5 Cardinals, 39 Bishops, 10,000 faithful pack basilica for Vigil for Life Mass


WASHINGTON, DC, January 23, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Since early afternoon Sunday the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception had begun to fill for the 6:30 pm. National Prayer Vigil for Life Mass in anticipation of the March for Life.  By 6 pm. every nook and cranny of the giant basilica was packed with people.  The booming pipe organ and majestic choir signaled the commencement of the Mass, which began with a massive procession of hundreds of seminarians, deacons and priests followed by 39 bishops and five cardinals.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, was the principal celebrant and homilist, joined at the altar by Cardinals Donald Wuerl of Washington, Francis George of Chicago, Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, and Sean O’Malley of Boston.

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Washington, DC homily: all about truth, obedience, sacrifice, mystery, love and glory.

Bishop Edward Slattery, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, stepped up and made himself available to be celebrant for the Pontifical Mass in the older, traditional Extraordinary Form for the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the beginning of Pope Benedict’s pontificate, at the National  Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

Here’s how he wrapped up his 17-minute homily. Hear or read all of it using the link below.

Christ’s Sacred Heart is the image of the obedience which Christ showed by his sacrificial love on Calvary. The Sacrifice of Calvary is also for us the means by which we are made obedient and this is a point which you must never forget: at Mass, we offer ourselves to the Father in union with Christ, who offers Himself in perfect obedience to the Father. We make this offering in obedience to Christ who commanded us to “Do this in memory of me” and our obediential offering is perfected in the love with which the Father receives the gift of His Son.

Do not be surprised then that here at Mass, our bloodless offering of the bloody sacrifice of Calvary is a triple act of obedience. First, Christ is obedient to the Father, and offers Himself as a sacrifice of reconciliation. Secondly, we are obedient to Christ and offer ourselves to the Father with Jesus the Son; and thirdly, in sharing Christ’s obedience to the Father, we are made obedient to a new order of reality, in which love is supreme and life reigns eternal, in which suffering and death have been defeated by becoming for us the means by which Christ’s final victory, his future coming, is made manifest and real today.

Suffering then, yours, mine, the Pontiffs, is at the heart of personal holiness, because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory. It is the means by which we are made witnesses of his suffering and sharers in the glory to come.

Do not be dismayed that there are many in the Church who have not yet grasped this point, and fewer yet still in the world will even dare to consider it. But you – you know this to be true – and it is enough. For ten men who whisper the truth speak louder than a hundred million who lie.

If, then, someone asks of what we spoke today, tell them we spoke only of the truth. If someone asks why it is you came here to Mass, say that it was so that you could be obedient with Christ. If someone asks about the homily, tell them it was about a mystery. And if someone asks what I said to the present situation, tell them only that we must – all of us – become saints through what we suffer.

Link to Fr. Z’s site

Thousands expected for March for Life events at National Shrine

Washington D.C., Jan 17, 2010 / 03:14 pm (CNA).- The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception expects more than 10,000 people to attend its liturgies, prayer services, rosaries, Holy Hours and confessions for Catholics participating in the upcoming March for Life. Events will take place Jan. 20-22, a press release from the National Shrine reports.

On Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston will be principal celebrant and homilist for the Vigil Mass for Life. The cardinal is the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Following the Mass, from 10 p.m. to midnight there will be confessions, the National Rosary for Life and Night Prayer.

Holy Hours for Life will continue as part of the National Prayer Vigil from midnight to 6 a.m. The Closing Mass of the vigil will take place at 7:30 a.m. Its principal celebrant and homilist will be Archbishop for Military Services Timothy P. Broglio.

Both Masses will be broadcast live on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

The National Shrine and the Catholic University of America will house overnight participants in the March for Life who come from across the United States.

The March for Life commemorates the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that ordered abortion to be legalized across the United States.

According to the National Shrine, participants “demonstrate their belief in the sanctity of human life in all its stages from conception to natural death.”

The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception’s website is http://www.nationalshrine.com.