LOS ANGELES, CA, January 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The newly installed Archbishop of Los Angeles has announced that he will continue a unique commemoration of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade established by his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony: a requiem Mass for the unborn, with music composed by the director of a local choral group.
In a statement encouraging the faithful to consider attending the Mass, Archbishop Jose Gomez called the annual liturgy “the Church at its most sincere and most convincing when it comes to the issue of the right of the unborn to breathe that first breath.”
“This is not simply a gathering for activists, but rather, an opportunity for all to proclaim aloud this most basic tenet of our faith,” Gomez wrote. Since being raised to the episcopacy in 2001, Archbishop Gomez has become known for his outspoken support for the pro-life cause.
The Mass, which will be held at 6 p.m. on January 21st at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, concludes with a touching ritual to commemorate aborted children. Candles are brought forward by attendees and placed in the Cathedral plaza, one for each life lost to abortion that day in the County of Los Angeles.
The Archbishop explained in his letter to priests of the Archdiocese that the candles would remain lit and on display for a week “as a vivid reminder, to the greater Southern California community, of our continuing commitment to life.”
The liturgy also features an original score written by John Bonaduce, director of the Los Angeles Catholic choral group Shantigarh.
Bonaduce’s composition, which includes several hymns and musical settings for the Mass parts, began as a prayer service for the unborn, and evolved into a Mass, which Cardinal Mahoney began celebrating in 2004.
“Civilized men and women must come forward and bury their dead,” Bonaduce told the Tidings Newspaper. He added that the Mass is intended to emphasize that an unborn child is “a person deserving all the rights of a funeral. In a backwards way, we’re building the personhood of those who were aborted.”
Inspired by the book of Wisdom, one of Bonaduce’s hymns proclaims: “Before the Lord, the whole universe is as a grain or a drop of morning dew. And though we are small his love is great, for he is Lord and lover of souls.”
“If the Lord can see us in a drop of morning dew, I invite the listener to see life in a single cell or in an unborn child. If God can make that reach, it’s my hope that we can,” the composer mused.