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January 27, 2010
Faithful fill cathedral to pray for end to abortion on Roe anniversary
By John Gleason
After a week of balmy temperatures, the mercury dropped sharply Friday morning. But the change in temperature didn’t dampen the spirit of the faithful who turned out for the Day of Penance and Prayer Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
The Jan. 22 Mass solemnly marked the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which made abortion on demand legal in the United States. Celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley, the Mass was held to pray for an end to abortion, for the protection for the lives of unborn children and to support families in crisis.
Among those in the standing-room only crowd was actor and ardent pro-lifer Eduardo Verastegui of “Bella” fame, and students from Bishop Machebeuf High School and St. Vincent de Paul and St. James elementary schools.
“We come together on the 37th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision with sorrow,” Bishop Conley said beginning the Mass. “Since that day in 1973 more than 50 million unborn children have lost their lives to abortion—that’s 4,000 each day. We come here mindful of the need of God’s mercy and forgiveness.”
Bishop Conley went on to say that thousands of women have suffered psychological damage due to having abortions. He noted that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have designated Jan. 22 as a special day of prayer, penance and reparation for the violence committed through acts of abortion, as well as a day of prayer for the complete and full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life of every human person.
Noting the large number of young people in the congregation, Bishop Conley asked all high school and grade school students to stand. Next he asked all college students to stand. Finally, he asked all those 37 years old or younger to stand.
“You are the people who have survived Roe v. Wade,” he said.
The congregation gave the bishop a lengthy applause when he asserted he is convinced that the young people standing in the church will see a time when abortion is no longer legal in the United States.
“More than that,” he added, “you’ll see a time when abortion will be considered unthinkable. A woman who is in difficulty due to pregnancy won’t be forced to consider abortion because we will have reached out as a community, as a nation, in compassion and care and understanding. I am convinced of this.”
Following the Mass, the congregation marched in silent vigil across Colfax Avenue to attend a pro-life rally sponsored by Colorado Right to Life on the steps of the State Capital. Many carried signs declaring, “I’m a pro-lifer—there is a higher court than the Supreme Court.”