said. “Someone asked us if we wanted to go to the march. We talk about being pro-life in our belief, and through the miscarriage and the molar pregnancy it gave us a greater sense of how it was in God’s hands. We thought, if we say we’re pro-life we need to show we’re pro-life.”
Another first-time marchgoer, Dr. Monica von Uthemann, also a St. Mark parishioner and chairperson of the prayer chain ministry at the church, had the blessing of being asked to carry some of the gifts up at the Vigil Mass, which was celebrated by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo on Jan. 22.
The Vigil Mass was particularly meaningful for Allen and Gini Bond, St. Mark parishioners who are active in pro-life ministry and served as bus captains for the family bus. Their son, Chris Bond, entered the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, last August and participated in both the Vigil Mass Jan. 22 and the North Carolina Mass on Jan. 23 for the first time as a seminarian.
“We are so, so happy for Chris and grateful to God,” said Gini Bond.
Raleigh Bishop Michael F. Burbidge presided over the North Carolina Mass and served as homilist, as Charlotte Bishop Peter J. Jugis was suffering from a fractured foot and could not attend the Masses or D.C. March for Life this year.
After the North Carolina Mass, pilgrims loaded onto buses to head to the march, and several of the seminarians from the Diocese of Charlotte rode down to the march on one of the St. Mark buses. They got there just in time to see the beginning of the march up Constitution Avenue, witnessing the huge “March for Life” banner carried by youths leading the pro-life pilgrims toward the Supreme Court building.
On the eight-hour bus ride home, the pilgrims reflected on their experiences, sharing them over the bus intercom. Children, teens, parents and grandparents all took their turn at the microphone to share their insights.
Connie Andrews, a grandmother who works with the special needs ministry at the church, said, “I have six grandchildren and it really made me reflect today. I grew up in the ’60s, the decade of decadence. We rebelled against everything. We marched against our government, against family values. We did everything wrong … we thought we were in the right.
“As I reflect back and see the mess my generation may have left some things, it makes me so proud to see so many young people out there today who have the conviction through their faith and living it out. I commend you and it makes me feel happier about our future knowing that the Catholic faith is being brought out with such conviction. You are the future leaders of our country, so keep it up.”
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
Also represented in the March for Life
Two buses with 98 Catholics from Western North Carolina traveled to D.C. to participate in the annual March for Life. Parishes represented included: St. Francis of Assisi in Franklin, St. Mary, Mother of God in Sylva, Sacred Heart in Brevard, St. John the Evangelist in Waynesville, St. Joseph in Bryson City and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Cherokee.
Their pilgrimage included taking 40 youths in sixth grade to 12th-graders to the Holocaust Museum, a tour of the White House and a meeting (pictured at left) with Congressman Heath Shuler on the Capital steps to thank him for his pro-life voting record.
— Julie Tastinger, St. Francis of Assisi Church in Franklin
More March for Life coverage
Read about the March for Life held in Charlotte Jan. 13.
(Photos by Anthony Perlas, SueAnn Howell, Julie Tastinger and CNS)
Raleigh Bishop Michael Burbidge: Proclaim the sacredness of all human life
The following is the homily given by the Diocese of Raleigh Bishop Michael Burbidge during the Jan. 23 North Carolina Respect Life Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception:
Last week in North Carolina at the MLK Interfaith Prayer Breakfast, the keynote speaker was the Chief Executive Officer for AT&T. In her address, she referred frequently to the recent campaign initiative of her company: Rethink Possible. She used the phrase to help those gathered to imagine what the world would like if love prevailed and all people, without exception, were treated equally.
Dear friends in Christ, our gathering today at this magnificent Basilica Shrine and soon on the streets of our nation's capital reflects what we truly believe is possible:
It is possible to change the hearts of elected officials so that their decisions, actions and votes ensure a society in which all people are treated equally and never denied the right to be born and to live with dignity and respect.
It is possible to inflame a "culture of death" with the Gospel of Life through the enthusiastic, joyful and peaceful witness that we offer, especially as demonstrated through the thousands of youth present today. Dear young friends in Christ, Bishop Jugis and I are so very proud of you!
It is possible to help others understand and acknowledge that a miraculous event takes place at the moment of conception when a new, unrepeatable and irreplaceable human being comes to exist.
It is possible to overturn the horrific decision of Roe vs. Wade and to ensure that in our great nation abortion is illegal, inaccessible and impossible.
My brothers and sisters, we know the reasons for the hopes and prayers we share and we understand how they can become realities. They are rooted in the Truth, who is Jesus Christ. By His birth, the Son of God and the Son of Mary has made all human life sacred. By His suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has demonstrated the infinite worth and value of all persons. Thus, His mandate is that life from the moment of conception to natural death must be revered, defended and protected and that respect and dignity are shown to all of His people, especially the unborn, weak, vulnerable, the needy and those whose rights and freedom are violated.
My friends in Christ, we also understand how it is possible to transform society. As today's Gospel teaches, it can only occur with the amazing grace of God. We are merely the branches, the instruments. It is the Lord who is the true vine and through whom abundant fruit is produced. Yes, we must continue to advocate on behalf of the sacredness of human life. Yes, we must offer witness in the public arena. Yet, the greatest gift we give to the Pro-Life movement is our renewed commitment to heed the call of Saint Paul in our First Reading and remain a people who rejoice in hope and persevere in prayer, most especially as we allow ourselves to be enlightened by the Lord's word and nourished with His Holy Body and Blood. Our deep faith is demonstrated when we entrust all our work and endeavors to His divine providence through the intercession of Mary Our Mother, who most perfectly understood that all things are possible with God!
Through her intercession, we go forth from this Mass spiritually renewed and strengthened to help others Rethink Possible and to proclaim the sacredness of all human life in the Holy Name of Jesus, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
Youths' joy is 'greatest evidence' Jesus rose from dead, priest says
Pictured: Young people cheer during a pro-life rally at the Verizon Center in Washington Jan. 23. Thousands of youths gathered at two Washington arenas to rally and pray before taking part in the annual March for Life. (CNS photo/Rafael Crisostomo, Catholic Standard)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Washington pastor told 17,000 exuberant teenagers and young adults gathered at a pro-life rally and Mass in the Verizon Center Jan. 23 that he wondered if they knew "what an encouragement you are."
"I am so glad for your joy ... your joy is the greatest evidence Jesus rose from the dead," said Msgr. Charles Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Parish, said in his homily.
The Mass and rally that morning, he said, were "about praising God and thanking him for the gift of life."
Msgr. Pope noted that crowds at the Verizon Center normally cheer for hockey and basketball games and rock concerts, and he challenged them to offer a louder cheer for God. The spirited crowd responded with a loud sustained roar.
The annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life there and a second rally and Mass for another 10,000 young people at the D.C. Armory were sponsored by the Archdiocese of Washington and each year precede the March for Life.
All of the pro-life events mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
At Verizon, the crowd offered a huge ovation for Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, who smiled and thanked them for witnessing to God's gift of life. "I share your enthusiasm and your spirit," he said. "You are alive with hope and love, and you are alive with the life of Christ. Stay always that way!"
Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, main celebrant at the Verizon Center Mass, smiled as he processed into the arena, preceded by about a dozen other bishops, nearly 180 priests and 30 deacons.
"I welcome you as we renew our commitment to the value and dignity of all human life," the cardinal said.
Acknowledging the large crowd, he said, "There would be even more if it weren't for the fact we had great storm warnings, and schools and bus lines were closed. ... I think the Lord did that to say to us, 'For decades you've been persevering -- continue to persevere.'"
Warnings of possible icy roads caused delayed openings in government offices and for area schools, preventing some local Catholic schools from busing students to the Verizon Center rally as in previous years.
Archbishop Vigano read a letter on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI, who thanked the youths for "this outstanding annual witness to the 'Gospel of Life.'"
In an interview with reporters before the Mass, Cardinal Wuerl spoke about how inspired he is each year to process into the Verizon Center and see tens of thousands of young people standing together for God's gift of life.
"You can't help but be filled with joy and confidence" and hope for the future, he said.
"In the struggle for the soul of America, these (young) people support the best of the American tradition -- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
In his opening remarks at the Mass, Cardinal Wuerl encouraged the youths to greet the concelebrating bishops, who included Chicago Cardinal Francis E. George. As bishops were announced, youths from those regions sitting in different sections of the arena burst into loud applause and cheers, waving their hands and scarves, giving their bishops a shout-out.
Via a satellite link from the D.C. Armory, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, main celebrant of the Mass there, likewise introduced the bishops present with the youths, and they were greeted with loud cheers.
Youths interviewed before the Mass expressed their determination to stand together, in faith, and support human life in all its stages. Yajaira Hernandez, a member of the youth group from St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., said, "Everybody deserves a chance."
Jimmy Owens, a senior majoring in mathematics at the University of Nebraska, had helped lead a group of nearly 100 "Huskers for Life," who made a 30-hour bus ride, partly through a snowstorm, to attend the rally and march.
"Because of our faith, we believe in the dignity of every human life," he said, noting that Catholic students there volunteer at pro-life crisis pregnancy centers and pray outside abortion clinics. The crowd at the youth rally "means a lot, to see there's hope for our generation, with so many young people coming out," Owens told the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Washington Archdiocese.
Christian Monsalve, a junior majoring in philosophy at Fordham University in New York, said, "It's our understanding from the right to life stems all the other rights we have. For our generation to be conscious of that is very important."
During his homily, Msgr. Pope said that Scripture makes it clear, "You're somebody, your life is sacred, and it's part of God's plan. ... No one is a mistake, accident, surprise or inconvenient."
The priest, who writes a popular blog for the Archdiocese of Washington's website, encouraged the youths to make a daily choice for chastity, charity, courage and constancy.
An estimated 85 percent of abortions are performed on single women. "I pray that every one of you understands how important it is to remain chaste and pure and save sexual relations for marriage," the priest said. "Dress modestly, act modestly and avoid situations (involving) temptations."
Noting that 42 percent of abortions are performed on women who live below the poverty line, the priest said, "We have to reach out to help women and families in this situation," and he encouraged the young people to support pro-life crisis pregnancy centers.
"We've got to let women know they don't walk alone," he said.
Msgr. Pope said that 90 percent of women who receive a prenatal diagnosis that their unborn child might have Down syndrome or a severe disability decide to have an abortion. People with disabilities have "incredible gifts" to offer to the world, he said.
Regarding constancy, the parish priest said the struggle to end abortion continues 39 years after the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. He noted polls that show a majority of Americans, and a growing number of young people, oppose abortion.
"We're going to get there. We will win the hearts and minds of people in our country. ... We're heading to that promised land where people respect life from conception to natural death," he said.
Just before the Mass, one young priest, Father Mel Ayala, a parochial vicar at St. Peter Parish in Olney, Md., looked at the Verizon Center crowd and said, "This is the future, right here. It's so awesome to be among so many young people who love life and live life. It's incredible."
— Mark Zimmermann, Catholic News Service
Life, liberty at 'core of our national character,' Boehner tells rally
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans "as a people are pro-life" because life and liberty "are intertwined and form the core of our national character," House Speaker John Boehner told the crowd gathered on the National Mall Jan. 23 for the 39th annual March for Life.
"God who gave us life gave us liberty," said the Ohio Republican, who is a Catholic. He added that his pro-life stand isn't political, "it's just who I am."
He and the other members of Congress who spoke at the rally said they were proud they had passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and the Protect Life Act and voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood.
But now, said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., "we must work to change the Senate and reclaim the White House which not only obstructs pro-life legislation but has for the past three years advanced abortion in so many ways, while not even attempting to appear to be working to make abortion 'rare' and offering support to women to choose life."
Smith, a Catholic who is chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, told the rallygoers that they were "an important part of the greatest human rights movement on earth -- the selfless struggle by prayer, fasting and works to defend and protect all weak and vulnerable persons from the violence of abortion, infanticide and euthanasia."
He also told the crowd, "The violent destruction of a child in the womb is not an American value."
More than an hour before the rally kicked off, thousands of pro-life marchers, the majority of them high school and college-age youths from across the country, began to fill in the space around the speakers' platform under overcast skies.
The temperature hovered in the high 30s. Intermittent rain forced marchers to put on ponchos and assorted rain gear and pull out their umbrellas. The wet weather left the National Mall a soggy and muddy patch, which marchers slogged through after the rally as they headed to Constitution Avenue, past the Capitol and up to the Supreme Court.
The rally opened with the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a joint Catholic-Orthodox prayer delivered by Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada. Religious leaders on the platform included Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
Nellie Gray, now 86, kicked off the speeches. She is the founder and president of the March for Life Education & Defense Fund, the group that organizes the march.
She told the crowd that their consistency in showing up in such great numbers to mark each of the 39 anniversaries since the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion "shows we love our country and love our preborn children. We also love the abortionists we're trying to educate."
She called for Roe to be overturned "without any exception" and urged unity "on the life principles" she and her organization have espoused since the Supreme Court handed down its abortion decision.
Just as the Nuremberg trials after World War II "taught us genocide is a crime against humanity," the federal government must understand that abortion is "a crime against humanity," said Gray.
— Julie Asher, Catholic News Service
Archbishop Chaput urges respect for life amid high disabled abortion rate
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An 80 percent abortion rate of those with disabilities shows the need to restore a fundamental respect for human dignity in America, said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia.
He underscored that the plight of disabled babies highlights "a struggle within the American soul" that will shape the future of the nation.
"These children with disabilities are not a burden; they're a priceless gift to all of us," the archbishop said. "They're a doorway to the real meaning of our humanity.
Archbishop Chaput delivered the keynote address at the thirteenth annual Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life on Jan. 22.
The conference, which was held at Georgetown University, took place one day before the March for Life, at which hundreds of thousands of Americans annually gather in the nation's capital to protest abortion and show their support for the dignity of all human life.
"Abortion kills a child, it wounds a precious part of a woman's own dignity and identity, and it steals hope," the archbishop said. "That's why it's wrong. That's why it needs to end. That's why we march."
He warned that without a strong foundation of faith and morals, America becomes "alien and hostile" to its founding ideals. This threat is clearly demonstrated in the country's treatment of the poor and disabled, which the archbishop said "shows what we really believe about human dignity."
In his talk, Archbishop Chaput focused on children with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects development, appearance and cognitive function, and can cause other health problems.
He observed that prenatal testing is now able to detect up to 95 percent of pregnancies that have a strong risk of Down syndrome, and more than 80 percent of the unborn babies diagnosed with the disorder are aborted.
These babies are killed because of a flaw in their chromosomes that is "neither fatal nor contagious, but merely undesirable," he said.
The archbishop lamented the growing tendency of medical professionals to emphasize the possible defects of Down syndrome, thus steering expectant mothers of children with the disorder towards abortion.
Parents and doctors should be realistic about the challenges, understanding that raising a disabled child will involve "some degree of suffering," he said. However, they should also see the potential and beauty of children with special needs, realizing that no child is perfect.
Archbishop Chaput noted that today, individuals with Down syndrome have longer life expectancies than ever before and can generally "enjoy happy, productive lives."
"The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is between love and unlove, between courage and cowardice, between trust and fear," he said.
This is a choice that must be faced on both an individual level and as a society, he added, emphasizing that "God will demand an accounting" of how we have used our freedom.
If we really "take God seriously," we will work to uphold the sanctity of human life and dignity of sexuality in our daily lives, he said.
This means that public officials should live out their Catholic faith in the laws that they support, doctors in the procedures they perform and the drugs they prescribe, and citizens in their actions on public issues, he explained.
He praised the work of people and organizations who aid those with disabilities, recognizing in them "an invitation to learn how to love deeply and without counting the cost."
Archbishop Chaput urged those present at the conference not to be afraid as they persevere in being an apostle to those around them.
"Fear is beneath your dignity as sons and daughters of the God of life," he said. "Never give up the struggle that the March for Life embodies," he added. "Your prolife witness gives glory to God."
Although changing the culture is "a huge task," we must recognize that we are being called by God to do so, the archbishop said. "He's waiting, and now we need to answer him."
— CNA/EWTN News
Belmont Abbey students inspired by Archbishop Chaput's keynote address at John Cardinal O'Connor Conference
WASHINGTON, D.C. — At the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., opportunities abounded for education, prayer and activism, allowing pilgrims to multi-task on their pilgrimage.
For students from Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, their trip this year included the day-long John Cardinal O'Connor Conference held at Georgetown University, where the students who had organized the event brought in world-class speakers including Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. of Philadelphia, to solidly map out a success plan for the pro-life message.
Archbishop Chaput focused primarily on the importance of winning back the medical and political professions to the pro-life cause.
"American Catholics have tried to fit in," he said. "but now, we have allowed people who don't respect us to get in charge."
He admonished the 750 conference attendees – mostly college aged students – to become doctors and politicians.
"It is going to be your responsibility to change things," he explained. "The government is getting less willing to provide the ability to conscientious objection. But everyone is entitled to conscientious objection. So often people ask me, 'What should we do when it's against the law?' The answer is to go to jail. That's what we should do."
Archbishop Chaput also spent a considerable amount of his address on the joy of accepting a child with a physical disability rather than succumbing to the pressure and temptation to abortion.
"No child is perfect," he explained. "The choice of accepting a child with special needs is a choice of love or un-love. These children are not a burden – they are a gift to all of us."
In deciding to attend the O'Connor Conference this year, Belmont Abbey College campus minister Tricia Stevenson noted, "My student leadership is comprised entirely of freshmen; they don't even know about all of this yet!"
Belmont Abbey College sophomores Clare Miller and Brigid Wilson said they were galvanized by the archbishop's words.
"I am inspired to strive harder in my studies for the sake of the pro-life cause," said Wilson, "especially to help post-abortion women."
"Abortion kills a child and wounds a precious part of a woman's own dignity," Archbishop Chaput told the students gathered at the conference. "Pour your efforts into building a culture of life."
— Mary B. Worthington, correspondent
Young people the hope of pro-life movement, says Texas cardinal
WASHINGTON D.C. — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston told more than a thousand young people at prayer vigil in D.C. that the pro-life movement depends on their loving witness in the face of a hostile culture.
"You are a good infection," the cardinal told the youth gathered at the opening Mass for the National Prayer Vigil for Life. "Do not underestimate your presence."
More than 10,000 people gathered on the evening of Jan. 22 for Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, including many young people from across the country.
The date marked the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America.
Cardinal DiNardo, who serves as chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, was the principal celebrant and homilist at the opening Mass, which was followed by confessions, a rosary, Night Prayer and holy hours throughout the night.
The Catholic University of America hosted almost 1,300 pilgrims overnight.
The vigil concluded on the morning of Jan. 23 with Morning Prayer and a closing Mass, at which Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York was the principal celebrant and homilist.
Participants were then able to attend the March for Life in downtown D.C., along Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building.
In his homily, Cardinal DiNardo spoke about the call of Jonah. Although he first ran away, Jonah eventually realized "that the call of the Lord is serious." When he finally responded to that call, his preaching converted the people of Ninevah.
"We are walking through Ninevah," the cardinal said, emphasizing the need for "personal conversion."
With millions of lives destroyed by abortion in the last 39 years, he noted the need for ministries of conversion, as well as compassion and mercy.
Through the work of such ministries, he said, "we witness the miracle of Christ's mercy and healing grace" as broken hearts are "made whole" and "filled with new peace and hope."
The cardinal also expressed grave concerns that the pro-life movement is threatened by recent attacks on religious freedom in America.
On Jan. 20, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule that will require virtually all health insurance plans to include sterilization and contraception – including drugs that cause abortion – free of charge.
Cardinal DiNardo explained that this mandate violates the religious liberty and rights of conscience of Catholics and other religious employers by forcing citizens "to directly purchase what violates our beliefs."
He called for "timely and unwavering actions" to defend religious freedom.
At the same time, the cardinal expressed hope for the future, observing signs of good news, such as the "record numbers" of pro-life laws passed on the state level in recent years.
In many ways, the youth are "weaving Christ into our culture," he said, urging them to show the loving face of Christ to those who are hostile.
"Don't be compromised in your dedication to the protection of life."
— CNA/EWTN News
Pro-life congressmen hopeful despite Roe v. Wade anniversary
WASHINGTON D.C. — Members of the U.S. Congress reflected on the negative effects of almost 40 years of legal abortion in America, but said they are encouraged that the pro-life movement continues to gain momentum.
The estimated thousands of people who will “descend upon Washington” for the Jan. 23 March for Life, remind the country of its obligation “to protect life and be stewards” of God's creation, said Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.).
Jan. 22 marked the 39-year anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.
Rep. Ellmers told CNA/EWTN News on Jan. 20 that the protection of life is “a mission that is very near and dear to my heart.” The Congresswoman explained that she worked as a nurse for more than 21 years which taught her “that every life is a precious gift from God.”
“I’ve held the hands of newborn infants, and I’ve held the hands of elderly patients in the last moments of their lives,” she said. “I have witnessed firsthand how fragile and delicate our lives are and the miracles that take place every day.”
Rep. Ellmers said that the March for Life is important because it “serves as a powerful reminder of the injustice taking place in our country and the millions of lives lost but not forgotten.”
Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) said he believes that America’s “love for liberty” can be measured by how “the most innocent” members of society are treated.
“And the pro-life movement has played an extremely important role in fighting to make sure innocent life is protected,” he told CNA/EWTN News.
Rep. Paul, who is currently running for Republican presidential candidate, said that there is still “much work to do” to protect the unborn.
He said that he would work as president to effectively repeal Roe v. Wade and would support legislation defining life as beginning at conception.
Thirty-nine years after the Supreme Court decision “that opened the door for abortion in our country,” Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) called abortion “a very important issue” that needs to be addressed today.
He told CNA/EWTN News on Jan. 20 that the pro-life movement is fighting an “uphill battle” against the “culture of death” that permeates much of the secular media.
However, he also observed that progress had been made in recent years, particularly at the state level.
Rep. Lipinski said that he is always inspired by the number of young people at the March for Life, who remind him that “there is hope” for the future.
He believes the pro-life movement is “picking up more and more support” across the country and that progress will continue to be made “step by step.”
“When it really comes down to it,” he said, “what we need to do is change the hearts and minds of the American people.”
— CNA/EWTN News
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'Oracle of Palestine' St. Epiphanius of Salamis celebrated May 12On May 12 the Church honors St. Epiphanius of Salamis, an early monk, bishop and Church Father known for his extensive learning and defense of Catholic teachings in the fourth century. During a 2007 visit with the Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus, Pope...
St. Katharine Drexel has local connectionOn March 3, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Katharine Drexel, a Philadelphia heiress who abandoned her family's fortune to found an order of sisters dedicated to serving the impoverished African American and Native American populations...
St. Bede known for scholarship and holiness, honored May 25The Church will celebrate the feast of St. Bede May 25. The English priest, monk and scholar is sometimes known as "the Venerable Bede" for his combination of personal holiness and intellectual brilliance. Bede was born during 673 near the...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy