IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob RollerBy WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a
message of support for the March for Life in Washington, a Vatican official
praised "the tens of thousands" of participants for their witness to the "value
of every human life" and for upholding the dignity of life from conception to
"You give witness to the
world of your understanding of the value of every human life and of your
commitment to welcome, nurture, protect and integrate every human life from the
first moment of conception until natural death," said Archbishop Vincenzo
Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
He made the remarks in a
statement dated Jan. 19, the day of this year's march, and addressed to March
for Life officials. It also was sent to Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of
Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington; and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of
In a Jan. 16 statement,
New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-life
Activities, urged Catholics and others across the country to get involved in
the "9 Days for Life" prayer and Action Campaign Jan. 18-26.
"Our prayers matter," he
said. The campaign's website is www.9daysforlife.com.
"We bring many needs to
God this month, including care for displaced persons, racial harmony, Christian
unity and the protection of all human life," Cardinal Dolan said. "Every
prayer matters, and if you can't start at the beginning, jump in when you
"9 Days for Life" is the
U.S. bishops' annual, pro-life prayer and action campaign surrounding the
anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v.
Bolton that legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
The overarching intention
of novena at the center of the event is the end to abortion, and each day
treats a different aspect of respecting the dignity of the human person -- from
the beginning of life to its natural end. This year, as part of the Catholic Church's "Share the
Journey" campaign supporting displaced persons, one day addresses human
trafficking, something migrants and refugees are particularly at risk of
Participants can make a
"digital pilgrimage." They are encouraged to build "a culture of life" through
prayer and action and by sharing their experiences on social media with the
hashtags #9DaysforLife and #OurPrayersMatter. There also is a Facebook frame
participants can use on their profile picture to show their support for life.
In his letter, Archbishop Paglia assured March for Life attendees of
his prayers "for the fruitfulness of your undertaking that is so filled with
love." He was certain that on Jan. 19 in particular "you will have the
blessings and grateful prayers of all the innocent lives for whom you have,
over so many years, cared and struggled."
Archbishop Paglia recalled
his own participation in the march "one very cold January day more than 20
He added: "I join with
Cardinal Wuerl of Washington and Bishop Burbidge of Arlington, with all my
brother Catholic and Orthodox bishops in the United States, and with all the
members of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, in honoring what you do
and who you are, and in encouraging you always to remember the love that God
has for you his "good and faithful servants." - - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago CatholicBy Joyce DurigaCHICAGO (CNS) -- Over 5,000
people from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and other Midwestern states gathered
Jan. 14 in Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago for the annual March for Life
Chicago commemorating the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision
Participants carried signs with
pro-life messages and balloons during the rally and march through the streets
of downtown. The drum line from Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein played
in the march.
Chris Murrens of Libertyville
brought her two teen-age children to the march and said seeing the many youth
and young adults in attendance was "heartwarming" and "inspirational."
"The heavenly Father is smiling.
Our Lady is smiling. It's a great day," she told the Chicago Catholic,
the archdiocesan newspaper.
Murrens said she brought her two
teenagers because she felt it was important to expose them to the event and the
"I want them to see how
important this is and for them to be part of this generation that is turning
things around to become more pro-life," Murrens said. "They are having a
wonderful time and getting the message all at the same time."
Young people, especially in
their teens, are impressionable and open to new things so that is a pivotal
time to share the church's teaching that life is sacred from the womb until
natural death, the mother of three said.
"This is when they see so much
of what is going on in the world. This is the time when you can really grab
their hearts and make a difference for the rest of their lives," she said.
Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich
-- one of several speakers who addressed the gathering prior to the march --
applauded the witness of young people and, referring to the recent feast of
Epiphany, called them "the new Magi."
"You give us confidence that the
energy to protect the child in the womb has not grown weak over these 45 years,
but is as youthful, strong and vibrant as you are," the cardinal said. "You are
the new Magi in our time, who teach us all to keep our heads up, and amid the
darkness of the night at times, to take heart that God is still in the heavens,
guiding us like that Bethlehem star and keeping our dreams alive."
Quoting Pope Francis, Cardinal
Cupich said that children make society "dream beyond ourselves."
"Taking human life, especially
the life of the child in the womb, not only has an impact on that one human being
but deeply wounds all of humanity, robs from us our ability to dream and see
life as much bigger than our own concerns, challenges and struggles," he said.
"Is it any wonder that we are so divided as a nation when we are so fixed only
on ourselves, when we can no longer dream and see all that God is doing beyond
The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision
robbed the nation of its children and its dreams, he said.
"Now with the recent law passed
by our Legislature and signed by our governor, more lives and dreams will be
robbed as will family incomes that will be forcibly used to pay for abortions,"
Cardinal Cupich said referring to legislation Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into
law in 2017 that provides state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for
abortions."Can we not better use our tax dollars to support health care for
families expecting children, and child care and assistance to parents when
their children come into the world?" the cardinal asked. "Can we not better use our tax dollars to
keep alive both our children and our dreams as a nation?"
Other speakers at the rally
included Illinois Congressmen Dan Lipinski and Peter Roskum and former Planned
Parenthood director Ramona Trevino.
Earlier in the day, Cardinal
Cupich celebrated the archdiocesan Mass for Life at Holy Name Cathedral
attended by a standing-room only crowd. During the Mass, young people brought
white roses to the altar, commemorating lives lost to abortion and homicide in
Chicago last year.
In the Denver
Archdiocese a day earlier, about 3,000 people gathered outside the state Capitol in Denver for
the annual Colorado March for Life. The afternoon rally and march were preceded by the
celebration of several morning Masses at a number of churches, including one celebrated
by Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate
"This is the Colorado piece of
the largest civil rights movement in our lifetime," Lynn Grandon, archdiocesan
Respect Life program director, said in advance of the Jan. 13 gathering.
More pro-life marches were planned around the country. Among those will be the
fourth annual OneLife LA Jan. 20 in Los Angeles, followed exactly
a week later by Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco.
In Chicago, some of those who
attended the Mass and rally also planned to travel to Washington for the national
March for Life Jan. 19.
Others preparing to attend
the march and rally in the nation's capital included students at Monsignor Bonner
Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, in
the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Catholic school leaders
throughout the U.S. take thousands of their students to the regional or
national March for Life events each year in an effort to engage them in the
pro-life cause and to eventually pass the torch of leadership to them, said
Steven Bozza, director of the Philadelphia archdiocesan Office for Life and
The pro-life activists who have
been embroiled in the movement for decades will not be able to go on forever
and it's up to the current leaders to prepare the next generation of advocates,
Bozza told Catholic News Service during an interview in Drexel Hill. "We're going to win this
battle," he said. "Maybe not tomorrow or next week. Maybe not this year, but
we're going to win it. Especially with the new generation coming up."
- - -
Duriga is editor of the Chicago
Catholic, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Contributing to this story
was Chaz Muth in Drexel Hill.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS photo/Zoey Maraist, Catholic HeraldBy Zoey MaraistALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNS) -- The
Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments declared St. Mary Church in
Alexandria a minor basilica, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington announced
to parishioners during Mass Jan. 14.
"It is an extraordinary honor to
announce that the Holy See has designated St. Mary's in Old Town to be the
newest basilica in the United States. This historic announcement recognizes the
important role St. Mary's has played in the diocese, the city of Alexandria and
even the very founding of our country," he said.
To be named a basilica, a church
must have architectural or historic value and meet liturgical requirements,
such as an adequate amount of space in the sanctuary and a fitting number of
priests. There are only four major basilicas, all in Rome -- St. Peter's, St.
John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major.
There are thousands of minor
basilicas throughout the world, including the Basilica of the National Shrine
of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, the Basilica of the National Shrine
of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore and the Basilica of
St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk.
Bishop Burbidge congratulated Father
Edward C. Hathaway, pastor of the Alexandria church, and "all of the priests who have served
this parish over the generations for their work in bringing St. Mary's to this
special day. I pray that Our Lord continues to bless St. Mary's and its community
for generations to come!"
A committee from St. Mary began
to research the application process for becoming a basilica last January,
according to Father Hathaway. Bishop Burbidge approved the application in June,
and sent it to the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops' Secretariat of Divine Worship. USCCB officials approved the plan in July, and sent it to the Vatican's
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.
"Today, we are overjoyed and
humbled by the recognition of St. Mary as one of the major churches in the
world dedicated to Christ," said Father Hathaway. "Thank you so much, Bishop
Burbidge, for being here with us today, and for the encouragement and
enthusiasm you have shown during the many months that led to this
"The naming of St. Mary as a
minor basilica brings honor to the entire diocese and to Roman Catholics
throughout the country," the priest continued. "As the first Catholic parish in
Virginia and West Virginia, learning its history is to gain a greater insight
into the spread of the Catholic faith in the former English colonies and
throughout our nation."
In 1788, an Irish aide-de-camp
of George Washington, Col. John Fitzgerald, held a fundraiser in his home for
the construction of a Catholic church. Washington was the first to donate. In
1795, St. Mary was established as a mission of Holy Trinity Church in
Georgetown. Eventually, a church was built on South Royal Street, where the
contemporary church stands, and was dedicated by Jesuit Father Francis Ignatius
Neale in 1827.
Throughout the years, the church
has undergone several repairs and renovations. Ministry buildings and offices
such as the Lyceum as well as the cemetery are scattered around Old Town. The
parish school, one of the largest in the diocese with around 700 students, was
established in 1869 after a wave of poor Irish immigrants arrived in the area.
Today, St. Mary has 7,100 registered parishioners and dozens of liturgical,
fellowship and service ministries.
In the near future, the church
will be marked with special signage indicating its new status. As with all
basilicas, St. Mary will install an "ombrellino," a silk canopy designed with
stripes of yellow and red -- the traditional papal colors -- and a "tintinnabulum,"
a bell mounted on a pole and carried during some processions.
"Crossed keys, which are the
symbol of the papacy, will be placed prominently on the church exterior," said
St. Mary also has designed a
seal, which all basilicas have. The symbols within the seal pay homage to the
diocese, the Jesuits who founded the parish, and to Mary. In the bottom right
quadrant of the shield is a ship, representing Alexandria's role as an
important port town in colonial times. The vessel further represents the
frigates that brought Catholic immigrants to the New World.
"The Ark and The Dove were the
two famous ships, chartered by Cecil Calvert to transport 140 colonists to the
shores of Maryland," according to a statement from St. Mary. "Similar ships
brought the Jesuit founders, as well as many Irish and Scottish merchants, to
the port city of Alexandria."
The seal is one of the many ways
the new basilica will aim to share its past with visitors.
"We will be looking for ways to
communicate our significant history and contribution to Catholicism in the
commonwealth and beyond through printed guides and other means," said Father
The parishioners at the Jan. 14
Mass applauded the announcement. Sam Lukawski, a fifth-grader at St. Mary
School, was one of the 11 altar servers at the Mass. "I was glad that it became
a minor basilica and that it'll be (St. Mary Basilica) instead of St. Mary
Church," he told the Arlington Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper.
Pat Troy, a longtime
parishioner, sent his children to the school and used to host Theology on Tap
in his Alexandria bar. He loves the parish for its commitment to Mary, its
priests and the fact that it was founded in part by an Irishman. "This was the
first time (we) walked down the steps of this historic church as St. Mary
Basilica," he said with reverence.
Jonathan Fililpowski and Nicole
Hendershot are getting married at St. Mary in April. "We're excited to be able
to get married at a basilica. It's a beautiful space to come and be able to
worship, tied to the roots of our nation," she said.
Deborah and Glenn Cooper were
thrilled by the announcement. "I'm so honored to be part of this historic
occasion. It makes me want to go back and probe more into the history of the
church and also into the whole meaning of being a basilica," she said.
- - -
Maraist is on the staff of the
Arlington Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Arlington.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesSANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) -- Pope Francis, in his first formal
speech in Chile, asked forgiveness from those who were sexually abused by priests.
Addressing government authorities and members of the
country's diplomatic corps Jan. 16, the pope expressed his "pain and shame
at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the church."
"I am one with my brother bishops, for it is right to
ask for forgiveness and make every effort to support the victims, even as we
commit ourselves to ensure that such things do not happen again," he said.
Preparations for Pope Francis' visit to Chile Jan. 15-18
were overshadowed by continuing controversy over the pope's decision in 2015 to
give a diocese to a bishop accused of turning a blind eye to the abuse
perpetrated by a notorious priest.
The pope's appointment of Bishop Juan Barros as head of the
Diocese of Osorno sparked several protests -- most notably at the bishop's
installation Mass -- due to the bishop's connection to Father Fernando
Karadima, his former mentor. Father Karadima was sentenced to a life of prayer
and penance by the Vatican after he was found guilty of sexually abusing boys.
The protests against the pope's appointment of Bishop Barros
gained steam when a video of Pope Francis defending the appointment was
published in September 2015 by the Chilean news channel, Ahora Noticias. Filmed
during a general audience a few months earlier, the video showed the pope
telling a group of Chilean pilgrims that Catholics protesting the appointment
were "judging a bishop without any proof."
"Think with your head; don't let yourself be led by all
the lefties who are the ones that started all of this," the pope said.
"Yes, Osorno is suffering but for being foolish because it doesn't open
its heart to what God says and allows itself to be led by all this silliness
that all those people say."
Survivors of abuse and their supporters planned a conference
and protests around the pope's arrival.
Francis made his way to La Moneda, the presidential palace, and was welcomed by
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. Thousands were gathered in the square
outside the palace, chanting "Francisco, amigo, Chile esta contigo" ("Francis,
friend, Chile is with you").
Despite the jovial atmosphere at outside La Moneda, there
were serious signs of protest in Santiago.
Chilean media reported vandalism at Divine Providence
Parish, not far from O'Higgins Park, where the pope was to celebrate Mass later
in the morning. Vandals spray painted the words "complice"
("accomplice") and "papa arde" ("burn, pope") on
the facade of the church below a banner welcoming Pope Francis.
Three days earlier, several Chilean churches were
firebombed, and police found other, unexploded devices at two other churches in
Santiago. Some of the pamphlets included the phrase, "The next bombs will be in
your cassock" and spoke of the cause of the Mapuche indigenous group.
are you? Where you able to rest?" Bachelet asked the pope when he arrived
at the palace. "Perfectly," he responded. The two leaders stood as
the national anthems of Chile and Vatican City State were played before entering
the courtyard of the palace where about 700 members of the country's government
authorities and of the diplomatic corps welcomed the pope with a standing ovation.
In his speech to the country's political leaders, Pope
Francis emphasized the need for officials to listen to the people and to value
their experiences, cultures, sufferings and hopes.
Included in the pope's list were "children who look out
on the world with eyes full of amazement and innocence and expect from us
concrete answers for a dignified future."
At that point he told the officials, "I feel bound to
express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some
ministers of the church."
pope's acknowledgment of the crimes of sexual abuse committed by members of
the clergy was met with a loud applause from the government authorities
Looking at the country's social and political life, Pope
Francis congratulated the nation for its steady growth in democracy since 1990
when the rule of Gen. Augusto Pinochet ended.
The recent presidential elections in November, he said,
"were a demonstration of the solidity and civic maturity that you have
"That was a particularly important moment, for it
shaped your destiny as a people founded on freedom and law, one that has faced
moments of turmoil, at times painful, yet succeeded in surmounting them. In
this way, you have been able to consolidate and confirm the dream of your
founding fathers," the pope said.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is scheduled to hand the
office over to President-elect Sebastian Pinera in March.
Chile's future, Pope Francis said, depends on the ability of
its people and leaders to listen to those in need and "replace narrow
ideologies with a healthy concern for the common good."
The unemployed, native peoples, migrants, the elderly, young
people and children all deserve to be listened to while also giving
"preferential attention to our common home."
The wisdom of the country's indigenous population, he added,
can help Chilean society "transcend a merely consumerist view of life and
to adopt a sage attitude to the future."
"The wisdom of the native peoples can contribute
greatly to this," Pope Francis said. "From them we can learn that a
people that turns its back on the land, and everything and everyone on it, will
never experience real development."
- - -
Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGE: CNS/Paul HaringBy Junno Arocho EstevesSANTIAGO, Chile (CNS) -- Pope Francis
arrived in Santiago Jan. 15, the first stop on a seven-day, six-city visit to Peru and
Chile, where he will take his message of hope to people on the margins of
Arriving in Santiago after more than 15
hours in the air, Pope Francis was greeted by Chilean President Michelle
Bachelet and a young Chilean girl. He told the crowd he was happy to be in
Chile, and he blessed the workers at the airport before being transported to
the papal nunciature, where he will stay the three nights he is in Chile.
On Jan. 17, the pope will travel to Temuco
and meet with residents of the Mapuche indigenous community. Members of the
Mapuche have called for the government to return lands confiscated prior to the
country's return to democracy in the late 1980s.
"Chile won't be too difficult for me
because I studied there for a year and I have many friends there and I know it
well, or rather, well enough. Peru, however, I know less. I have gone maybe
two, three times for conferences and meetings," the pope told journalists
aboard the papal flight.
There was no mention of increased security
for the Chilean visit. Three days earlier, several Chilean churches were
firebombed, and police found other, unexploded devices at two other churches in
Santiago. Some of the pamphlets included the phrase, "The next bombs will
be in your cassock" and spoke of the Mapuche cause.
Before flying to Peru Jan. 18, Pope Francis
will visit Iquique, where he will celebrate Mass on Lobito beach.
In Peru Jan. 18-21, will visit Lima, Puerto
Maldonado and Trujillo.
He will also meet with the indigenous people
of the Amazon during his visit to Puerto Maldonado. The Amazon rainforest
includes territory belonging to nine countries in South America and has
experienced significant deforestation, negatively impacting the indigenous
populations in the area and leading to a loss of biodiversity.
In both countries, he will
work to restore trust and encourage healing after scandals left many wounded
and angry at the Catholic Church.
Shortly after take-off from Rome, Greg
Burke, Vatican spokesman, distributed a photo card the pope wished to share
with journalists aboard his flight from Rome.
The photo depicted a young Japanese boy shortly
after the bombing in Nagasaki, waiting in line, carrying his dead baby brother
on his back to the crematorium. On the back of the card, the words "The
fruit of war" were written along with Pope Francis' signature.
Before greeting each of the 70 journalists,
the pope said that he found the photo "by chance" and "was very
moved when I saw this."
"I could only write 'the fruit of war.'
I wanted to print it and give it to you because such an image is more moving
than a thousand words," he said.
Responding to a journalist's question about
nuclear war, Pope Francis said: "I think we are
at the very limit. I am really afraid of this. One accident is enough to
The Peru-Chile trip is Pope Francis' fourth
to South America. In July 2013, he visited Brazil for World Youth Day. In July
2015, he traveled to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. His trip to Colombia in
September was his third visit to the continent as pope.
- - -
Contributing to this story was Jane Chambers
- - -
Follow Arocho on Twitter: @ArochoJu.- - -Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at email@example.com.