Prayer and penance for life to be celebrated locally

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

As 2021 opens and events continue to be canceled or postponed, the annual Day of Prayer and Penance for Life will continue to champion the pro-life cause. On Jan. 29, in conjunction with the March for Life in Washington, DC, the Diocese of Covington will pray and offer acts of penance for an end to abortion. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no one from the diocese will be traveling from the schools or parishes to Washington, but the diocese will still support the pro-life cause locally.

Now, more than ever, Bishop Roger Foys asks the faithful to set aside time for prayer and penance. There will be no holy hours this year; however, Bishop Foys will celebrate Mass at 9 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. He asks for the faithful’s participation at the Mass, which will also be live-streamed and recorded on the cathedral website.

“The cause for life is no less important, but we want to be responsible with the protocols for COVID-19,” said Bishop Foys. He emphasized that keeping the established protocols is one way of being pro-life: “Certainly on this day we recall the horrific Supreme Court decision in 1973 of legalizing abortion, but also, life at all stages is important and the protocols have been issued as a way of protecting life also. We can’t take it any less seriously.”

New this year, diocesan schools will involve all students in the Day of Prayer and Penance by watching the Mass during school. While in the past, some students traveled and some remained behind, now all can be united in prayer simultaneously. Parents and others can also join by streaming Mass online. Additionally, anyone can watch it afterwards on the cathedral website.

One week prior to the March for Life, President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. With the recent elections, the Democratic party has taken control of both the House and the Senate. For many in the pro-life movement the change in political leadership is unsettling as the stated Democratic platform seeks to protect and expand access to abortion.

Bishop Foys encourages those in the pro-life movement to persevere in their peaceful efforts to protect the unborn and to focus not only on changing laws but also on changing hearts and minds. Much of that work is done in schools, homes and the sidewalks outside of abortion of clinics.

“We have been fighting this fight for 48 years this year,” he said. “And in all that time, we still have not seen the Roe v. Wade decision overturned. No matter who is in office, we must be vigilant in our cause for life. No matter who is in office, we have to work no less seriously for the right to life in all its stages.”

Ultimately, he said, “… the life of an unborn child is not a political football. This is a life issue and a moral issue, not a political issue. It’s the difference between right and wrong. Abortion is morally wrong; to take anyone’s life is wrong, period.”

It is up to the individual, Bishop Foys emphasized, to act and speak from the heart for this issue. “What have we done in the last 48 years to change hearts and to change minds, by our own witness and our own example?” he said. “We continue the fight.”