My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Each year, the Pro-Life movement comes together for the March for Life in Washington, D.C. This year, it was scheduled for Friday, Jan. 19. This annual event provides an opportunity for us to gather in our Nation’s capital and march down Constitution Avenue, ending at the Supreme Court, where the decision to make abortion legal in the United States has set a damaging path, reducing human life to a choice. It is unfortunate that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the beginning of human life, its innate dignity and the possibility of terminating life.
The March for Life has become a reminder to us that these events, especially the legalization of abortion in the United States, are injustices that must be overturned. This may not happen all at once. However, any attempt to limit the number of abortions is a step in the right direction. Notwithstanding the present political climate, which might lend some hope to future curtailment of abortion, it is our responsibility as Catholic Christians to work for the elimination of this stain on our national conscience.
The Respect Life movement is active and alive in the Diocese of Brooklyn. There are several prayer vigils as well as sidewalk counseling outside abortion clinics taking place throughout the year, especially by the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants founded by Msgr. Philip Reilly. Recently, a book was published by Frederick W. Marks, Ph.D., who chronicled the history of the Pro-Life movement in our Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens, especially speaking of the tireless efforts of Msgr. Reilly.
Also, Rosary for Life promotes reverence and respect for the God-given gift of life, especially the life of the unborn. There are countless organizations such as The Bridge to Life and the Life Center of New York that provide services to families that need support during crisis pregnancies.
A post-abortion ministry supported by the Diocese of Brooklyn, Rachel’s Helper, provides an opportunity for women who had an abortion and are seeking spiritual healing from that experience in a small-group setting.
In November, the Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis will be sponsoring a Mass of Remembrance and Healing for Pregnancy and Infant Loss. A special invitation will be extended to parents, grandparents and siblings who grieve the death of children as a result of miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion or early infant death.
Not all of us are able to participate in the March for Life in Washington, or even these weekly prayer vigils. However, as we come close to the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we can join thousands of other Catholics across the United States in following “9 Days for Life” (9daysforlife.com), sponsored by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities (usccb.org/prolife). 9 Days for Life is a “digital pilgrimage” of prayer and action focused on cherishing the gift of every person’s life. A multi-faceted novena highlighting a different intention each day provides reflections, bonus information, and suggested actions. Join to receive the novena through the 9 Days for Life app, daily emails or daily texts.
Annually on the last Saturday of January at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. James, the Long Island Chapter of the Knights of Columbus (Kings & Queens Counties) sponsors a Pro Vita Mass to pray, honor and promote people and causes within our diocese dedicated to the Right to Life Movement.
Special awards are presented each year at this Mass. This year, the Bishop Thomas V. Daily Pro Vita Award will be presented to Kenneth Latham of Brooklyn, and to Kevin and Susan Moore of Queens. The Knights have nominated me for the Father Michael J. McGivney Medal for Life. As a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, I will gratefully accept.
In the past, the Knights of Columbus have honored those advocating against abortion, those helping formally incarcerated people, those who care for the dying among others with the intention to always honor those who help promote the dignity of the human person. I take this time to offer my sincere thanks to the Officers and Members of the Long Island Chapter and the Knights of Columbus in our Diocese for their invaluable contribution to the promotion of life in Brooklyn, Queens and beyond.
First, we must pray for the respect and protection of every person and his or her life using short prayer guidelines with different intentions – reflections that are available each day.
Second, we can pledge together in prayer and action and fellowship with others who share our belief.
Finally, we can share our experience online through the modern means of social media. You may sign up now and participate beginning Thursday, Jan. 18 and ending on Friday, Jan. 26 (9daysforlife.com). But if you miss the start date, you can still join for the remaining days of prayer.
The protection of human life merits putting out into the deep, no matter what the dangers or inconvenience. Life is worth any sacrifice to preserve. Join in some of the Pro-Life activities mentioned above to make the defense of life a real effort on behalf of all Catholics.