Speak with compassion, says archbishop

Elizabeth Guyer and Aaron McGraw, front from left, and Joshua Bagaipo and Cecilia Norton, back from left, all confirmandi of St. Martin of Tours Church, took part in the offertory procession during the annual Memorial Mass for Life Jan. 22 at St. Martin of Tours in downtown Louisville. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

Elizabeth Guyer and Aaron McGraw, front from left, and Joshua Bagaipo and Cecilia Norton, back from left, all confirmandi of St. Martin of Tours Church, took part in the offertory procession during the annual Memorial Mass for Life Jan. 22 at St. Martin of Tours in downtown Louisville. (Record Photo by Jessica Able)

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz asked those gathered at the annual Memorial Mass for Life Jan. 22 to renew their commitment to life and to speak with compassion.

The archbishop told the faithful who nearly filled St. Martin of Tours Church in downtown Louisville to “consider the way we speak with our neighbors and with our friends.”

“Do we find compassion and the right way to speak the truth of life and to speak of God?” he asked.

The Mass is celebrated each year near the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in 1973.

This year’s liturgy comes just two weeks after the 2017 Kentucky General Assembly passed two measures that place tighter restrictions on abortion. Both measures were signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin on Jan. 9.

One measure requires a woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound and the other bans abortion after 20 weeks gestation. Archbishop Kurtz lauded both new laws and said women now have a “deeper informed consent.”

“The laws are very important in shaping not only the culture but even our hearts. But they are not substitutes for changing and deepening our hearts,” he said.

He thanked God for those gathered who are “willing to talk compassionately to all people, even people who do not agree with us and to be able to speak compassionately

and courageously about the gift of life.”

Recalling the day’s Scripture reading from Isaiah, the archbishop said two things stop us for speaking out for life: fear and a feeling of unworthiness.

“We are afraid we are not going to be successful. We are afraid we are going to make a mistake. We are afraid to make a fool of ourselves,” he said.

He recalled the prophet Isaiah’s words: “Those who live in fear and darkness have seen a great light.”

“Light banishes fear,” the archbishop said.

The other failing that keeps us from “acting for pro-life is that we do not believe we are chosen.”

Jesus sees each one of us, the archbishop said, as he saw each of the three apostles on the shores of Galilee.

“He looked into each of their eyes and said ‘I want you to follow me, to be chosen.’ ”

To act and speak for life, he said, is a responsibility but also a privilege.

“We renew our commitment to life, our commitment to defend life in our words and in our lives,” he said.

And, he said, Catholics must also “renew our commitment to walk with people so that they might be supported.”

The national Walk for Life will be held in Washington, D.C., tomorrow, Jan. 27.

Locally, the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Walk for Life will also take place on Jan. 27. Participants will gather at 4:30 p.m. in the undercroft of the Cathedral of
the Assumption, 433 S. 5th St.

The mile and a half prayer walk will begin at 5 p.m. and will end between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

For more information contact Karl Dolson at kdolson@archlou.org or by calling 448-8581.

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