USCCB News Release
January 15, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Prayer Vigil for Life Expected to Draw Thousands to National Shrine
WASHINGTON—Thousands of Catholics will gather in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to pray for an end to abortion at the National Prayer Vigil for Life Opening Mass at 7 p.m. on January 21, the eve of the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
Over 16,000 worshipers—many of them youth from schools around the nation—are expected to attend the opening Mass and all-night prayer Vigil and then join tens of thousands more the following day to participate in the national March for Life.
Chair of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will be the principal celebrant and homilist at the Vigil Mass, concelebrated by his fellow cardinals and hundreds of the nation's bishops and priests.
After the Opening Mass there will be confessions, a National Rosary for Life, Night Prayer according to the Byzantine Rite, and holy hours from midnight until 6 a.m. led by seminarians from across the country. The Basilica and The Catholic University of America will host up to 1,600 pilgrims overnight. On January 22, the morning of the March for Life, the National Shrine will also host Morning Prayer at 6:30 a.m. and a closing Mass of Penance and Prayer at 7:30 a.m. Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, will be the principal celebrant and homilist.
The National Prayer Vigil for Life is co-sponsored by the Secretariat of 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: usccb.org/prolife/prayervigil.
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. To schedule an interview in advance, call on her cell phone, 202-262-6317 or contact Gene Tarne at (c) 571-331-7018 or email@example.com.
Footage from the Mass may also be obtained by Satellite TV feed courtesy of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). For coordinates, contact Jacquelyn Hayes at 202-281-0615.
Media should check in at the National Shrine's Upper Church Sacristy and present press credentials to Jacquelyn Hayes or Susan Gibbs to receive a badge for media access.