SALT LAKE CITY — Bilingual rosaries, prayers, public advocacy and Masses are part of the pro-life efforts that are happening all over the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City in the month of January.
As part of these efforts, in December Bishop Oscar A. Solis invited all members of the diocese to embark on a Prayer Journey for an End to Abortion that will culminate with the Mass for the Unborn and the Ceremony of Light on Jan. 17 at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.
Many pro-life events occur in January because the decision on the Roe v. Wade legal case, in which the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion, was announced on Jan. 22, 1973. Since that time, more than 60 million abortions have been performed in the U.S.
“The Ceremony of Light is an event the bishop brought from L.A. last year. We place candles on the steps of the cathedral as a tribute to the lives that have been lost through abortion,” said Veola Burchett, director of the diocesan Marriage and Family Life office.
Last year, members of the Cathedral of the Madeleine Young Adult Ministry carried candles representing the lives of children lost to abortion, and placed them on the cathedral’s outside steps, where the clergy and ministers of the Mass gathered for a moment of commemoration. A similar procession is planned for this year.
“These lives had meaning and speak loudly to the injustice of an ending to what should have been a beginning,” said Burchett about each of the candles.
After the moment of commemoration, members of the Utah Knights of Columbus stood guard over the candles for a few hours.
“Any threat to human dignity and life must necessarily be felt in the Church’s very heart,” Bishop Solis said at last year’s ceremony.
Also as part of this year’s pro-life efforts, the annual bilingual rosary will take place Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. at Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery.
According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “God loves each human life from the instant of his or her conception and entrusts this gift to the protection of a mother and father. Abortion ends the life of a child and offends God. It also deeply wounds the men and women involved.”
“The Catholic Church stands alone in her witness that all life, from the moment of conception to its natural end, must be protected. No exceptions,” Burchett added.
Celebrating pro-life events is important, she said, because these efforts help to remind people that “children in the womb are precious; whether they were conceived in love, through violence, whether they are perfect or not, they are worth protecting.”
Burchett also underlined the importance of supporting parents who find themselves in difficult situations, and also those who minister to women who have chosen abortion in the past.
“As the Church says, all life is sacred, from the womb to the tomb,” she said. “The poor, the rich, those on death row, those who are suffering lingering illness – all must be guarded and protected. If we start saying that some lives are disposable, then soon our own life will be deemed disposable by someone with more power than us.”
Another event this month will be the Respect for the Dignity of Life Day workshops on Jan. 26 at Saint Joseph the Worker Parish.
The same day, at 1 p.m. the Utah Knights of Columbus are inviting all local Catholic laity, priests and religious to join them, along with other members of the Pro-Life Utah coalition, in a March for Life around the Utah State Capitol.
In addition to the local events, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is sponsoring a nine-day digital pilgrimage Jan. 14-22. For information, see the box, above.
WHAT: Mass for the Unborn and Ceremony of Light
WHEN: Jan. 17, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Cathedral of the Madeleine, 331 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City
WHAT: Diocesan Respect for the Dignity of Life Day
WHEN: Jan. 26, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
WHERE: St. Joseph the Worker Parish, 7405 S. Redwood Road, West Jordan
Speakers will be Fr. Joseph Delka, parochial vicar of the Cathedral of the Madeleine; Christina Malloy, 40 Days for Life coordinator at St. Catherine of Siena/Newman Center; and Jean Hill, director of the Diocese of Salt Lake City’s Peace & Justice Commission. Register at https://www.dioslc.org/about-us/diocese-calendar/40-respect-for-the-dignity-of-life/individual-registration.
WHAT: Digital pilgrimage
WHEN: Jan. 14-22
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is sponsoring a nine-day digital pilgrimage Jan. 14-22. For materials and “a multi-faceted novena highlighting a different prayer intention each day” that will provide reflections, additional information and suggested actions, visit http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events/nine-days-of-prayer-penance-and-pilgrimage.cfm.
WHAT: Diocesan bilingual pro-life rosary
WHEN: Jan. 20, 2 p.m.
WHERE: Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 275 U St., Salt Lake City
Free; all are welcome.
WHAT: March for Life with Pro-Life Utah Coalition
WHEN: Jan. 26, 1 p.m.
WHERE: Utah State Capitol, 350 State St., Salt Lake City
Free; all are welcome.