The Diocese of Raleigh Annual Mass for Life was celebrated by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge on Saturday, January 14, 2012. The 8:00 a.m. Mass was held at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Raleigh, beginning a day-long schedule of pro-life activities. Among the concelebrants were Msgr. David D. Brockman, Vicar General of the Diocese, and Msgr. John Williams, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Prior to Mass, a prayer service was held for children who have been memorialized during Project Rachel retreats the past 16 years. The prayer service was conducted by Father Richard Rohrer, pastor of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Church.
In his homily, Bishop Burbidge shared the story of New Orleans Saints football player Jimmy Graham, who was born in Goldsboro and had a difficult childhood, spending time in group homes. The Bishop told of how Graham came to think his life was worth less than a hundred dollars, but how through the Lord’s grace and special people, today he knows the truth that his life is of “infinite worth and value.”
Bishop Burbidge said, “We know the reason: because we are created in the image and likeness of God who’s very Spirit lives and dwells within us.” Citing examples of those who may find that truth difficult to believe, the Bishop said, it is our mandate to “help others, especially the most vulnerable, to understand and believe they are of infinite worth; that all of life is sacred and every person is of equal dignity.”
At the conclusion of Mass, Mrs. Jackie Bonk, Diocesan Pro-Life Director, noted the importance of the day. “We have all been fed by the liturgy, and today we are invited to take what we have received from the liturgy into the public square.”
Citing a 2006 public opinion survey that indicated that 64% of people 18-30 are pro-life, Mrs. Bonk said that is a number larger than any other demographic. She said there is no doubt, “The younger generation will be the change agents of this dark culture.”
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Watch Bishop Burbidge’s homily (Windows Media)
Read Bishop Burbidge’s homily
The Mass for Life was followed by Second Annual Diocesan Love My Life Youth Rally and later with participation in the North Carolina March for Life. (Please see story on the Youth Rally and the march.)
Above: Father Richard Rohrer and Mrs. Jackie Bonk, left, during prayer service prior to Mass for Life, for children memorialized at Project Rachel retreats. (Click image to view larger.)