WASHINGTON, January 21, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - LifeSiteNews.com reports today from Washington DC where we were blessed to take in the Mass at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.  In addition to an immense overflow crowd of some 8000, 70 seminarians, 80 deacons, 300 priests and 40 bishops joined four cardinals to celebrate the Mass.

The homily was given by the main celebrant of the Mass, Baltimore Cardinal William Keeler, the current Chairman of the US Conference of Bishops Pro-Life Committee. The Cardinal urged the youth who made up the vast majority of the crowd to “be not afraid” even though it may seem we are like David up against many Goliaths.  He advised the youth to take up the ‘five smooth stones’ of conviction, courage, compassion, charity and constancy.

The massive crowd applauded occasionally during the homily however applause erupted after the Mass when Cardinal Keeler read a special message from President George Bush and the First Lady to the gathered pilgrims at the vigil for life.  “I applaud all those participating in the national prayer vigil for life for your ongoing dedication to building a culture of life in America.  Your efforts are helping to build a society where all children are welcomed in life and protected in law,” said the President’s message.  The experience of the Mass was very uplifting.  One felt a great unity and shared spirit among the huge crowd that jammed every corner of the basilica.  The sheer number of priests and clergy in the procession was awesome to behold.  The huge crowd of pro-lifers praying for the right to life, hundreds, even thousands kneeling in aisles on the marble floor was truly inspiring and instilled a sense of great hope for the future.  The wonderful music and chant added to the joy of the celebration.