Day of Prayer and Penance for Life demonstrates support for young people on March for Life

By Laura Keener

The diocesan Pro-Life Office, high school students, junior high students, and families are preparing to attend the 45th annual March for Life, Jan. 19, in Washington, D.C. The event, attended by tens of thousands of people from across the United States, marks the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortion on demand legal in the United States.

Over 1,000 people, mostly teenagers, filling 23 buses from the Diocese of Covington will travel to the nation’s capital to participate in the march. The march is a peaceful demonstration, demanding that the constitutional right to life of all people, including the unborn, be restored in the nation’s laws. Prior to the march, at 9 a.m. at St. Dominic Church, Washington, D.C., diocesan pilgrims will gather to pray the rosary before Mass celebrated by Bishop Roger Foys.

At that same time, back home in the nine high schools and 28 elementary schools in the Diocese of Covington, students will also pray the rosary, joining their prayers with the prayers of their classmates in Washington.

“We start our day with prayer and to think that back at home that hundreds more people will be praying in our churches, not just for us and our safe travels but also to pray in unity with us for what we are marching for in Washington, D.C. is powerful,” said Faye Roch, director, Pro-Life Office.

For the 10th consecutive year Bishop Foys has declared a Day of Prayer and Penance for Life in the diocese to coincide with the March for Life in Washington, D.C. In addition to the morning prayer service at schools on Jan. 19, Bishop Foys has instructed that all parishes remain open during the day for private prayer by the faithful of the diocese and to set aside at least some time for Eucharistic adoration. That evening, at 10 parishes, beginning at 7 p.m. a Holy Hour for Life will be prayed. (For a listing of those parishes and a schedule for Eucharistic adoration see Jan. 12 edition of the Messenger.) Everyone in the diocese is encouraged to make attending the Holy Hour a priority on that day.

“Being a part of the Day of Prayer and Penance for Life and the Holy Hour is witnessing to our young people that you also respect the dignity of human life,” said Mrs. Roch.

Mrs. Roch said that it is especially important for the teens on the march to know that their parents, grandparents, family and friends are supporting them in prayer.

“As a parent you could not give your child a better witness than to take one hour of your busy day to attend the Holy Hour,” she said. “It recognizes their sacrifice by saying, ‘I know you took a 20-plus hour trip to Washington, D.C. and you went on the walk, so I am going to give you an hour of my day to pray in unity with you and for you.’”

By the time the Holy Hour for Life begins in the diocese, many of the buses will be making their return trip home. Mrs. Roch said it is during that time, as night falls and the atmosphere inside the buses quiets, that the students begin to process the experience of the March for Life.

“Many of the young people are grateful that they have went,” said Mrs. Roch. “This is an experience that has touched them and will be with them for a long time. For many it is the first time that they have ever thought about an unborn baby having rights. Some of our students are being raised in a single-parent home and this is the first time that they are realizing that their mother chose to give them life.”

The Holy Hour offers an especially graced time for parents to pray that the Holy Spirit will touch the heart of their child, giving them the hope and the courage to continue to be a witness for life and to know that a community of support surrounds them, she said.

There are still a few seats on the adult bus and hotel rooms available for anyone wanting to travel to the March for Life. Contact the Pro-Life Office at (859) 392-1500.