PORTLAND---Over 50 high school youths and accompanying adults will join Bishop Robert P. Deeley on a diocesan pilgrimage to the 2019 March for Life on Friday, January 18, in Washington, D.C. The pilgrimage is sponsored by the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Lifelong Faith Formation.
The March for Life began as a small demonstration and rapidly grew to be the largest pro-life event in the world, with hundreds of thousands of people attending annually. The peaceful demonstration is held annually in January to recognize and mourn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion.
“I think it is fair to say that these young people participate in the March for Life convinced of the value of each human life and wanting through their witness to help others to try to come to appreciate and treasure the gift which is life,” said Bishop Deeley. “It is heartening to know that statistics seem to indicate that the number of abortions in Maine is declining, but we continue our advocacy in the hope that we will find a way for all in our society to embrace an ethic which values all human life, from conception to natural death.”
Participants in the Maine delegation come from parishes in Augusta, Bangor, Bridgton, Falmouth, Fort Kent, Gorham, Houlton, Lewiston, Limerick, Madawaska, Presque Isle, Saco, and Van Buren.
After a bus trip to Washington, D.C., the Maine delegation will attend an opening Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Thursday, January 17. The following day, the participants will attend a pre-March Mass with Bishop Deeley before traveling to the National Mall for the actual March for Life to the Supreme Court Building. Bishop Deeley will hold an evening prayer service on Friday night before the delegation returns to Maine on Saturday, January 19.
Those who are unable to attend the March for Life can join thousands of Catholics across the country in nine days of prayer for life and human dignity. A novena, "9 Days of Life," begins on Monday, January 14. On each day, there are suggested prayers, a reflection, educational information, and possible daily actions. For more information and for an easy-to-follow guide to the novena, click here.
On Saturday, January 12, Bishop Deeley and hundreds of others took part in the annual Hands Around the Capitol rally in Augusta (story and pictures from Mass, rally, and march here). The bishop celebrated Mass at St. Mary of the Assumption Church prior to a rally at St. Michael School. The large gathering then marched to the state capitol to advocate for the protection of life. Holding octagonal "Stop Abortion Now" sign, participants encircled part of the capitol while the capitol bell was rung 46 times, once for each year that has passed since the Roe v. Wade decision. Each time the bell tolled, a red rose was placed on the ground. The rally concluded with a moment of silence for the lives lost to abortion.