On Friday, January 22, 2010, I invite you to come and join me if not physically, then please, spiritually in the annual March for Life down Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC, past the United States Supreme Court.
If physically and if you know the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol, we will meet on the steps of the National Gallery of Art West Building on 7th Street between Madison Drive and Constitu tion Avenue just opposite the skating rink.I will be wearing the same green parka with the same banner that you see in the picture above. I am on the far left.
We have been having a bitterly cold and windy January so far, so please dress warmly in layers. We will not stay outside any longer than we need, and we will march.
If you cannot join us physically, and you are reading this on or before January 22, I would ask you to pray the following prayer from the National Basilica:
"Our Lady of Guadalupe, we turn to you who are the protectress of unborn children and ask that you intercede for us, so that we may more firmly resolve to join you in protecting all human life.
Let our prayers be united to your perpetual motherly intercession on behalf of those whose lives are threatened, be they in the womb of their mother, on the bed of infirmity, or in the latter years of their life.
May our prayers also be coupled with peaceful action which witnesses to the goodness and dignity of all human life, so that our firmness of purpose may give courage to those who are fearful and bring light to those who are blinded by sin.
Encourage those who will be involved in the March for Life; help them to walk closely with God and to give voice to the cry of the oppressed, in order to remind out nation of its commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all people.
O Virgin Mother of God, present our petitions to your Son and ask Him to bless us with abundant life. Amen."
If you are reading this message after January 22, please pray:
"O God, our Loving Creator, all life is in Your hands from the moment of conception until death. Help us to cherish our children and to be grateful for the privilege of sharing in Your work of creation. Bless all those who defend the rights of the unborn, the poor, the handicapped and the aged. Enlighten and be merciful toward those who do not value the gift of life. Help them to seek and find you. Grant that by our care and respect for all people and all life, we might be a sign of Your Love in our world today. We pray as always in Jesus' name. Amen."
Permit me to close by repeating those marvelous words of Pope John Paul II in his 1988 apostolic exhortation, The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World (Christifideles Laici):
"The inviolability of the person, which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination (38)."
We Seculars have felt that need to march, to pray, to witness to Life: Secular Franciscans For Life (Pro Vita)! Please come and march with us in prayer!
Peace and Life,
Tom Bello, SFO