Rorate Caeli

Pontifical High Mass following March for Life

Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Americans will gather in Washington, D.C., on Friday, 22 January 2016 for the annual March for Life. Held each year on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the March attracts many traditional Roman Catholics.

Immediately following the March this month will be a traditional Latin Solemn High Pontifical Mass at the faldstool, offered by His Excellency Edward J. Slattery, bishop of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It will be offered at 4 p.m. at Saint Mary Mother of God church at 5th and H streets, Northwest, in the District.

The Mass is the fourth annual one in honor of the late Miss Nellie Gray, foundress of the March for Life and faithful communicant at the TLM at Saint Mary's.

Several priests -- diocesan, Ordinariate and Fraternity of Saint Peter among them -- will assist at the pontifical High Mass. The propers of the Mass (the red vestment feast of Saints Vincent and Anastasius) will be sung in Gregorian chant by the parish schola of men.  The ordinary of the Mass will be sung by the choir of Holy Innocents parish from New York City. Known as the "Vox in Rama" choir, they will sing Hans Leo Hassler's "Missa Secunda".

The Mass is being organized and funded by the Paulus Institute for the Propagation of Sacred Liturgy, which also sponsored the 2010 pontifical High Mass offered by Bishop Slattery at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Last year's Mass following the March for Life, offered by Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, was standing room only, with mostly young adults in attendance. Afterward many of the young adults visiting from around the country gathered nearby for libations and conversation.

Another large crowd is expected at the annual Mass, so get there early by marching near the front of the crowd.