When Pope Francis made his trip to the United States in 2015, the theme of his visit was “Love is Our Mission.” As missionary disciples of Jesus Christ, our mission is love: the love of God and the love of neighbor. The 45th annual March for Life, coming up on January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC, has taken up the theme: “Love Saves Lives.” Here’s why the organizers of the March chose this theme:
“Choosing life is not always easy, but it is the loving, empowering, and self-sacrificial option. Love is universally attractive because it is directed towards others. Love is what we all strive for because deep-down we are all drawn to give of ourselves in this way. Love saves lives in countless ways.” (March for Life website)
The greatest challenge in choosing life is our choice to love because love demands something of us. There are many ways in which love can manifest itself in choosing life. The choice for life is always a choice to love. We are called to will the good of another that makes the bringing forth of life possible, even in the most difficult and trying circumstances.
Many of your parishes engage in activities throughout the year that manifest this will to love, such as partnering with local pregnancy centers, helping women and families through crisis pregnancy, volunteering in local maternity homes, praying outside of abortion clinics, supporting women and men who have experienced the pain of abortion, educating the parish community about life issues, and advocating for life-affirming laws. Many of your parishes will also engage in activities leading up to the March for Life and also participate in this public act of willing the good of the other. Here’s a list of activities that parishes can do before the March. During next week, there will be several events that will be a public witness of love as the March for Life approaches.
Our Life is Beautiful Mass and Reception, hosted by Archbishop William Lori on Sunday, January 14th at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an opportunity as an Archdiocese to give a public and unified witness of our love for life and to honor those in our communities that are exemplars of this love. This year, we will honor Linda Brenegan, the former Director of the Office of Respect Life with the Culture of Life Medal and Fr. Agustino Torres, CFR, the founder of Corazón Puro and our special guest speaker with the Life is Beautiful Award. We will also honor the many unborn lives lost to abortion since Roe v. Wade with a rose procession at the beginning of the Mass. Together we will gather for a lunch reception and receive words of encouragement from Fr. Agustino as we continue our mission of love in the service of life.
The Catholic Center will participate in the first Love Saves Lives week, based on the theme of this year’s March. We will engage of acts of prayer, confession, adoration, and giving. The week will start off with Life is Beautiful, then go into a Holy Hour for Life and Healing that Tuesday. On Wednesday, there will be a prayer vigil outside of the Planned Parenthood on Howard St., and on Thursday a coffee break benefiting a local pregnancy center where we will collect gifts for babies.
All of these activities will culminate in the national March for Life, the pinnacle event of the pro-life movement and an act of love for the common good. Some may see the March simply as a protest and others as a time to get together with other likeminded people, and still others simply as a political movement. But it is truly an act of love to will that our country have laws that affirm the good and value of every human life, whether born or unborn. And this is what the March for Life is about. And we hope to join many of you as we march for love and March for Life.