For the first time since 1974, pro-life advocates will not make their annual pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., for the national March for Life to protect the unborn. Organizers notified registered participants that due to health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, the 48th annual event set for Friday, January 29 will take place online.
The event will be livestreamed beginning at 11 a.m. ET on the 29th and include speeches from pro-life leaders, a performance by Christian singer-songwriter Matthew West, and information on how to stay involved in the pro-life movement year round.
To register, visit https://marchforlife.org/2021-virtual-events/
Diocese of Pittsburgh auxiliary Bishop William Waltersheid also suggested that parishes schedule a Holy Hour, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
“We must not forget those who have no voice but ours to speak for their defense, their well-being and their right to be born,” said Bishop Waltersheid, who also serves as Vicar for Evangelization. “Let us offer our prayer without ceasing and make our voices heard, not just in January but throughout the entire year.”
Father Terry O’Connor, pastor of Mary, Mother of God Parish in E. McKeesport/ McKeesport/Versailles/White Oak and a veteran of 15 marches, said he was saddened by the decision to move the march online, but supported it.
“I look forward to joining with the faithful in other prayer opportunities,” Father O’Connor said. “In our parish at St. Angela church on January 29 at noon, we will celebrate a Rosary for Life in-person and livestreamed.”
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. will host the annual Mass and Vigil for Life online, with portions streamed from other dioceses. The opening Mass begins at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, January 28, followed by nightlong prayers from other dioceses, ending with 8 a.m. Mass on the 29th. The portions from 8-11 p.m. and 8-9 a.m. will be carried on the Basilica website https://www.nationalshrine.org/mass/ and on EWTN.
Information about livestream prayers from other dioceses can be found here: https://www.usccb.org/prolife/national-prayer-vigil-life-frequently-asked-questions
The Youth Mass and Rally for Life, hosted by the Archdiocese of Washington, also is online. It kicks off January 29 at 8:30 a.m. on https://youthrallyandmassforlife.org/ and the Archdiocese’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Whether celebrated nationally or locally, the March for Life should not be a one-time event, according to Helen Cindrich, executive director of People Concerned for the Unborn Child, founded in 1969.
“Even in the midst of this pandemic, I believe this time is divinely inspired,” she said. “We need to educate and encourage people to know the facts, and to write pro-life letters to lawmakers and to editors. And most of all, we can pray.”