January 17, 2014

Roe v. Wade solemn remembrance set for Jan. 22 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis

By Natalie Hoefer

Many Americans can cite certain dates of national remembrance in honor of lives lost: “Pearl Harbor Day,” Dec. 7, 1941; “D-Day,” June 6, 1944; “911,” Sept. 11, 2001.

But the number of American lives lost on each of these dates combined falls far below the number of deaths caused by another devastating date: Jan. 22, 1973, the day the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the Roe v. Wade decision.

Since that date, more than 55 million unborn babies have been killed.

To honor and offer prayer and penance for those lives, the archdiocese will hold its annual local solemn observance of the Roe v. Wade decision at noon on Jan. 22 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1347 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis.

The observance of the 41st anniversary of the tragic decision will begin with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin, followed by a prayerful procession along Meridian Street.

For those who wish to remain in the cathedral for silent prayer during the procession, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will be offered.

The observance will conclude with Benediction at 2:30 p.m. in the cathedral.

“The archdiocesan gathering on Jan. 22 is one of solidarity with thousands of others across our country in prayerful remembrance for all those who have lost their lives in the tragedy of abortion,” said Rebecca Niemerg, director of the Office of Pro-Life and Family Life for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

The solemn remembrance has its grounding in the “General Instruction of the Roman Missal,” which states in section 373, “In all the Dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 [or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday] shall be observed as a particular day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.

“The liturgical celebrations for this day may be the ‘Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life,’ celebrated with white vestments, or the ‘Mass for the Preservation of Peace and Justice,’ celebrated with violet vestments.”

To mark the anniversary this year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is inviting Catholics to join in a campaign of prayer, penance and pilgrimage titled “9 Days for Life” from Jan. 18-Jan. 26.

According to the USCCB website, the nine-day campaign consists of “a novena … with different intercessions, reflections and suggested acts of reparation each day for the healing and conversion of our nation and people impacted by the culture of death.”

The USCCB offers four ways to receive the novena, intentions and reflections—by text message, e-mail, downloading a smart phone application or by viewing or printing out the novena online. Each of the methods can be accessed by logging on to www.9daysforlife.org. The printable version is available in English and in Spanish.

To mark the anniversary, many groups throughout the archdiocese will make a pilgrimage to Washington to participate in the national March for Life on Jan. 22.

The archdiocesan Catholic Young Adult and College Campus Ministry will lead a group of approximately 25 young adults, and the Office of Catholic Education will lead a group of about 50 high school students to join the hundreds of thousands who march from the National Mall down Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building in Washington.

As for the local solemn archdiocesan observance, Niemerg said the event offers “a chance for Catholics to come together to offer our prayers and penances for the legal protection of the unborn as well as for those who are suffering from a past abortion, that they may be open to the healing and forgiveness of Christ.”

(For more information on the local solemn observance, contact Elizabeth Ricke at ericke@archindy.org or call 317-236-1551 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1551. Please note: There will be limited parking at the Catholic Center and the cathedral. Additional paid parking may be available at Methodist Hospital Visitor Center Parking and other nearby paid public parking lots. Please plan to arrive early.)

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