The Paulus Institute will host the fifth annual Nellie Gray Mass in
memory of Gray, the founder of the March for Life, which began in 1974, following
the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision Jan. 22,
1973, that legalized abortion. Gray died in 2012.
The 1962 Latin Mass, which Gray attended, will be celebrated by
Father Paul D. Scalia, episcopal vicar for clergy and director of the diaconate
formation program for the Arlington Diocese Jan. 27 at St. Mary, Mother of God
Church in Washington at 3 p.m., following the march.
"First you march in defense of the unborn and then you pray for the soul of the woman who started it." Karen Hickey, spokeswoman for the Paulus Institute
“The Paulus Institute had the thought to memorialize her
contribution as the driver of the March for Life from its inception 40 years
prior, to which she gave up her legal career and dedicated her life,” said Paul
King, president of the Paulus Institute. “The Mass was intended to keep her
name affixed to the March at the church where she worshipped.”
Karen Hickey, spokeswoman for the Paulus Institute and
parishioner of St. Mary, said more than 500 attend the Mass, and it is standing
room only. She estimates that nearly 80 percent of those in attendance are under
“This Mass is organized by fellow parishioners for the repose of
Nellie’s soul,” Hickey said. “We felt it was important to honor her and pray
for her soul. First you march in defense of the unborn and then you pray for
the soul of the woman who started it.”
Gray received the diocesan Bishop Thomas J. Welsh Distinguished
Service Award from the Brent Society in 2009, an award that honors those who
“served their fellow man without regard to social, political or economic
stress, while courageously promoting the fundamental dignity and rights of
mankind in the name of the Lord.”
The music will be provided by the Vox in Rama Choir from the
Church of the Holy Innocents in New York, and the Mass will be the Missa In médio Ecclésiæ Intret for the feast day of St. John
Chrysostom, bishop, confessor and doctor of the church.
If you go
Nellie Gray Mass at St. Mary, Mother of God Church, 727
Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m.