Friday January 22, 2010

Vigil Mass for Life: 45 Bishops, 350 Priests, 65 Deacons, 550 Seminarians

By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, DC, January 22, 2010 ( – Arriving over an hour early for the 6:30pm Vigil Mass for the March for Life yesterday, not only was every seat in the massive Basilica of the National Shrine occupied, but so was every good standing area. Brian McFee, his wife Molly and their children Lucas and Dominic were in the front row of seats open to the public – but to gain this distinction they had to arrive at 1pm to stake out their spot.

The Mass, which precedes the annual March for Life, is a joyous celebration of faith and commitment to life, and a stunning spectacle. Five Cardinals accompanying 40 other bishops and archbishops concelebrated the Mass with 350 priests. Also in the sanctuary were 65 deacons and a whopping 550 seminarians and 60 servers.

Hundreds of men and women religious also took part, with the steps leading up the to the sanctuary taken up by a large contingent of the Sisters of Life. Well over 8,000 faithful jammed every nook and cranny of the spacious Basilica both in the main church and the crypt below.

The Mass was open to millions more as well, as the event was broadcast via EWTN into countless homes.

During the 35-minute long opening procession the faithful looked on with awe as over 1000 men of the Church professed by their presence their commitment to the cause of life. The Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

As they processed out of the church a little baby was held aloft to the cheers of hundreds, and was blessed by Cardinal DiNardo.