Local pro-lifers aren’t letting it rain (or snow) on their parade (or march). Some trips to Friday’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., were cancelled due to winter storm forecasts. But other members of the diocese went to the nation’s capital on their own, and still others planned to participate from home.
“We never give up!” said an e-mail Thursday from the Diocesan Respect Life Office. “Our trip may have gotten snowed out this year, but that won’t stop us from proclaiming the Gospel of Life! Prayer is the best weapon we have to fight the culture of death, so let us continue to pray in a very special way in the coming days!”
One of those opportunities for prayer is the annual Mass from which local marchers leave for the march. Bishop McManus is still scheduled to celebrate that Mass at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at St. Paul Cathedral, though a Respect Life Office e-mail yesterday expressed sadness that the bus trip was cancelled for safety reasons. The e-mail said the bus company notified organizers of “anticipated treacherous road conditions.”
The Mass is to be live-streamed on www.worcesterdiocese.org, accessible by clicking on the link to the live-stream on the home page, the Respect Life Office said. People can also listen live on 1230AM Emmanuel Radio (Worcester area) and 970AM Emmanuel Radio (Southbridge area) by tuning in to the station or visiting www.1230radio.com and clicking on the “listen live” button, or downloading the Live365 app on their smartphones and typing in “Emmanuel Radio” in the app’s search box.
“May our prayers and sacrifices (including the disappointment of those who cannot travel to D.C). bear good fruit for the Cause of Life!” the Respect Life Office e-mail said.
It said more than 30 students from St. Mary High School in Worcester were disappointed that their trip was cancelled, so they are to pray locally Friday and hold the signs they made for the march. The school welcomes everyone to attend Mass at 9 a.m. in Our Lady of Czestochowa Church, 34 Ward St., then adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. From about 10:30-11:30 a.m. students in grades 10-12 are to hold a peaceful prayer vigil across from the Planned Parenthood facility, 495 Pleasant St., where abortions are performed.
Safety was a concern for a group from Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Webster, but not enough to deter them from going to the march. Earlier Thursday, Father Adam Reid, pastor, told The Catholic Free Press by telephone that he and six of his adult parishioners were en route. He said they would represent people from the diocese who cannot go.
“We’re doing the best we can to witness for life despite the snowstorm,” he said. He said they had planned to take a two-wheel drive extended van. When they learned of the forecasts, they rented a four-wheel drive Ford Explorer instead. Only one person planning to go cancelled because of the predicted storm, he said.
“We’re going to be prudent in our decision-making, but we talked about it and decided it was the right thing to do,” he said. He said they left early “to experience a little more of the respect life culture connected to the march, for example, being able to attend the vigil Mass.” That Mass and vigil are in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Father Reid said he hasn’t attended that since his days as a student at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. Friday his group plans to attend Mass again, and some may go to the exhibition of vendors and pro-life organizations before the march, he said. They plan to leave for home right after the march, in hopes of missing the worst of the storm.
Four religious sisters from the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Still River left Tuesday for Washington, D.C., where they sell religious and pro-life items, Sister Katherine Maria told The Catholic Free Press. She said they were to return on Saturday, but now plan to try to come home Friday after the march. The bus company cancelled the trip the students from their school, Immaculate Heart of Mary, were going to take, she said. She said the students were disappointed not to get the day off from school as anticipated. Brothers from the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who would have been chaperons for that trip, are planning instead to pray outside the Planned Parenthood facility in Worcester, she said.
“Along with other groups, we cancelled our bus trip with Holy Cross to the March for Life in light of the impending snowstorm,” Paul Covino, director of campus ministry at Assumption College, said in an e-mail. “We had planned to go to the march on Friday and then attend the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life on Saturday. “The other activity we planned for Friday will continue … adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., as a way to pray in solidarity with those who may still march in Washington and as a witness to our respect for the dignity of all human life.”
“We can still participate in the March for Life ‘virtually’ and unite our prayers for an end to abortion,” the Respect Life Office e-mail said. “Jan. 22, is designated in all dioceses throughout the United States as a particular Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children and there are many ways we can participate.” The diocesan website www.worcesterdiocese.org/jan-22-day-of-prayer lists more local opportunities for prayer and sharing the pro-life message.