I just got home from the city’s Roe memorial events. It was awesome. I’d say the march was at least twice as big as last year! That makes me happy. I hope it grows more every year!
I met Julie and her husband Tom at the train station, and we rode downtown together. On one of the little electronic marquees on the train, there was an ad for Planned Parenthood, of all things. I noticed it was entirely in Spanish.
We got to the cathedral around 9:00, an hour before Mass, and I’m glad we did, because there were already people gathering! We got great seats near the middle of the church.
Lots of people were praying the Rosary at an abortion mill, but I didn’t fare so well at that last year–my body couldn’t take the cold, and I ended up missing most of the actual praying. So this year, I just prayed inside the cathedral. It was lovely. The organ was playing softly, and it is just such a beautiful, ethereal place.
Before long, throngs began pouring in. It’s always so impressive and heart-warming to see the huge diversity of people. Most of them were young people–children, teens, college-age. But there were people of all ages. All races. Priests, religious, laypeople. It was just awesome to see so many different kinds of people come together as one family. I saw some of my Dominican family, of course, though didn’t get a chance to speak with them.
The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Farrell, along with a number of diocesan and religious priests. The Knights of Columbus were there in full regalia. I thought the liturgy was lovelier and more solemn than last year. Last year, there was a band up at the front of the cathedral. This year, it was organ and choir, and a lady cantor with a lovely voice.
Bishop Farrell’s homily was outstanding. He really encouraged us not to give up hope and to keep on working to create a Culture of Life in this nation, so that even if pro-abortion laws are on the books, they will be inoperative and inconsequential. The key to eliminating abortion is not so much in repealing abortion laws as making them irrelevant. He also spoke of opposition to abortion as being a fundamental human ideal–not a religious ideal, and definitely not just somebody’s opinion. I thought that was really good, because our opponents just love to make it about religion–and it’s not. Never has been, never will be. It is integral to our Catholic faith, but it is not a Catholic invention or opinion. He also emphasized that we must stand up for this human ideal in public–not just in private. But most of all, he encouraged us never, ever to give up hope. Because our Lord is with us, and His grace will keep us going, no matter how hard or even impossible things may appear. There is always hope.
In the course of the Mass, there was a special ceremony of commemoration–the Procession of Roses. A representative born in each year since 1973 comes forward and places a red rose in a basket before the altar. Each person and each rose represents about 1.2 million people whose lives were violated and destroyed before they were even born. It was so hard not to weep. I was born in 1976, and I often think about all the people who would have been born the same year as me… people who might have become my friends, my classmates, my co-workers… maybe my enemy, but as hard as it may be to remember, our enemies are human beings too, and as such they deserve life as much as any of us. That is why Christ commanded us to love them.
I had the special honor of receiving Communion from the hand of my bishop–that was a first for me! I think he is a wonderful father and a wonderful shepherd. He especially loves the young people, and was really happy that so many came out to support respect for life. He sees them, and treasures them, as our future–and I have to say, we have a bright one!
Bishop Farrell instructed us to make today’s march a prayer and a witness before God and man. And I think we did pretty well. Today’s march, even as it was much larger, was more organized and a little more quiet and more focused than last year’s. Of course, a cheer rose whenever one of the onlookers showed support. Drivers honked their horns… one driver was clapping her hands in her car, and another gave a thumbs-up. You can’t help but love that! And who knows, maybe those onlookers will come and march next year.
The one thing I hope will be improved next year is that there will be more loudspeakers! The crowd was so large, that you couldn’t hear the speakers at the rally or at the courthouse. Julie and I were straining our ears, but without much luck. The crowds are sure to grow in the future, so I am sure the organizers will make suitable arrangements.
Well, these are just some highlights off the top of my head. I will post more later–including some photos! Alas, it wasn’t until we were at the courthouse that I realized I had my camera with me! I’ll try to post some soon.
Right now, I am off to my parish church for the Sunday Vigil Mass!
And, here are my photos!