Local Walk for Life, Mass to take place Jan. 22

A group of pilgrims took part in the Archdiocese of Louisville’s annual Walk for Life on Jan. 24, 2020, in downtown Louisville. (Record File Photo by Jessica Able)

The Archdiocese of Louisville will host a local Walk for Life and Mass Jan. 22 at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. Fifth Street, to mark the 48th anniversary of the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision.

The walk and Mass are sponsored by the Family Ministries Office’s pro-life ministry and the Office of Youth and Young Adults.

The archdiocese typically sponsors a delegation of youth participants to the national Walk for Life held in Washington, D.C., each year to commemorate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States in 1973. This year the archdiocese will mark the anniversary locally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an annual event that is being expanded this year, said event organizers.

Ed Harpring, coordinator of pro-life ministries, said the walk and Mass are an opportunity to pray for the sanctity of life.

“We are disappointed we will not go to the annual march but the silver lining is we are still participating on a local level,” Harpring said in a recent interview. “Over 3,500 abortions take place here in our own city every year. That is a reason to do an event right here in our own city, where we need to advocate in a special way as well.”

Participants may begin gathering at the Cathedral at 4:30 p.m. From 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., participants will take part in a 1.5 mile prayer walk. Those unable to walk are invited to remain at the Cathedral in prayer.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz will celebrate Mass at the Cathedral at 6:30 p.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, seating is limited to 200 people. Participants must register in advance by emailing Ed Harpring at eharpring@archlou.org or Karl Dolson at kdolson@archlou.org.

Following the Mass, the Family Ministries Office and the Knights of Columbus will present awards to the winners of the 2020-2021 Respect Life Essay Contest. Authors of the top three essays will be awarded $1,000, $700 and $300, respectively, to use for tuition to a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Eighth-graders were invited to write about an issue related to respect for human life, such as abortion, the death penalty, Down syndrome, euthanasia, foster care, the intrinsic value of human life, racism or religious persecution.

An announcement about the contest said it was meant to “engage young people in our Catholic faith, help them grow in their relationship with Christ and come to a better understanding of what it means to become a living witness to the gift of life.”

The annual Pro-Life Memorial Mass, celebrated annually at St. Martin of Tours Church to observe the Roe v. Wade anniversary, will not take place this year.

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