National Prayer Vigil for Life Opening Mass
Thousands to Gather for Largest Annual Catholic Mass in the United States
WASHINGTON, D.C.(January 19, 2007) -- Catholics from across the country will gather in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the National Prayer Vigil for Life Opening Mass at 8:00 pm on January 21, the eve of the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
The Vigil Mass for Life is the largest annual Catholic mass in the United States. As in the past, approximately 10,000 participants are expected to attend the vigil and then join thousands more the next day to participate in the national March for Life.
Chair of the Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, His Eminence Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will be the principal celebrant and homilist at the Vigil Mass, concelebrated by five fellow cardinals and many of the nation's bishops and priests.
After Mass there will be a National Rosary for Life, Night Prayer celebrated according to the Byzantine Rite, confessions, and holy hours from midnight until 6:00 am led by pro-life seminarians from across the country. The Basilica and The Catholic University of America will host more than 1,600 high school students and other pilgrims overnight. On January 22, the morning of the March for Life, the National Shrine will also host Morning Prayer at 6:30 am and a Mass of Penance and Prayer at 7:30 am. His Excellency Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington will be the principal celebrant and homilist.
Because of the traditionally huge presence of young people at the vigil, a Youth Rally and Mass will also be held on Monday the 22nd from 8:45-11:30 am at two downtown locations. Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Cardinal Justin Rigali will celebrate concurrent Masses at the Verizon Center and DAR Constitution Hall, respectively. Youth and adults are both welcome. For details, see: www.adw.org/service/jan22.asp.
The National Prayer Vigil for Life and Opening Mass are co-sponsored by the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), The Catholic University of America, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. More information is available at: www.usccb.org/prolife/anniversary.htm.
Media are welcome to speak with and interview pilgrims and to attend the Mass. Deirdre McQuade, the bishops' primary spokesperson on abortion, will also be available for interviews before and after the Vigil Mass. Contact Gene Tarne at (c) 571-331-7018 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Footage from the Mass may also be obtained by Satellite TV feed (backhaul; five cameras) courtesy of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) at Galaxy 10, Transponder 22 (KU signal; analog band).