Catholic Free Press

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Mass for Life

Posted By March 30, 2012 | 2:44 pm | Local

By Tanya Connor

With students’ help, Bishop McManus told the congregation that packed St. Paul Cathedral Monday about the world’s most important announcement – and a key American document.
He was preaching at the annual Mass for Life for the Feast of the Annunciation.
“What a marvelous witness you give to our … society,” the bishop told students from several Catholic schools in the diocese who helped fill the cathedral. Trinity Catholic Academy Choir, directed by Brandon Vennink, led the music. Bishop Rueger, 16 priests and two deacons participated.
After Mass, pro-lifers to whom Bishop McManus had just presented this year’s diocesan pro-life awards, eagerly had their pictures taken with him.
Emily Holmquist, a home-schooled high school senior from St. Joseph Parish in Fitchburg, received the Ruth V.K. Pakaluk Pro-life Youth Award.
Father William G. O’Brien, a retired priest helping in Brookfield parishes, received the Gospel of Life Award.
Lee Crowley, Sandra Kucharski and Pauline Morris, leaders of the 40 Days for Life Campaign to end abortion, received the Mother Teresa Pro-Life Award.
Bishop McManus started his homily asking students questions.
What does annunciation mean?
The bishop talked about happy announcements in families (like his niece expecting a baby) and the Church (like a pope’s election).
“The announcement we are celebrating today is the most important announcement that has ever been made,” he said. When the archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she had been chosen to be Jesus’ mother, “the entire world held its breath, waiting for Mary’s answer,” he said. He said Mary’s biggest concern was,  “I’m not even married; how can I have a child?”
“Mary must have been scared stiff,” the bishop imagined. But she responded, “I’ll do it because it’s what God wants me to do.”
“Nothing has ever been the same,” Bishop McManus said. He said now we can live in heaven, because one young woman, the age of some of his listeners, placed her life in God’s hands – because she believed when God chooses us to do something, we never have to be afraid.
The bishop asked what document “made us a country” and a student said the Declaration of Independence did.
Bishop McManus asked what truths it says are self-evident? One is life, but there is a growing movement of people who aren’t sure life in all its stages should be protected, he said.
Those who have knowledge of a right must share that knowledge, he said. God is a God of life, and we must protect our lives and those of others.
He asked listeners to pray a daily “Hail Mary” to protect life.


PHOTO:  Father William G. O’Brien, a retired priest helping in Brookfield parishes, received the Gospel of Life Award, is greeted by Allison LeDoux, director of the diocesan Respect Life Office.