By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK
Bitterly cold weather with temperatures in the teens and a punishing wind chill greeted the thousands of brave and faithful souls who again took to the streets of Washington, D.C., on January 22 to “March for Life.” The annual demonstration on the anniversary of 1973’s Roe v. Wade has matured, and while many of the veteran marchers have as well, this largest pro-life event has a deep bench of young supporters who continue to swell the ranks of defenders of human life, particularly in the womb.
Our Holy Father Pope Francis sent particular words of support via Twitter, saying, “I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable.”
This great show of support all the way from Rome will certainly invigorate and strengthen the cause of life in the United States for some time to come. Our thanks and prayers go to the Pontiff for this wonderful gift of prayer and leadership greatly visible to the worldwide Church.
I was accompanied on the March by a group of young adults who have come to the March “family” more recently, within the last two or three years, while seeking to practice the faith with greater seriousness and passion and who are also attracted to the Traditional Latin Mass.
The most vulnerable among us are indeed the unborn who have no voice and, in abortion, no choice. Our Holy Father’s call to show concern and to support “especially the most vulnerable” point to this harsh reality, in which the word “choice” is glibly used to attract support for legalized abortion which eliminates the choice of the child for life completely from among the available options.
A number of Traditional Masses were offered at Old St. Mary’s Church at 5th and H Streets in Washington, D.C., on the morning of the March and attended by groups who responded to publicity through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
A significant event in connection with the March was the Solemn High Mass which followed in the evening also at Old St. Mary’s Church. This Mass is offered as a memorial Mass for Nellie Gray. His Excellency Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois presided in choro. Abbot Dom Philip Anderson of Clear Creek served as priest and preached. He urged the congregation to continue the March for Life, adding his voice to the many who have made it clear, according to the teaching of Christ in His Church, that every human life is sacred from conception until natural death in all its stages and conditions.
The presence of Bishop Paprocki signaled the support and encouragement of the Traditional Mass and devotions for young persons and an increasing number of young families on the part of a number of our bishops. More young families every year are enjoying the richness of the tradition as an exceptional way to raise devoted and faithful Catholic children. The New Evangelization is advanced through catechesis by means of the liturgical year and traditional Catholic customs in the home surrounding feasts of our Lord, our Lady, and the saints.
The friendly and ever-hospitable Fr. Jay Harris hosted the capacity crowd of laity and clerics who filled the sanctuary in choro together with an ample number of acolytes. After the holy rites, the large group of young people was invited by Paul Schultz and Juventutem Michigan to a social and dinner across the street. Juventutem groups from the northeast to the Midwest were represented along with a healthy contingent of Sursum Corda under the care of Canon Stein and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Bishop Paprocki joined the group to offer a prayer and remained to eat and chat with a number of young adults.
The future of the Church looks to be in very good hands under the care of these young people who love and support the Traditional liturgy and seek to hand down the faith effectively in this and other ways as part of the New Evangelization.
This successful annual event will be held again next year by the Paulus Institute for the Propagation of Sacred Liturgy. For more information and to support this and other efforts, you can contact the institute by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to: c/o Paul N. King, president, The Paulus Institute, 308 S. Green St., Berkeley Springs, WV 25411.