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Many heading to March for Life

Posted By January 12, 2012 | 12:02 pm | Featured Article #1
By Tanya Connor The entire 8th grade class from Trinity Catholic Academy in Southbridge is going on the March for Life in Washington, D.C., Jan. 23. Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Still River is canceling classes the day of the march and the next day so students, teachers and parents can attend. About two dozen students from the College of the Holy Cross’ Students for Life group are planning to participate in the massive rally in our nation’s capital and may have other college students going with them. And St. Bernadette Parish has hired a bus which holds 55 people that will leave from Northborough.

By Tanya Connor

The entire 8th grade class from Trinity Catholic Academy in Southbridge is going on the March for Life in Washington, D.C., Jan. 23.
Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Still River is canceling classes the day of the march and the next day so students, teachers and parents can attend.
About two dozen students from the College of the Holy Cross’ Students for Life group are planning to participate in the massive rally in our nation’s capital and may have other college students going with them.
And St. Bernadette Parish has hired a bus which holds 55 people that will leave from Northborough.
“People are always surprised by the number of pro-lifers that show up in Washington and in their own state capitals,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee.
“The crowds are getting bigger and bigger each year and have more young people, which is encouraging for the pro-life movement and a shock for those who think abortion should remain legal,” she told Catholic News Service Jan. 4.
Last week’s Catholic Free Press story about the 39th annual March for Life Jan. 23 in Washington, D.C., brought in more inquiries from interested people, according to Allison LeDoux, director of the Diocesan Respect Life Office. But she said she is still waiting to get their forms, and needs them by Wednesday in order to take two buses instead of just one. After Wednesday more registrations will be taken if there is any space left, she said.
Those wishing to register can do so by mailing her office the forms from the website www.worcesterdiocese.org/respectlife or calling 508-929-4311 for forms.
The annual national March for Life is an opportunity to pray and advocate for an end to abortion. It is held on or around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Jan. 22, 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that, with Doe v. Bolton, legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy in all states.  This year’s theme is “Unite on the life principles to overturn Roe v. Wade and with love protect mothers and preborn children – no exception, no compromise.”
Marchers going on the diocesan buses, a bus from St. Mary Parish in Shrewsbury, and a bus with pastors and parishioners of three Oxford and Webster parishes are to leave from St. Paul Cathedral after the Respect Life Mass there at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22.
Others reported that they are leaving for the march from other places around the diocese.
For the first time, Trinity Catholic Academy in Southbridge is taking its whole eighth-grade class and leaving from the school parking lot instead of the cathedral, said Colleen Casey, middle school religion and science teacher, who takes interested eighth-graders each year. This year all 14 eighth-graders opted to go, and six adults, primarily parents, are going with them, she said.
The students and parents raised the $2,000 needed for their trip by running in a relay team in the 26.2 mile Hartford Marathon, Miss Casey said.
They are to leave in the church van and another vehicle Jan. 21 after a blessing from Father Peter J. Joyce, pastor of Blessed John Paul II Parish, to which the school belongs, Miss Casey said.
After arriving, they are to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and attend Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and Jan. 22 see some of the Smithsonian Museums and memorials. Parents of a seventh-grader and a graduate of the school are letting them stay in their time share, she said.
Jan. 23 the students are to attend the youth rally at The Washington Avenue Armory, Miss Casey said. She said they didn’t get to attend a youth rally last year, as tickets sold out in five minutes on the Internet. This year, when she learned tickets were being divided among the dioceses, she told the Worcester Diocese’s Respect Life Office how many the school needed, she said.
Deacon Jonathan Slavinskas, who is preparing for priesthood at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., and served at Blessed John Paul II Parish, said he plans to join the class in Washington and that while home on vacation he told them they are doing God’s work, giving a voice to the voiceless.
Fifty-seven people are to take a bus to the march from Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Still River, said Sister Marie-Jean of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a teacher who is the school’s pro-life coordinator.
About 50 of the bus-riders are students in grades 7-12 and graduates of the school, she said. Others are parents and brothers from the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They are to leave at 9 p.m. Jan. 22 and pray the rosary en route.
The Sisters are leaving a day or two earlier in a van, she said. Before joining the march, they are to staff a booth – with religious items and materials about their pro-life apostolate – in the Hyatt Regency hotel.
Those on the bus are to attend a traditional Latin Mass and a March for Life rally before marching, and head home after the march, getting in around midnight, Sister Marie-Jean said. She said there is no school for them the day of the march or the next day.
A bus which holds about 55 people is leaving from St. Bernadette Parish in Northborough, according to Virginia Boland, administrator of religious education.
At least 22 students from the College of the Holy Cross are taking a bus Jan. 21 to the March for Life, said Jesuit Father John Gavin, assistant professor of religious studies, who works with the college’s Students for Life group and is going with them.
Students from Merrimack College in North Andover may join them, but they have not had requests from students at local colleges, he said.
The students are to gather for Mass at Ciampi Hall, the Jesuit Residence, at 8 p.m. Jan. 21, and leave at 9:30 p.m., he said.
Jan. 22 they are to attend a conference for university students and a vigil at the Basilica, he said. Jan. 23 they are to join people from other Jesuit colleges and high schools for Mass at St. Aloysius Parish and for the march, then board the bus to return home, he said. They should get back to Worcester about midnight, in time for the first day of classes Jan. 24.
“The students here are committed to defending the sanctity of life from conception to natural death,” Father Gavin said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for them to join with young people from around the country, have an exchange of ideas, and to join in prayer as well. Our combined prayers, I hope, will turn this around, so we can return to the protection of life.”
Marking 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

CNS Photo

By Tanya Connor
There’s something new to use this year for the Jan. 23 Day of Penance and Prayer for abortion, the day the 39th annual March for Life is being held in Washington, D.C.
The “Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life” in the new English-language translation of the Roman Missal may be used for this day, said Allison LeDoux, director of the Worcester Diocesan Respect Life Office.
In a letter to people of the diocese, to be included in parish bulletins, Bishop McManus encourages all to observe the Day of Penance and Prayer, and invites everyone to the Respect Life Mass at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at St. Paul Cathedral.
At that Mass he is to bless those leaving afterwards for the March for Life. One or two diocesan buses and at least two buses representing four parishes are expected to leave from there, those involved said.
The annual march protests Roe v. Wade, the Jan. 22, 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that, with Doe v. Bolton, legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy in all states. The march is an opportunity to petition the president, members of Congress, and the Supreme Court to stop abortion and to pray for a restoration of the protection of human life.
When Jan. 22 falls on a weekend, as it does this year, the march and the Day of Penance and Prayer are moved to a weekday, so marchers can lobby their legislators, Mrs. LeDoux said.
She said in 2001 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called for the Day of Penance and Prayer, in 2002 the Holy See confirmed it, in 2003 it was added to the Roman Missal and in 2004 it went into effect.
“In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 … 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,” says the adaptation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
In his letter Bishop McManus writes about the “devastating effects” of abortion, and brings up another threat on the local horizon.
“We live in an age where new threats to human dignity, particularly in its most vulnerable stages, are emerging at an increasingly rapid pace, including the current threat of the legalization of physician-assisted suicide here in Massachusetts,” he writes. He calls for vigilance, prayer, working to transform the culture of death into a culture of life and “sharing the message of the merciful and reconciling love of Christ. …”
Mrs. LeDoux said she hopes to fill two diocesan buses to transport 55 people each to the March for Life. So far 22 people are signed up, including students and chaperones from St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic High School in Worcester, and 25 more people have expressed interest, she said.
She encouraged those interested to register by Jan. 13 by mailing her office the forms from the website www.worcesterdiocese.org/respectlife or calling 508-929-4311 for forms. After Jan. 13, she will take more registrations if space is still available. The cost for the diocesan buses is $90 per person.
Three South County parishes that have filled a bus with 47 people realize now that they could have filled two buses, said Father Adam Reid, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Webster. He said he and Father Michael J. Roy, pastor of St. Roch in Oxford, and Father Richard F. Reidy, pastor of St. Ann in North Oxford, plan to take the bus with their parishioners.
People on the waiting list can go on the diocesan buses, which their bus is to meet up with for the Mass at St. Paul’s and shadow on the trip, he said.
He said the three parishes rented their own bus to lower the cost and to provide them with a meeting place – St. Roch’s – where marchers can park instead of driving to Worcester.
St. Mary Parish in Shrewsbury is taking a bus from there which will stop at St. Paul’s for the Mass, said John Harding, chairman of the parish’s Respect Life Ministry.
Among those taking this bus are St. Mary’s parishioners and students and chaperons from its school, St. Mary Elementary, and from St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury and Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School in Worcester, he said.
Dr. Harding said about 40 people are signed up, and there are about 15 seats left.
“We want to make it affordable,” he said, adding that the parish is subsidizing the bus with money donated for such purposes, including some from Father Reid, who organized parish marchers when he was associate pastor there. He said they especially wanted to encourage young people to go.
At least five of the six winners of the Respect Life Ministry’s essay and poster contest from St. Mary Elementary are not using their prize of free tickets to the March, Dr. Harding said. So these tickets are being offered to others among the 35 contestants, and the adults accompanying them, he said. (Winners also received U.S. savings bonds.)
For the contest, students in seventh and eighth grade in the school and parish religious education program were invited to address one of three topics – abortion, euthanasia or the disabled – showing how life is sacred.
St. Mary’s bus will drop marchers in Washington in time for Mass Jan. 23 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Dr. Harding said.
Then they will go to the Russell Senate Office Building for speeches organized by Massachusetts Citizens For Life and visit their senators’ offices, he said.
Next they will go to the Cannon House Office Building, where they will stop at Congressman James McGovern’s office and eat in the cafe, he said.
They will then join the march, and afterwards head back to Shrewsbury, he said.
The diocesan buses are expected to arrive back at St. Paul Cathedral about 1 a.m. Jan. 24, Mrs. LeDoux said.
Mrs. LeDoux said resources for observing the Day of Penance and Prayer were included in the Respect Life Program mailed to all parishes in September and can also be found at www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/ and at www.worcesterdiocese.org/respectlife by clicking on “March for Life” and scrolling down that page to “Parish Resources.” Also on that page are registration forms and other pertinent information for attending the March for Life.

PHOTO: March for Life participants make their way up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building in Washington Jan. 24, 2011. Tens of thousands of people from across the United States are expected to gather in the nation’s capital Jan. 23 for this year’s March for Life. (CNS photo/Peter Lockley)

Events in Washington, around US mark 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

By Carol Zimmermann

Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — One thing that always stands out in the annual marches and rallies in Washington and across the country marking the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion is the crowd.

“People are always surprised by the number of pro-lifers that show up in Washington and in their own state capitals,” said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee.

“The crowds are getting bigger and bigger each year and have more young people, which is encouraging for the pro-life movement and a shock for those who think abortion should remain legal,” she told Catholic News Service Jan. 4.

And based on expected turnouts, this year will be no exception.

Tens of thousands of people from across the United States are expected to gather in the nation’s capital Jan. 23 for this year’s March for Life in Washington with the theme: “Unite on the life principles to overturn Roe v. Wade and with love protect mothers and preborn children — no exception, no compromise.”

The event falls on a Monday, the day after the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, to allow participants to visit their representatives on Capitol Hill after a noon rally on the National Mall and a march along Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court.

Next year’s march and rally in Washington is slated for Friday Jan. 25 because the Jan. 22 anniversary will fall on a Tuesday, the day after public ceremonies for the presidential inauguration, and organizers said they were not able to secure an adequate number of hotel rooms.

The night before this year’s rally, March for Life organizers are planning a mini-rally in Lafayette Park across from the White House. They are also sponsoring a youth rally that night at a Washington hotel.

A capacity crowd of about 20,000 pilgrims is expected to fill the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the annual National Prayer Vigil for Life, which begins with a Jan. 22 vigil Mass. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will be the principal celebrant and homilist.

Marchers are invited to stay in the basilica’s lower level to sleep overnight and participate in various services, including a rosary, confessions, hourly holy hours, night prayer and morning prayer, concluding with a morning Mass celebrated by New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, USCCB president.

For the 16th year, the Archdiocese of Washington will sponsor its annual pro-life youth Mass and rally the morning of Jan. 23. The popularity of the event prompted the archdiocese to hold this event in two sports venues last year– the Verizon Center and the D.C. Armory — to accommodate a crowd totaling about 28,000.

The event includes a concert, confessions, praying the rosary, and Mass, before most of the crowd heads to the annual March for Life.

After the March for Life the rallying-spirit will continue with several pro-life organizations sponsoring the National Pro-Life Youth Rally near the Supreme Court.

Other Washington events related to the Roe anniversary include the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life at Jesuit-run Georgetown University Jan. 22 for college and high school students featuring a keynote address by Philadelphia Cardinal Charles J. Chaput; two Rock for Life concerts — Jan. 21 and 22; speeches at the Supreme Court during the march sponsored by the Silent No More Awareness Campaign; and a Jan. 23 Mass at St. Aloysius Church in Washington sponsored by the Ignatian Pro-Life Network, a union of pro-life groups from Jesuit high schools, colleges universities and parishes.

Although Washington draws the biggest crowd making a stand against legalized abortion, similar events take place on a smaller scale across the country.

For the eighth year, the West Coast Walk for Life expects to draw thousands of pro-life supporters to San Francisco Jan. 21. Thousands more people around the country will attend local events sponsored by their dioceses and pro-life organizations.

For the second year, the Midwest March for Life will hold a banquet dinner Jan. 18 and a march and rally the next day in Jefferson City, Mo., the state capital.

“We feel the Midwest is ripe for a huge event,” said Kathy Forck, coordinator of Columbia (Mo.) 40 Days for Life, a local group that is part of a national campaign to end abortion. Forck hoped this year’s turnout would exceed last year’s, especially since the March for Life in Washington and the West Coast Walk draw so many participants.

Tobias, who began her term as National Right to Life president last April, said a number of the state rallies this year will likely focus on new legislation passed in five states that prohibits abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, the stage of development when a fetus is said to feel pain.

Fetal pain legislation passed in Nebraska in 2010 and in Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma and Alabama last year.

For details on plans in the Worcester Diocese go to: http://www.worcesterdiocese.org/respectlife/NewsandEvents/MarchforLife/tabid/519/Default.aspx