Witness to Life

Archdiocese to Host Annual Rallies and Masses to Pray for an End to Legalized Abortion

January 21, 2013

Tens of thousands of teens will attend the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life at two arenas in the Washington area to witness to life. This year marks not only the Year of Faith but also 40th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. These significant points in time call for an even more concerted effort to spend time in prayer, reflection and public witness of faith in action. Over 30,000 Catholic teens and young adults from around the world will pack the Verizon Center in northwest Washington and the Comcast Center in College Park for this moving event. Media are welcome at the Verizon Center.

Friday, January 25, 2013
Verizon Center, 601 F Street, NW, Washington, DC
(Media entrance on 6th Street, NW)
7:00 a.m.: Doors open at Verizon Center
7:30 – 9:30 a.m.: Youth Rally and Concert
8:00 – 9:30 a.m.: Confessions
10:00 a.m.: Mass celebrated by Cardinal Wuerl and bishops from around the United States

Comcast Center
2001 Paint Branch Drive
College Park MD
6:00 a.m.: Doors Open
7:00 a.m.: Rally Begins
7:30 a.m.: Confessions
9:00 a.m.: Mass

The Rally strives to encourage the youth participating in the national March for Life in their witness as disciples of Christ and promoters of the Gospel of Life. It is the largest annual archdiocesan event. This year will focus on the 40th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade court decision – a decision that has left permanent scars upon our nation as we grieve the loss of almost 55 million unborn Americans and the many lives that have been forever changed by an abortion decision.

The overwhelming demand for tickets facilitated the need for two arenas. 34,000 requests were made for tickets for this year’s event. Groups from 103 dioceses around the country, and as far away as the Virgin Islands will be represented at the two sites this year. The Archdiocese of Washington held its first rally and Mass for Life 23 years ago, and began adding locations around the city as demand grew.

Catholic recording artists Josh Blakesley Band, Jacob and Matthew Band, Jackie Francois and Curtis Stephan will perform for the crowds during the morning rallies. Nearly 200 priests between the two venues will hear confessions.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, will be joined by bishops and hundreds of priests from around the United States in celebrating Mass at the Verizon Center. The homilist will be Rev. Carter Griffin, the priest vocations director for the archdiocese and the vice rector of the Blessed John Paul II Seminary. At the Comcast Center, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, will celebrate the Mass and the homily will be given by Rev. David Wells, parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in Mechanicsville.

The youth concert and Mass will air on Catholic TV and EWTN. Check your local listings for more details. The events will also air online at www.CatholicTV.com.

Following the Mass, many of the bishops, priests and the youth will participate in the National March for Life to the United States Supreme Court, which starts with a rally at Noon on the National Mall. At about 1:30 p.m., marchers will proceed along the customary route; walking on Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court.

Additionally, the annual National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will begin January 24, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. with a solemn opening Mass in the Great Upper Church. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston will be the principal celebrant and homilist. The National Prayer Vigil for Life will close with a Solemn Mass for Life celebrated at 7:30 a.m. in the Basilica’s Great Upper Church. Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell will be the celebrant and homilist of the Mass. Both of these Masses will be broadcast live on EWTN. No tickets are required for any of the National Prayer Vigil for Life events at the National Shrine.

Groups from the Archdiocese of Washington are once again invited to the third annual Adult and Family Mass and Rally for Life on Friday, January 25 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, 1725 Rhode Island Avenue, NW. The rally will begin at 9:00 a.m. and feature Vicki Thorn, founder of the Project Rachel ministry, which provides healing to women affected by abortion. Bishop Francisco González, S.F., Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, will celebrate Mass at 10:00 a.m., with Msgr. Charles Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter and St. Cyprian Parish, as the homilist.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 600,000 Catholics, living in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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