.- More than 20,000 Catholic teens and young adults from across the country will fill Washington, D.C.’s largest sports arena for the annual Rally for Life and Youth Mass, marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States.
Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington will be joined by dozens of bishops and hundreds of priests for the event.
The rally will be held Jan. 22 at the Verizon Center just north of the White House and National Mall. The young people will be offered the sacrament of confession all morning. The rally will begin at 8:45 and feature Christian recording artists and composers such as Steve Angrisano, Janelle and the ONE80 Band, and the “Who Do You Say I Am?” Band.
The youth mass will begin at 10 AM. Archbishop Wuerl will be principal celebrant. Fr. Bill Byrne, Catholic chaplain for the University of Maryland, will give the homily.
Following the Mass, many of the bishops and youth will participate in the National Rally and March for Life, starting at noon on the National Mall. Archbishop Wuerl also will participate in the annual Vigil Mass for Life, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m., at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The Archdiocese of Washington held its first rally and Mass for Life over 12 years ago, adding locations around the city as demand grew.
In 2004, the event was moved to the Verizon Center, the city’s largest venue. Still, hundreds of youth had to be turned away when the center reached capacity last year.
To accommodate the growing crowds, a second, smaller rally and Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, will be held at DAR Constitution Hall. The times are the same.