Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange, urged Orange County Catholics to mark the Jan. 22 anniversary of the landmark court decision of Roe v. Wade by participating in a day of reparation, praying and fasting for an increased reverence for human life. In the evening, a special Mass was celebrated in Christ Cathedral by Msgr. Stephen Doktorczyk, vicar general for the Diocese of Orange.
Parishioners and clergy in attendance prayed for an end to abortion, for the healing of those involved in abortion, and for the protection for the lives of the unborn.
“It is one thing to pray, it is another thing for us to act with our words and our actions,” said Msgr. Doktorczyk in his homily. “We always want to see how we can be part of the solution, as slow as the solution might be, as long as it may take, to be alongside and persevere. We must realize the reality in which we are living and the need for us to be devoted through prayer, fasting, persuasion, and compassion.”
Among those in attendance were parishioners, priests, and religious sisters from across the Diocese of Orange. Sr. Thu Lieu attended the event with 15 other sisters in her community.
“As Lovers of the Holy Cross, we have a charism to pray for the unborn and also for women who have gone astray, especially in this area,” she said. “We’re not only here to pray for the unborn, for those who were aborted, but also women who are in a situation where they feel like there is no way out. We wanted to join together to pray with the Diocese for this intention.”
Greg Walgenbach, director of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace, spoke about the significance of the event.
“The Mass is always a celebration of life, specifically our communion in the divine life through the Word made flesh, the Body and Blood of Christ given to us, God’s perfect gift for the life of the world sanctifying and uniting us to one another in worship of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” he said.
The Office of Life, Justice and Peace serves a mission that is “formed by the Gospel, organized for action, and rooted in prayer” to spread awareness on social justice issues.
A ministry fair was held in the Cathedral Cultural Center following the Mass. Attendees were able to connect with the pregnancy centers, shelters, and clinics the Diocese partners with on a daily basis. Campaigns present at the fair included the 40 Days for Life, which hosts prayer vigils and offers support at sidewalks in front of abortion clinics. Among the various organizations was the La Habra Pregnancy Life Center, a clinic that supports mothers with crisis pregnancies by providing necessities and medical support at no cost.
Nearly half-a-century ago the Supreme Court Case ruling in Roe v. Wade effectively removed the legal protection for the unborn. According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, its legacy is virtually incalculable and has left death, sorrow, and turmoil. Decided on the same day, Doe v. Bolton removed legal provisions and expanded the access to abortions.
Between 2010–2014, an estimated 56 million induced abortions occurred each year worldwide, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a leading research and policy organization specializing in reproductive statistics.
Pope Francis expressed that everything is connected in “Laudato Si,” his encyclical published in 2015 that calls on Catholics to hold a reverence for life, from conception until natural death.
“No human being can ever be incompatible with life, not for his age, nor for his health conditions, nor for the quality of his existence,” said Pope Francis at the “Yes to Life” anti-abortion conference in Rome in May 2019.
Added Walgenbach, “There are many ways to participate in working for a world in which abortion is unthinkable, including robust support for mothers, children, families through health care, child care, parenting support, support groups…and more,” he said. “We can all do our part to encourage a culture of life.”
The Diocese offers support for those affected by abortion through the ministry of Hope & Healing. If you or someone you know would like to contact the ministry of Hope & Healing after an abortion, please contact 1-800-772-4356 or email [email protected].