January 22 marks the 37th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade Decision, which legalized abortion in the United States. Several months later, pro-life leaders came together, committed that the controversial decision would not slip away in history. On January 22, 1974, some 20,000 pro-life advocates gathered in Washington, DC for the first March for Life. The annual March has grown to the point where last year, an estimated 300,000 people turned for the event up Constitution Avenue, past the Capitol, to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Among that number was a large group from the Diocese of Raleigh, who began the day by attending the annual NC Catholics for Life Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, celebrated by The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, and The Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis, Bishop of Charlotte.
In a letter, dated January 3, 2010, Bishop Burbidge asked Catholics in the Diocese of Raleigh to renew their commitment to the gift of all human life, which includes the poor, the sick, the elderly, the immigrant and those who may be marginalized in any way.
Bishop Burbidge invites Catholics to join him in Washington at the NC Catholic for Life Mass and to take part in the March for Life. He also invites Catholics in the Diocese to join him on Saturday, January 16 at a Respect Life Mass he will celebrate at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Raleigh, followed later that afternoon with the North Carolina March for Life Rally scheduled for downtown Raleigh.
Those unable to attend either event are encouraged to pray in solidarity with the Bishop and those taking part. Prayers, including a Novena Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe, are available on the Pro-Life Activities page of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops web site.
- Read Bishop Burbidge’s Respect Life letter: English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrating Respect Life Mass, January 19, 2009, at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Raleigh, prior to North Carolina Right to Life Rally.
Above: Part of packed Basilica of the National Shrine attending the NC Mass for Life in 2009.
Above: Cardinal Gibbons High School students, in foreground, taking part in the 2009 Annual March for Life, which drew an estimated 300,000 pro-life advocates.