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Morning rally and Mass prepares youths to March for Life

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EagleBank Arena in Fairfax filled with more than 5,300 people for the morning Life is VERY Good rally and Mass Jan. 19. The crowd was greeted by Father James R. Searby, chaplain at George Mason University in Fairfax. Ennie Hickman, president of the missionary organization Adore Ministries, gave the keynote address.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge welcomed the crowd and read a letter from the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre.

During his homily, Bishop Burbidge shared examples of light dispelling the darkness.

“The power of God to transform hearts and lives, to dispel darkness with light and to conquer evil with goodness is the faith that unites us today,” said Bishop Burbidge. “I am sure all of us could give examples of how God has done that in our lives and in the world around us.”

Bishop Burbidge reflected on the opening of the Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas in the place of a former abortion clinic. “The Mother of Mercy Free Clinic stands as a visible sign of the power of God to make all things new, a gift for which we pray as we sadly acknowledge the horrific reality that abortion is legalized in our country,” he said. “This is not God’s law and, as today’s Gospel teaches, it is the Lord to whom we are ultimately accountable. So, we go forth today in His Truth and march peacefully and confidently in our nation’s capital to proclaim what St. Paul reminds us: We are God’s beloved children, created in His very image and likeness and, thus, life at every stage and the dignity of all people must be celebrated and protected.”

Between the evening and morning rallies, 11,109 unique participants attended from 50 dioceses and 26 states.

The largest group attending the morning rally came from Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries with 461. Diocesan middle and high school students totaled 1,635 participants. Between the two events, the state with the most attendees this year was Virginia with 2,978 participants from the Dioceses of Arlington and Richmond combined. More than 2,600 of those were from the Arlington Diocese.

The state with the second-most attendees was Louisiana, with 1,195 for the evening rally from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Dioceses of Baton Rouge and Houma-Thibodaux.    

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018