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  • Jan
  • 23

Bishop sends off youth to March for Life

Posted By January 23, 2015 | 3:15 pm | Lead Story #1
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By Tanya Connor

Every Catholic must fully embrace the Gospel of Life, who is Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, Bishop McManus said at Wednesday’s send-off Mass for those headed to the March for Life.
How Catholics do that differs for each person, but when they die they will stand before God, who will likely ask, “What did you do to protect the most innocent in the womb?” the bishop said. “And I would suggest we better have a pretty good answer,” he added.
Bishop McManus was preaching at the Mass at St. Paul Cathedral which members of the diocese attend just before leaving for the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Many who do not go to Washington attend as well.
The march in opposition to abortion is held on or near the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the Jan. 22, 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy in all states.
Three buses left the cathedral for the march after the Mass.
One was to take 37 students and six chaperones from Trivium School in Lancaster, said Sandra Kucharski, who was handling the sign-in sheets.
She said another bus was to take marchers from two Catholic junior/senior high schools in Worcester: St. Mary’s (23 students, three chaperones) and St. Peter-Marian (22 students, three chaperones).
The other bus was to take 43 other people, including three priests and two permanent deacons, Miss Kucharski said.
Father Adam Reid, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Webster, said eight of his parishioners were joining him. The other clergy were Father Richard F. Reidy, vicar general of the diocese; Father Michael J. Roy, pastor of St. Roch Parish in Oxford; Deacon David F. Vaillancourt, of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Milford, and Deacon Scott Colley, of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Athol.
At the Mass but not on the bus were Worcester pastors and deacons: Father Ryszard Polek, of Our Lady of Czestochowa; Father H. Edward Chalmers, of St. Stephen’s; Deacon Colin M. J. Novick, of St. Paul’s Cathedral and Deacon John F. LeDoux, of Our Lady of the Rosary, whose wife, Allison, directs the diocesan Respect Life Office.
Other groups from the diocese planning to go on the march did not take buses from the cathedral.
“I promised the Lord I would go a trinity of times by the time I was 70,” Loretta O’Brien, of Sacred Heart in Webster, said after Mass, explaining why she was heading for her third march, despite a painful bout of shingles. She’s 71, having missed last year because the diocesan trip was cancelled due to winter weather, she said.
She said she was going in part because she regrets aborting her baby, whom she named Colleen Elizabeth, in 1978, in fear that she could not afford to care for her.
On the bus with his peers, Rainiery Tavarez, a junior at St. Mary’s High School, was carrying his handmade poster, which said, “Your mother gave you the gift of life, pass it on.”
Waiting for Trivium’s bus to take off, Martha Thrun, a ninth-grader, said the trip – her first to the march – was going to be fun. Asked what she was looking forward to, she said, “Everything.” Her classmate Emma Kearney decided that she liked being with friends.
In his homily Bishop McManus talked about the young martyr St. Agnes, whose feast day it was, dedicating her life as a witness to Jesus at 12.
He asked that those who were going on the march to witness for life take a look at the witnesses all around them.
“I believe you will find the vast majority are young people … who have grown up in a country … that has legalized the slaughter” of the unborn, he said. While this is not a crime legally, it is a crime, he said.
The national media will again pay scant attention to the march, but many people will learn anyway that no one is too young to witness to the Gospel of Life, he said. He noted how the first reading at the Mass spoke of God choosing the weak to shame the strong.    “When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, the social justice cause” was civil rights for African-Americans, championed by Martin Luther King, who came from an obscure background, the bishop said.
He told marchers that the next day they would be at the site in Washington where Rev. King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. His dream recognized that all human beings have dignity which comes from their Creator, he said.
“This one man set off a type of revolution” still to be completed, he said. He continued: “Our beloved Church has a dream … that some day … this law (legalizing abortion) will be overturned, because a law … that flaunts God’s own eternal law is no law.” A country that allows this affront to the common good and public morality can hardly be called the home of the free and the brave, he said.