Rorate Caeli

March for Life, Solemn High Mass in D.C.

This Friday, 27 January, will be the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.  Mrs. Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, will speak during the noon rally, which marks the first time a presidential administration has sent an official to speak at the march.  (Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush would address marchers via telephone.) Hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to attend, many of them Roman Catholic.  Traditional Catholics have a large presence among the crowd. [26 Jan. update: Vice President Mike Pence will also speak, in person, at the March for Life.]

Toward the end of the march, at 3 p.m., there will be a Solemn High Mass at Saint Mary, Mother of God church at 5th and H streets, NW.  This will be the 5th annual Nellie Gray Mass, sponsored by the Paulus Institute, for the repose of the soul of the Saint Mary's parishioner who founded the March for Life.

The Gospel, from the 2015 Nellie Gray Mass.  Father Scalia, subdeacon here, will be the 2017 celebrant.
This year's celebrant will be the Reverend Father Paul Scalia, of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. The deacon and subdeacon of the Mass will be diocesan priests as well. The pastor of the parish, the Reverend Father Alfred Harris, of the Archdiocese of Washington, has graciously hosted this Mass each year and assisted with the many logistical pieces.

Rorate, which will be in attendance, has covered all previous Masses, in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 (although last year's Solemn High Mass ended up having a different lineup of clergy due to a massive blizzard).

On music, the Gregorian chant propers of the Mass will be sung by a joint schola comprised of men from Saint Mary's in D.C. and Holy Innocents parish in New York.  The ordinary and motets will be sung by the Vox in Rama choir from Holy Innocents.  It should be noted the choral and organ music scheduled is relatively modern, so for those expecting Renaissance or baroque music it may be jarring to hear sentimental operatic tunes. One notable exception will be a Christmas hymn after the offertory, Praetorius' Flos de Radice Jesse.

To make it to Saint Mary's in time for the 3 p.m. Mass, which fills up by 2:30, one will need to march near the front of the crowd or exit the march early.  Young adults can look for a Juventutem flag. For those coming into D.C. for the March for Life, but departing immediately after it, there will also be a Low Mass at Saint Mary's at 8 a.m. on Friday, to be offered at the Saint Anthony's altar in the newly restored baptistery.