January of each year is marked by several significant Masses, marches and important celebrations conducted by the Catholic Church in the U.S. and the Diocese of Raleigh. Key among them is the annual Respect Life events held in Washington, D.C., and Raleigh to mark the anniversary of the controversial U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of abortion.
January 22, 2013, will mark the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Each year, hundreds of thousands of pro-life supporters gather in the nation’s capital for prayers and to hold the annual March for Life. The 2013 march will be held on Friday, January 25, due to the Presidential Inauguration that will be held on January 20. The change in date will allow for an orderly flow of people attending the inauguration festivities to depart and those planning to attend the march and the Vigil Mass and prayer service on the 24th to arrive and have access to hotel rooms.
Thousands of Catholics from the Diocese of Raleigh and the Diocese of Charlotte will be making their way to Washington to attend the North Carolina Mass for Life, held each year at the Basilica of the National Shrine at 11:30 a.m. The Mass is celebrated by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge and the Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis, joined by priests, deacons, seminarians and laity from both Dioceses. Following the Mass, the North Carolina contingent makes its way to the National Mall, where they join hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates on a march past Congress and on to the Supreme Court. Many N.C. Catholics travel to Washington, D.C., by car, while hundreds take buses coordinated by parishes throughout both Dioceses.
The Roe v. Wade decision is also marked in Raleigh, the week prior to the DC March for Life. This year, the N.C. Rally for Life will take place on Saturday, January 19 at Nash Square in Raleigh at 1:00 p.m.
At 8:00 that morning, Bishop Burbidge will celebrate the annual Diocesan Respect Life Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Raleigh. At 10:30 a.m., the Bishop will celebrate a Mass for teenagers at Sacred Heart Cathedral. That will be followed by the third annual Love My Life Rally for the teens. Last year’s rally attracted more than 600 teens from throughout the Diocese. They will then join Bishop Burbidge for the afternoon rally and march through downtown Raleigh.
Other events taking place in January are National Migration Week (January 6-12), National Vocations Week (January 13-19), and the Week of Christian Unity (January 18-25). Additional information on the celebration of these events will be posted on the Diocesan website in the coming days.