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Local contingent heading to Washington for March for Life

Posted By January 16, 2014 | 12:23 pm | Local

By William T. Clew

Busloads of people from throughout the Worcester Diocese are scheduled to leave Tuesday night for Washington, D.C., where they will take part Wednesday in the annual March for Life.
After attending Mass Wednesday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception or the District of Columbia Armory and attending rallies at various venues, including one at noon on the National Mall, the marchers will walk from the Washington Monument to Capitol Hill and the U.S. Supreme Court building. After the march they will board the buses for the return trip to Central Massachusetts. The March for Life has adoption as its theme this year.
Wednesday marks the 41st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision which, in effect, made abortion legal. It also is a day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children, according to the website of the diocesan Respect Life Office.
That office suggests that people can take part in the day of prayer by attending a holy hour for life at their parishes, attend daily Mass or recite the rosary, engage in some sort of fasting or abstinence from meat, take part in the national Nine Days for Life novena from Jan. 18 through Jan. 26, and spend time in prayer and reflection or read from Blessed John Paul II’s encyclical on life, “Evangelium Vitae.”
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said in a recent letter to his fellow bishops that response to last year’s nine-day observance prompted this year’s event to again “pray for the healing and conversion of our national and people impacted by the culture of death.”
The website offers participants several ways to sign up to receive directly a daily simple novena with different intercessions, brief reflections and suggested acts of reparation via email or text message or by using an app for smartphones.
Two buses sponsored by the Respect Life Office, and carrying a total of about 100 passengers, will leave St. Paul Cathedral Tuesday after a 7:30 p.m. Respect Life Mass celebrated by Father Richard F. Reidy, diocesan vicar general, who also will be homilist. Anyone, whether they are traveling to Washington or not, may attend the Mass to pray for an end to abortion, the protection of all human life and for all who will be attending the march.
Allison LeDoux, diocesan director of the Respect Life Office, said there still are openings on the buses. Those wishing more information may email her at
Elizabeth Cotrupi, director of the diocesan youth ministry office, now called New Evangelization Worcester for Youth and Young Adults, said enough young people, most of them from Assumption College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, have already signed up to fill the 29-passenger bus that NEW has contracted for. She said an anonymous sponsor has made a contribution that reduces the bus fee paid by the passengers.
Francis Camosse said teenagers, most of them members of St. Joseph Parish in Charlton, will fill a 55-passenger bus for the trip. He said a family in the parish has paid for the bus and the teenagers will be asked to pay $30 each to help reduce the cost to the family. He said no teen will be refused passage if he or she cannot afford the $30. He said a meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at the church to discuss the meaning of the March for Life.
Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Still River has a full bus of about 55 people, with a waiting list, going to the March for Life, according to Sister Katherine Maria, prioress of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who staff the school. Students, brothers from the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and other chaperones are to go to the march, she said.
Students at the College of the Holy Cross return to class Monday after their Christmas break, but 23 of them are scheduled to leave Tuesday by bus for the March. According to the chaplain’s office at the college, they  are scheduled to go to George Mason University in Arlington, Va., for a rally Tuesday evening. They then will attend a Jesuit Mass at 9:30 a.m. and attend a rally at 11:45 a.m. Jan. 22 before marching to the Supreme Court.
St. Bernadette School in Northborough has teamed up with the Trivium School in Lancaster to fill a 55-passenger bus for the trip. The bus will leave Tuesday after a Mass at 7 p.m. at St. Bernadette Church for the trip to Washington.
St. Anne Parish in Shrewsbury will hold a holy hour for life beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
– Catholic News Service contributed to this report.