Archdiocese of Washington cancels Mass for Life and Youth Rally as abortion focus shifts to the states
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The National Prayer Vigil for Life held each January will continue even with the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade because there is “still a great need for prayer and advocacy”’ to end abortion and protect the unborn and their mothers, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said Nov. 11.
However, the Youth Rally and Mass for Life, which have taken place ahead of every March for Life for more than 25 years, have been canceled, according to a statement released by the Archdiocese of Washington.
The archdiocese wrote on their website that “a consultation process that involved dialogue with other dioceses, ministry leaders and the partners who assist in hosting the annual Rally and Mass” determined that the Youth Rally might conflict with the efforts in individual states where abortion remains legal.
The Youth Rally and Mass for Life, which have taken place ahead of every March for Life for more than 25 years, have been canceled, according to a statement released by the Archdiocese of Washington.
“We heard from many dioceses who shared that they are turning their efforts to their state’s March for Life now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. We certainly support their local work and pray for their success,” said a statement released by the archdiocese.
The archdiocese encouraged groups traveling to the nation’s capital to attend the march and Vigil Mass. The Vigil for Life, which is scheduled for Jan. 19-20 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, has always coincided with the eve of the March for Life, which marks the date of 1973 decision of the court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. The 2023 March for Life is Jan. 20.
“The National Prayer Vigil is a time to praise God for the great gift of the recent Supreme Court Dobbs decision, overturning the tragic Roe v. Wade decision made almost a half-century ago,” said Kat Talalas, assistant director of pro-life communications at the USCCB.
“State and federal legislators are now free to embrace policies that protect preborn children and their mothers,” she said in a statement. “Yet, there is still a great need for prayer and advocacy from the faithful, as there will be intensified efforts to codify Roe in legislation and policies at the state and federal levels.”
“We heard from many dioceses who shared that they are turning their efforts to their state’s March for Life now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned,” said a statement released by the archdiocese.
She added that “many prayers and sacrifices are needed to transform our culture so that all may cherish the gift of human life and offer life-giving support to vulnerable women, children, and families.”
The opening Mass for the vigil will take place at 5 p.m. (EST) Jan. 19 with Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, as the principal celebrant and homilist.
The Mass will be immediately followed by a Holy Hour for life. This will start off a series of nationwide holy hours throughout the night from dioceses across the country, which will be broadcast on the USCCB’s website, www.usccb.org.
The nationwide vigil concludes at 8 a.m. (EST) Jan. 20 with a closing Mass to be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph L. Coffey of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.
A live television broadcast of the vigil will be provided by the Eternal Word Television Network and will be available via livestream on the national shrine’s website, https://www.nationalshrine.org/mass.
The USCCB pro-life secretariat also is encouraging Catholics across the country to observe a nationwide prayer vigil from Jan. 14 to Jan. 20 to pray for an end to abortion and “a greater respect for all human life.”
Christopher Parker, an O’Hare fellow at America Media, contributed to this report.