Washington D.C., Jan 26, 2017 / 17:06 pm
In a culture where abortion is prevalent, no one’s rights are safe, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York insisted at a national pro-life Mass before the March for Life.
“We come together this sacred evening in a church we claim as a sanctuary, in a land historically termed a sanctuary, on a planet the creator intended as an environment of sanctuary,” said Cardinal Dolan, chair of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, in his homily at the March for Life vigil Mass on Thursday.
“Why?” he asked. “To reclaim the belief that the mother’s womb is the primal sanctuary, where a helpless, innocent, fragile, tiny baby is safe, secure, nurtured and protected.”
The March for Life vigil Mass was held Thursday evening at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
The national march is the largest pro-life rally in the world, annually drawing hundreds of thousands of walkers. It is held on or around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of Jan. 22, 1973 that mandated legal abortion throughout the nation.
Cardinal Dolan celebrated the Mass, joined by four other cardinals, 40 bishops, 320 priests, and 90 deacons. In addition, 545 seminarians were present, and an estimated 12,000 participants attended.
The Mass began a 14-hour overnight prayer vigil for life featuring devotions, confessions, and holy hours, that will conclude with a closing Mass at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, celebrated by Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans. At estimated 20,000 pilgrims will attend the Masses and vigil.
“In order for us to have a joyful pro-life witness, we need to be in a good place with God,” Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-life communications at the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat on Pro-Life Activities, told CNA.