When Cardinal Dolan served as celebrant and homilist of the annual archdiocesan Pro-Life Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, he spoke of the approaching 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision establishing a women’s legal right to an abortion.
“We recall with less celebration the fact that this coming Saturday, January 22nd, we will mourn the unfettered abortion license that reigns in our country as we continue to advocate for that supreme and number one human right, civil right, the right to life,” Cardinal Dolan said.
The cardinal then welcomed the Knights of Columbus and the Sisters of Life, and later prayed for them and for the unborn. “We pray in thanksgiving for our beloved Knights of Columbus and our Sisters of Life, particularly in their vibrant promotion of the culture of life,” he said.
Pro-Life Masses, vigils and the March for Life came at a time when abortion has been much in the news. The next day, Jan. 17, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state Supreme Court must rule on the Texas heartbeat abortion law before the law could move forward in federal court, and the U.S. Supreme Court will have a decision in the coming months on the constitutionality of a Mississippi law banning abortions at 15 weeks of pregnancy.
“The pending Supreme Court case has certainly increased media attention on abortion,” Sister Virginia Joy, S.A., director of the archdiocesan Respect Life Office, told CNY. “It has always been important to have the faithful praying and witnessing on behalf of life because each of us has a critical and irreplaceable role in creating a culture of life.
“But this year, after 49 years of legalized abortion, over 60 million aborted children and their often suffering mothers and fathers, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to overturn a grave error.”
Matt Leavy, a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus Henry Stolzenthaler Council 1675 and a parishioner of Holy Child on Staten Island, served with the Knights’ color corps at the Mass.
“It was very inspiring to see the Sisters of Life at the Mass,” said Leavy, 55. “They do such wonderful work, and the Cardinal’s powerful message and just his charismatic presence is a reinforcement of our will to continue this good work.
“We may see some significant changes this year, God willing. We must continue with this, without fail, because it is in God’s hands, but we, by showing our faith, hopefully, can bring this to a head and things will be resolved in a way that benefits the cause for life this year.”
In his homily, Cardinal Dolan reflected on the Mass’ Gospel from John where Jesus performed his first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana.
“One of the best known Gospels of all, we just heard proclaim the wedding feast of Cana when Jesus changes water into wine for that newly married couple,” he said. “It’s beautiful. It’s touching. It’s interesting at the end of the Gospel the evangelist records that Jesus revealed himself in these signs and these miracles.”
Cardinal Dolan said the Church is celebrating a season of revelations—the birth of Jesus, the Epiphany and the baptism of Jesus. He later shared five revelations from the Gospel: Jesus wants to help all married couples; Jesus so loves His mother that it’s hard for Him to refuse her request to help the couple; Jesus calls for transformation, change and conversion of heart; Jesus is the groom and the Church is His bride, and the two are one; and we spend this life preparing for the everlasting wedding feast in heaven.
“This is a good time, see we’re still kind of in the New Year to remember that heaven is our goal,” he said. “This life is just antipasto, the real banquet’s going to be in heaven. This life is fading and transitional. The next life in heaven, the wedding feast of Cana, where the wine is never going to run out and where it’s the best quality of all, that awaits us.
“So you see what I mean by revelation. God is always telling us about Himself and about ourselves, supremely through Jesus.”