By Tanya Connor | The Catholic Free Press
“Buses have arrived in DC!” says a Friday morning email from Allison LeDoux, director of the Worcester Diocese’s Respect Life Office. “Mass starts at 7:30. We have good seats!”
Another email announces that it is standing room only in the huge Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. A third shows Worcester Diocesan clergy Deacon Scott Colley and Father Richard F. Reidy in the procession for the Mass.
Mrs. LeDoux reported on something she’d announced at the Mass Thursday night at St. Paul Cathedral in Worcester: Seminarians from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton were leading Friday’s 5 a.m. holy hour in Immaculate Conception’s crypt church. She’d noted that some Worcester Diocesan seminarians study at St. John’s, including Derek Mobilio, formerly a teacher at St. Mary’s Junior/Senior High School in Worcester.
A contingent from St. Mary’s was on one of the three buses that left St. Paul’s after the Mass Thursday, bound for Washington, D.C. That bus also held the contingent from St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School in Worcester and the run-over from a full bus of youth and adults from Trivium School in Lancaster. The third bus held everyone else.
At the Mass Bishop McManus had told how he found material for his homily – from an unexpected email.
He recalled St. John Paul II saying that, for people of faith, there are no coincidences – all good comes from God. The bishop talked about that happening in his life, even the previous day. He was about to write the homily for this pro-life Mass when his secretary gave him an email.
The email’s sender said she’d read his letter in a parish bulletin. She mentioned Project Rachel, a ministry he’d written about, which helps bring God’s mercy and healing to people wounded by abortion. The writer said she still struggles, even after receiving God’s forgiveness for her abortion; the hardest part is to forgive oneself. She said she had another child and feels God is assuring her of his love through this gift.
She said that a few months ago she went to Mass for the first time in a long time – in the church where she grew up. The priest said when people come to him with struggles, he asks, “Are you praying?”
Her answer was, “No.” She said she started praying, asking God’s forgiveness and attending Mass, and she received hope and peace.
Bishop McManus’ voice started to break as he read this touching story of a woman who said she lives with hope, knowing God’s forgiveness, despite her struggle. She affirmed the good work he and the diocese do.
The bishop then told the marchers to go forth being co-workers, like St. Paul’s companions SS. Timothy and Titus, whose feast the Church was celebrating that day. He’d noted that St. Paul told Timothy not to be ashamed of the witness he gave, but to be ready to bear the burden that comes from proclaiming the Gospel.
Those who stayed home, prayed for life
WORCESTER – Father James F. Hoey, a retired priest of the diocese, leads St. Mary’s Junior/Senior High School in a holy hour Friday morning in Our Lady of Czestochowa Church. After Mass, during adoration, students and their principal, Adam Cormier, led “Stations for Life.” In this way they prayed with those from their school, and many others, who were on the March for Life in Washington, D.C., that day.
Photo courtesy of St. Mary’s Junior/Senior High School