Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
"Some anniversaries must be marked, if not celebrated"
by Bishop Blase J. Cupich
(From the January 19, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)
The year was 1973. George Steinbrenner bought the New York Yankees for $10 million and Secretariat was the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1948. The U.S. involvement in Vietnam ended with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords and President Nixon visited China. The first hand-held cellular phone call was made and the World Trade Center was officially opened in New York. And, on Jan. 22, the United States Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision, which overturned all state and federal laws restricting abortions in defense of the child in the womb.
Much time has passed and many events have occurred since that tragic day in the winter of 1973, but one fact should not go unnoticed: over 50 million American children have been denied the fundamental right to life over these three-and-a-half decades. The number of abortions is staggering. We as a society need to recognize the harm that has been done to these children, their mothers, and to our nationís soul.
To mark the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Courtís decision to legalize abortion in our country, I have asked our pastors to preach on the dignity of human life on the weekend of Jan. 21-22 and make special mention in the General Intercessions for an end to abortion and a change of heart for all those involved in taking the life of the unborn. I also urge all Catholics to pray and to fast on Monday, Jan. 23. Our common prayer and sacrifice is precisely what the Lord encourages us to do in the face of the seemingly overwhelming forces that degrade our dignity as children of God. We can pray to God to move the hearts of all of our fellow citizens to value the dignity of human life. We should also work together to promote laws which protect human life, starting with the unborn, and which create a just society through a livable wage, adequate health care for families, and assistance to mothers.
I also encourage you to participate in a special diocesan gathering at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes on Jan. 23. Mass will be celebrated at noon and then, at 3 p.m., luminaria are scheduled to be lit on the steps of the Cathedral. This is always a wonderful public witness that we stand in solidarity with the countless number of unborn who are at risk each and every day. During the Eucharist we will join our voices in prayer, asking God to heal our nation and inspire in us a deeper commitment to take up the task of building a culture of life in our society.
Anniversaries are normally happy occasions. Sadly, this one is not, but we cannot let it go by without marking the loss of so many millions of our children and the damage done to our nationís soul. We owe it to them and to our nation to pause and beg God for the grace of conversion so that 39 years hence, we will have something to celebrate.
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