With the beginning of a new year, the Pro-Life Office is making last minute plans for its annual pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. for the 48th annual March for Life. The March for Life will be held Jan. 21. Each year it is held near the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which made abortion legal, essentially on demand, in the United States.
This year Bishop John Iffert will join the pilgrims of the Diocese of Covington at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. The pilgrims include groups from several Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Covington, a contingent of about 50 adults traveling with the Pro-Life Office and individuals traveling on their own who have notified the Pro-Life Office of their plans to be there.
This will be Bishop Iffert’s first pilgrimage to the national March for Life and he will celebrate Mass at St. Dominic Church for the diocesan pilgrims the morning of the March.
“I’m looking forward to gathering with the people from the diocese and celebrating Mass in the morning,” said Bishop Iffert. “I’m looking forward to walking with those folks who want to give witness for the dignity of life and to call on our leaders to make policies that promote the dignity of human life and that respect and protect human life from conception to natural death … to give that witness and raise that voice.”
In the Diocese of Covington, for those who are not traveling to Washington D.C. for the March for Life, Bishop Iffert has declared Jan. 21 a Day of Prayer and Penance for Life.
“I invite everybody to be part of this day to, to mark this day as a day of penance for our country,”said Bishop Iffert. “Not in a punitive kind of way, but in really allowing ourselves to experience the grief of the wound of lost generations; really experience the grief and the wound that comes from aborting our children; really experience the grief and the wound that comes from the spreading of what John Paul II called the Culture of Death — to take that in and remember who we are called to be and let that change us.”
Legalized abortion, Bishop Iffert said, affects our basic mindset — both individually and collectively as a nation — into thinking that because something is legal it is also, somehow, moral.
“So it’s really important to take some time, to spend the day remembering that we really are grieved by what has been happening in our country,” Bishop Iffert said. “We are grieved every time somebody makes a decision against life — against the respect for life. We are grieved every time a woman feels like she has to make the decision for abortion. Take some time to rededicate ourselves to making other options available for those women, to make other options available for those children, so that we can be the witness to God’s gift of life.” On that day, all students in the diocese will pray a rosary for life during the school day, all parishes will set aside some time for Eucharistic adoration and a Holy Hour for Life will be held at 7 p.m. at 10 designated churches.
“In the diocese we have 10 churches where people can gather to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, where people can ask the Lord to change our hearts, to change the hearts of mothers and fathers who are making this decision — to help them know that they’re supported, to help them know that they’re loved, that they’re not going to be abandoned and to help our decision makers know that we want to be there to sacrifice for others. That’s really important,” Bishop Iffert said.
Many people participating in this year’s March for Life have been praying every day and marching every year since the 1973 Supreme Court decision that the law will be reversed and that the right to life will be restored as a basic human right in the United States. This year they are especially hopeful that those prayers will be answered.
Currently the Supreme Court is deciding the case Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The decision in this case could overturn Roe v Wade, returning the abortion decision to State governments.
In Kentucky, voters will decide whether or not the Kentucky Constitution supports the right to abortion. The “Kentucky No Right to Abortion in Constitution Amendment” is on the ballot, Nov. 8, as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. A “yes” vote supports amending the Kentucky Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion.
These upcoming legal and political decisions make it even more important for people to pray, reflect and be a voice for the unborn.
“It makes it all the more important that we participate in our local governments; that we make our values known to our neighbors; that people see the reasonableness of our faith,” said Bishop Iffert.
It’s important, he said, that “people see the thinking behind protecting life; that people understand that we believe that every life is a gift from God — given for the benefit of the common good — and that every time a life is cut short, every time a life is taken, that, somehow, we lose something that is necessary for life together. We lose a gift that God has given us.”