“Almost without exception, these women and couples were deeply conflicted,” he said. “Most experienced a very deep and real anguish.”
He said that for many of these people, “it seemed their only option was to have an abortion, but deep within, they knew it was a tragic choice with lasting consequences.”
“What is needed so badly in all such situations is a witness to love and to life,” said Lori.
That witness, he said, is provided through the work of pro-life ministries.
The archbishop praised these ministries, singling out the USCCB’s “Walking with Moms in Need,” the Sisters of Life, pregnancy centers, and Project Rachel. Project Rachel assists women and men who are post-abortive and seeking spiritual healing and renewal.
“In all these ways and more, the Church seeks to bring light, healing, and hope, thus witnessing to the beauty of life, and ‘building a culture of life,’ one mother and child at a time,” he said.
Lori then spoke to those attending the Mass, telling them to “go forth from this Mass with renewed resolve to reach out to a family member, a neighbor, or a fellow parishioner, to encourage them to join in this great cause for life,” and to “reach out in a personal way to help a mother and a child in need.”
“This is our time to create a new culture of life in America,” he said.
The opening Mass at the Prayer Vigil for Life was celebrated in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, were among the dozens of bishops and priests present.
While the Mass was being said, the dissenting group Catholics for Choice projected messages supportive of abortion rights on the basilica’s bell tower.
The Prayer Vigil for Life concludes at 8:00 a.m. on Jan. 21, with a closing Mass. That Mass will be celebrated by O’Malley.
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