By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz told those gathered at the annual Memorial Mass for the Sanctity of Life that the assembly gathered in “the name of life, knowing that all life comes from our creator” Jan. 21 at St. Martin of Tours Church.
“All human life needs to be cherished, preserved and protected because every human from the moment of conception to the last moment of life here on earth is a reflection of the very person of Jesus Christ,” the archbishop said.
More than 400 people filled the pews of St. Martin of Tours, 639 S. Shelby St., “to speak for life, to pray for life and to walk with people who are tempted to disregard human life,” the archbishop said. The annual Mass, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, is celebrated each year near the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in 1973.
During his homily, Archbishop Kurtz spoke about his visit to Washington, D.C. just days prior, where he attended the national March for Life. He noted the moving experience he shared with thousands of young people, including several hundred from the Archdiocese of Louisville, at the Capital One Arena, where the Archdiocese of Washington hosted its annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life prior to the March.
At the march, the archbishop said he and others heard of the “great gains” made in pro-life legislation, especially in regulations, over the course of the last year.
There were also “much-needed changes” regarding religious liberty legislation, he said, as it relates to “our ability not to impose on other people and not to have others, even our own government, impose on us,” he said.
The archbishop also made note of the Novena to Mary, the Undoer of Knots. (A novena is a special nine-day prayer.) He related this to a woman who is experiencing an unexpected or even an unwanted pregnancy.
“They feel they have a knot in their lives” and “they are often given bad advice,” he said.
With this bad advice, they make a “bad knot” into a “tragedy” with the loss of a child, the archbishop said.
“You and I are here today in order to stand up so that we might be a witness,” he said.
He acknowledged that some people criticize members of the pro-life movement by saying they only care for the unborn child. But, the archbishop rejected this notion.
“Where there is a mother who is with child, we are talking about two human beings, not one,” he said. “It’s helpful for us to know that we come as people of compassion. We come as people who know compassion is always founded in truth, by reaching out and walking with people and accompanying people.”
Archbishop Kurtz said young people are often told they have to make a choice: between the child in the womb and the mother.
“As if we can make the choice. You and I need to untie that knot and say no. We walk with both,” he said. “Most especially, we walk with the person who has no voice, the child in the womb. We walk with that child’s mother and father.”
Student representatives brought up four baskets of red roses and 45 single white roses during the offertory profession. The white roses represented the years since the Roe v. Wade decision, and the red roses signified the gift of life.
Following Communion, representatives from parishes and organizations received a red rose on behalf of their faith community as a sign of their recommitment to pro-life ministry.