Rorate Caeli

March for Life in Washington, D.C.

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.


  1. Matthew Rose6:50 PM

    According to Catholic Family News, there will also be a Sung High Mass at 8am on Friday, 25 January offered by the Benedictines of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery. The Mass will be at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 400 New Jersey, NW.

  2. Beware of mendacious media and police estimates of crowd numbers.
    In France, BBC claimed 334,000 (put in dounbt the 800,000 given by the organisers. When calculations were done following there well were over one million.
    Thety will try to do the same or the govt will provoke a diversion crisis headline to dilute media attention.

  3. A Volonese Parishioner9:09 PM

    The Canons of St. John Cantius are coming to the March with five busloads of young people. I hope they attend the Latin Mass with Bishop Perry.

  4. Anonymous9:17 PM

    May Bp. Perry be the next Bishop of Rochester!

  5. I would love to be there but unfortuately where I live and much of the Eastern Seaboard will be hit by severe snow Thursday night into Friday.

    It would be great if the TLM is being offered at the Basilica as it was in the past.
    Standing room only.

  6. A Volonese Parishioner12:25 AM

    Dear Anonymous:

    Alas, the good Bishop Perry is not going to Rochester (an old Tom Peters rumor). For the sake of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, I would hope that he at least stays in Chicago. But if one is hoping, why not hope that the Pope elevate him right in Chicago to Archbishop? That would be a fine thing indeed.

  7. Boko Fittleworth3:23 AM

    Is there an 11am TLM at the Basilica? I've heard rumors...

  8. Ave Maria!
    This is fra Charles with the Franciscans of the Immaculate. The picture posted is not of us, but of the CFR's. Could you update it to this picture:
    Ave Maria!

  9. The 11:00 am at the Basilica in the upper church is a NO Mass for the Dioceses of North Carolina. Bishop Burbidge - Raleigh and Bishop Jugi - Charlotte. One will offer the Mass, the other will give the homily.

  10. Could you put this help request of the Benedectines of the Immaculate of Imperia, Italy?
    Alas the site in english is not updated as in the other languages (Ita, Ger, Esp, French)
    I put the link in French:
    They are only five but are growing and need prayers and money to enlarge the monastery! They came from Le-Barroux, so they are very very good and are friends of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate! Thanks 4 help!

  11. The SSPX have gotten permission to offer the TLM in the Basilica:

  12. All are invited to join the 9th Annual Walk for Life West Coast Rally in San Francisco on January 26, 2013. Founded in 2005, the Walk for Life West Coast’s mission is to change the perceptions of a society that thinks abortion is an answer.

    Walk participants will include Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the papal nuncio to the United States, 14 Catholic bishops including San Francisco’s new Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, and thousands of other pro-life supporters from throughout the Bay Area and across the United States and Canada.

    More details and the most up-to-date information about the walk is available at:
    For those needing transportation, visit for local ride information.

    There will be a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form, following the Walk for Life West Coast.
    The Mass will be at the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, 610 Vallejo St, San Francisco, at 5:00 p.m. after Walk For Life. The Shrine is only about a mile from Justin Herman Plaza, the end of the walk.
    The celebrant will be Fr. Francisco Nahoe, OFM Conv. Saint Ann's Schola of Palo Alto, CA, conducted by Prof William Mahrt of Stanford University, will accompany.

  13. Fra Charles -- uh oh, it looks like my humor did not transmit properly. The photo of CFR Father "Stan" Fortuna, rapper and electric bassist, was meant to illustrate the difference between a typical Catholic event around the March for Life, and the photo above it, which is a traditional Latin Mass schola.

    Sorry for any Franciscan confusion! I very much enjoyed seeing your great order offer traditional Latin Low Masses at Saint Mary's.


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