This Friday, 25 January, the March for Life will be held in Washington, D.C., marking the 40th anniversary of the Roe versus Wade decision on abortion in the United States. An enormous amount of traditional Catholics attend the March -- and I am guessing nearly everyone reading this within driving distance to our nation's capital will be there Friday to walk peacefully down Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Supreme Court. Some people even fly in from other parts of the country or world. It is a huge annual event, particularly this year with the unfortunate milestone.
The speeches by pro-life leaders will be at 12 noon, and the March itself will be around 1-3 p.m. Before and after those times (hauntingly, noon to three on a Friday, after 40 years) there will be numerous traditional Latin Masses offered near the site of the March.
The parish that offers the only public traditional Latin Mass in Washington, D.C., will be the site of all the Masses: Saint Mary, Mother of God, church at 5th and H streets, Northwest. The closest Metro station is Gallery Place / Chinatown, using the 7th and H street exit and walking two blocks to Old Saint Mary's. The church and traditional Latin Mass there have a special connection to the March for Life, as it was the long-time parish of Miss Nellie J. Gray, who started the March for Life and ran it every year until passing away in August. This photo was taken during her funeral, a traditional Latin Requiem Missa Cantata offered by Father Alfred J. Harris, pastor, with Cardinals O'Malley and Wuerl in choro:
Here is a list of traditional Latin Masses scheduled to be offered there on Friday, 25 January, before and after the March for Life:
7 a.m. Low Mass
8 a.m. High Mass for the feast of the conversion of Saint Paul, with Saint Peter commemorated, in remembrance of, and for the respose of, the soul of Miss Nellie Gray. Organized by the Paulus Institute for the Propagation of Sacred Liturgy, the Mass will be offered by Father Gregory Pendergraft, F.S.S.P. The parish schola of men, under the direction of Mr. David Sullivan, will chant the propers of the Mass, and a mixed choir will sing Josef Gabriel Rhineberger's "Mass in G" and polyphonic motets. Details may be found here.
After the 8 a.m. High Mass, it is likely that several visiting priests will offer TLMs at the three altars in the sanctuary. In the past, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and various diocesan clergy have offered traditional Latin Low Masses at the main and side altars on the morning of the March. "Concelebration" -- traditionalist style.
6 p.m. Pontifical High Mass to be offered by Bishop Joseph Perry of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Organized by Juventutem Michigan, a young adult group, this will be a Requiem Mass at the faldstool for the repose of the souls of Catholics who worked for the pro-life cause, such as Miss Nellie Gray. The parish schola of men will chant the propers and ordinary of the Mass under the direction of a guest conductor, Mr. Wassim Sarweh of Assumption Church in Windsor, Ontario, and a mixed choir will sing polyphonic motets. Father Karl Marsolle, FSSP, will serve as deacon; Deacon Joseph DeGuzman, FSSP, will serve as subdeacon; Father Benoit Guichard, FSSP, will be the assistant priest; and Father Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP, will be the MC, among other clergy participating. It will be followed by an Italian dinner for young adults. Details may be found here.
There are numerous events wrapped around the March for Life in Washington, D.C. A fair warning, many (most?) of the Catholic ones are extremely charismatic in style. How fortunate traditional Catholics are to have multiple and convenient options for the Latin Mass and fellowship on an otherwise sad anniversary. Tell a friend -- or better yet, bring one.