By MARNIE McALLISTER, Record Assistant Editor
The Rally for Life, above, and the 40th annual Pro-life Memorial
Mass mark the 40th anniversary of the legalization of abortion
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, who presided at the liturgy, thanked the faithful for their work to end abortion and called on them to share “the Gospel of life” with the people they know.
He noted that when the Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe vs. Wade was announced on Jan. 22, 1973, “I was still in my first year as a priest.”
“It was a new day and it was not a very happy day,” he said during the homily. “Much has happened in the last 40 years. So much taking of human life.”
For some years, surveys showed the numbers of people who sought to end abortion were declining, the archbishop said.
“Fewer and fewer people were willing to say they were pro-life. Then, all of a sudden, in the 1990s — especially in the late 90s — the surveys began to change. And we began to see a new day,” he said.
“As science progesses, of course, we know more about the growth of a child from the very moment of conception,” he
noted. “Each year, as we know more, science tells us how precious is that gift. The polls are
changing and there’s a possibility of a new day.”
Catholics, he said, can help change the tide by reaching out to others.
“God has a way of using different people to reach others,” he told the congregation, which included Catholics from parishes, schools and organizations around the Archdiocese of Louisville. “There is someone who the Lord wants you … to reach with the Gospel of life.”
He encouraged the faithful to “be public” about their efforts by writing letters to the editor of local newspapers and by talking about abortion with their co-workers. He urged students to “speak up in class.”
He also encouraged the faithful to reach out to families in need and to mothers experiencing difficult pregnancies.
He ended his homily by praying for the faithul to always be courageous, compassionate and civil in their efforts to end abortion.
At the end of the liturgy, 150 members of the congregation — representing a parish, school or organization — were called forward to receive a red rose and an icon of St. Michael. The roses signified their “rededication and recommittment to respect for all human life,” said Jane Peak, the announcer.
Peak, who organizes the annual Mass with her husband Mike Peak, also told the congregation that many of those in the pews — including herself — have attended the Mass for 40 years.
“I was asked recently how pro-life people keep from losing heart,” she noted. “The answer is faith. We must not fall victim to despair and we must not lose faith.