Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Today is a Day of Prayer and Penance in the United States

Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to being aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before he was born, and then just after birth, experienced the world’s rejection. And every elderly person…even if he is ill or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the ‘culture of waste’ suggests!
Pope Francis, Sept. 20, 2013
Today marks the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the U.S.

Since that decision, more than 55 million children's lives have been lost to abortion. That doesn't count those who suffer the loss after they are gone.

Hence the Church's establishment of today as a national day of penance for abortion.
“In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass 'For Peace and Justice' (no. 22 of the 'Masses for Various Needs') should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day.”
– General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 373
My prayers are with those marching in Washington D.C. today as a visible sign . Someday I would love to be able to attend that March.

Actually, someday I'd really love to not have to have a March because our hearts have all changed enough that we value life itself for the precious thing it is, without having to "be" or "do" anything special. Just for itself.

Until that day, we work and pray.

The Dallas March for Life was this weekend and we were heartened by the huge crowds and the media coverage. Once again I cast my mind back to the first March for Life we attended when the organizers were ecstatic because they'd doubled the usual number ... to 1,000. How ashamed we were at that moment that we'd never come before. We haven't missed a March since then and have been blessed to see God's goodness reflected in the thousands who now march for life. I think there must have been something like 8,000 people there.

Whoever handles the media has stepped up their game and was able to get all the local television stations' attention, except for CBS. Extra kudos to WFAA, channel 8, for being respectful enough to call us "pro-life" marchers instead of "anti-abortion" marchers, the way the other stations did. We had lovely weather, in the 60s, unlike most of the country where it is freezing today as they march for life.


  1. It so great to hear how all the 'local' marches have grown. Our family always went together locally when I was growing up. The 'big one' in DC is one of the most positive and joy-filled things I've ever participated in-even though it was *chilly* (the other prime contender being marathons!). I'm not a particularly emotional person, but man, all those crowds of happy people are an immensely moving sign of hope. And so diverse! Young, old, religious, atheist, from every ethnic background possible (we even saw groups representing Italy and Canada), but all united and filled with such peace, hope, and joy. It's almost a little foretaste of heaven, in that way, I think.

  2. It's a sad anniversary. I have a quote from Dostoyevski on my blog to commererate the tragedy and hopefully offer some consolation:
    “The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
    The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”

    Finally this year I cleared my work schedule to get down to the DC march but then the evening before we got socked with 9 inches of snow. It just wasn't reasonable to attempt getting down there.