Approximately 900 teenagers attended the annual Diocesan Love My Life Rally Saturday, January 19, 2013, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh. This year, the event was preceded by a Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge at the Cathedral, which overflowed out the doors, in addition to another 250 teens and adults who were viewing the Mass on closed circuit television in the adjoining Cathedral School hall.
One of the themes of Bishop Burbidge’s homily was “You Are More,” the focus of the Rally that took place following the Mass. “We must believe with all our being,” Bishop Burbidge said, “that we are so much more than how our world often categorizes or labels us. We are more precious in His sight than we can ever imagine and so are each one of our brothers and sisters.”
“If we are to defend the sacredness of all human life,” Bishop Burbidge advised, “we must realize that what we do today cannot be viewed merely as an annual event, but rather as a daily calling. Our Mass and Rally today must renew us so that we pray ever more fervently for the unborn, for their mothers and fathers and for all those impacted by the horrible consequences of abortion.”
At the conclusion of Mass, the teens packed a large tent set up on the Cathedral grounds, where they were treated to and joined in singing songs of praise. The featured speaker was Sr. Miriam Heidland, a member of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.
Sr. Miriam’s message was one of hope and healing. In an interview prior to the rally, Sr. Miriam said the reality she wanted to impart to the teenagers was that, “No matter what is going on in your life, or what’s happened to you, Christ comes to restore that, because he knows what we need, he cares about us.”
And in her talk, she made that point most effectively. Several times she spoke of the “brokenness” we all share. Sr. Miriam told the teens, “Too often we settle for mediocrity because of our brokenness. We think, ‘I can never be truly great or noticed by God.’” She said, “God knows you. He doesn’t recycle people. You are unique for whom you are and He made you.”
She ended with a very personal story, telling the teenagers that her being was the result of an unplanned pregnancy between two unmarried teens. “My mother fought to keep me, even though she was tempted to abort me.” Sr. Miriam told of being raised by adoptive parents who had longed for a child and were blessed when she came into their lives.
“Who I am as a person,” she said, “does not depend on whether my birth parents wanted me or not. I’m a person because God created me.”
Immediately following the rally, the teenagers and adults who were in attendance made their way to Nash Square, site of the annual North Carolina Rally for Life. An estimated 2,000 people were present for this year’s event, which featured speakers followed by a march through downtown past the State Capitol.
Pete Marino, a member of the Knights of Columbus at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Durham, said he was attending because of his involvement in the pro-life movement since the 1970s. He called abortion “a stain on our society that we have to fix.”
Hannah Glennon, an 18 year old high school senior from Annunciation Church in Havelock, spoke of the Bishop’s homily. “He talked of how all life is important, how we are loved and how we have a special message to bring to the world.” Hannah said, “I can’t wait to get back home to tell the rest of my peers about this.”
Bishop Burbidge began the day, with the celebration of the annual Diocese of Raleigh Pro-Life Mass, held at 8:00 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Raleigh. Prior to the Mass, the faithful prayed as names were read of aborted children whose mothers have been supported by the Diocesan’s Project Rachel Ministry.
View photo gallery of Mass and Rally
View photo gallery of N.C. March for Life
Read Bishop Burbidge’s homily
Watch Bishop Burbidge’s homily:
Watch Sr. Miriam Heidland’s inspirational and personal talk:
Watch Pete Marino, St. Matthew Church, Durham:
Watch Hannah Glennon, Annunciation Church, Havelock:
Watch Dr. Edward Kryn, Catholic Medical Association:
Click photos below to view larger.
Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge during homily of Diocesan Pro-Life Mass celebrated at 8:00 a.m., January 19 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Raleigh.
Above: Approximately 250 teenagers and adults watching the Love My Life Youth Mass on closed circuit in Cathedral School hall.
Above: 900 teenagers and adults attending the 2nd annual Love My Life Rally on the Cathedral grounds.
Above: Part of the estimated 2,000 people who took part in the annual N.C. Right to Life March in Raleigh.