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Bishop Burbidge celebrates the annual Respect Life Mass

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Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the annual Respect Life Mass at St. John the Beloved Church in McLean the morning of Oct. 8. Father Christopher J. Pollard, pastor, concelebrated.

Bishop Burbidge called for a moment of silence at the beginning of Mass for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting Oct. 1.

"Every day is Respect Life day," said Bishop Burbidge in his homily. "But the church in her wisdom, designates October as Respect Life Month. This designation helps us to remember to give thanks to God for a gift that we can so easily take for granted.”

Parishioner Jessica Maleski said the youngest of her seven children, Danny, has Down syndrome. “Respect Life Month is something that’s important to us for personal reasons but also just as a culture to see the beauty and importance of everyone,” she said. 

Parishioner William Kmasel said the Mass was an important reminder that life is precious in all forms. “It is a simple lesson, but one needed to keep repeating,” he said. “We cannot take it for granted — the lesson or life.”

St. John the Beloved is involved with the 40 Days for Life Campaign, which seeks to end abortion through prayer, fasting and vigils.  

“The fact that Bishop Burbidge (was) here during the fall campaign is very special,” said Andrea DelVecchio, pro-life coordinator at the parish. “His strong advocacy for the gospel of life and his prayerful witness at the abortion centers around the diocese has impressed many to join in the pro-life movement.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Oct. 3 that would ban abortions after 20 weeks with few exceptions. In a statement, Bishop Burbidge said he was encouraged that “it offers a greater defense of human life to the most vulnerable of people: the child in the womb. I pray that the U.S. Senate will also pass this bill and that President Trump will sign it into law.”

“Every person, no matter his or her condition or state in life, deserves basic protection from harm and death,” his statement read. “Women deserve better than abortion, and the Catholic Church stands ready to assist them in the challenges their pregnancies might pose.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017