New York Catholics can be proud of their record of turnout for the annual March for Life each January.
It’s a masterful organizational accomplishment to move hundreds upon hundreds of people from various parts of the sprawling archdiocese to Washington, D.C., to observe the sad anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Even with the impressive numbers on the trip each year, many more simply cannot make it. If it’s held on a weekday, as it usually is, they may not be able to take the day off from work, or the weather may not cooperate. There are all kinds of reasons why many who might like to stand up in person for life are unable to go.
That’s a big reason why this year’s unique Day for Life at St. Patrick’s Cathedral is so special.
Set for Saturday, Jan. 21—the day before the actual Roe v. Wade anniversary—it will give anyone who wants to observe the occasion a chance to do so on a local level. The fact that it’s scheduled for a weekend makes it all the more convenient.
It’s also timely, in a way, because the Washington March for Life will be held on Friday, Jan. 27—almost a week later than usual—because of the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration and related events expected to draw crowds to the nation’s capital.
The Sisters of Life are organizing the Day for Life, and it has the enthusiastic backing of Cardinal Dolan, who serves as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
The cathedral Day for Life begins at 1 p.m., with a program that includes Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, an opportunity to go to confession, singing the Divine Mercy chaplet and four Holy Hours led by representatives of pro-life groups.
Outside, Sisters of Life will invite people passing by the cathedral to stop in. They’ll give each person they encounter a red rose to place on the altar of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Sister Faustina Maria Pia, S.V., will give the closing talk and reflection on life.
Cardinal Dolan will conclude the day as principal celebrant and homilist at the 5:30 p.m. Vigil Mass. (The cardinal will also celebrate the annual Respect Life Mass at St. Patrick’s sponsored by the Knights of Columbus the next morning at 10:15 a.m.)
The Day for Life at the cathedral will kick off the USCCB’s 9 Days for Life, which is an annual period of prayer and reflection focused on cherishing the gift of every person’s life and which runs from Jan. 21 to 29.
Of course, participating in the Saturday events at the cathedral does not preclude anyone from traveling to Washington for the rally and march.
We wouldn’t be surprised if a good number of people who do attend the cathedral program become so inspired to prayer and reflection on life that they’ll also be inspired to join the national march.
Information on buses leaving from all parts of the archdiocese is available on the cny.org and archny.org websites.
We hope to see lots of New Yorkers there, too.