“We’ve wandered in the desert for 40 years..." | John Burger | Catholic World Report
10,000 gather for the opening Mass for the National Prayer Vigil for Life in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The New Evangelization and the pro-life movement are converging, and it must begin with each individual Christian, says Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston. The Year of Faith is a perfect opportunity for Catholics to contribute to the culture of life by working on their own sanctity.
The cardinal celebrated the opening Mass for the National Prayer Vigil for Life on the night before thousands of people marched for life to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Some 10,000 people gathered on the evening of January 24 for the Mass, which is held each year at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. As in years past, the pews and aisles were overflowing with people, including many teens and young adults from across the country. Many people had to view the Mass on closed-circuit television screens in the basement crypt church.
Cardinal O’Malley was the principal celebrant and homilist of the Mass because he is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. But he was joined by some 500 priests, deacons and seminarians, bishops and cardinals, making the opening procession some 40 minutes alone. Cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the USCCB; Donald Wuerl of Washington; Francis George of Chicago, and Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Teaxs, were among the concelebrants, as well as Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
The Mass was followed by confessions, a Rosary, night prayer and Holy Hours throughout the night. The vigil concluded on the morning of Jan. 25 with Morning Prayer and a closing Mass, at which Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas was the principal celebrant and homilist.
Participants were then able to attend the March for Life in downtown Washington, along Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building.