NEW HAVEN – Archbishop Leonard P. Blair challenged attendees of an annual pro-life Mass to “be a personal witness to the Gospel of Life” Jan. 18 at St. Mary Church.
He quoted Pope Francis, who urged families, during his recent trip to the Philippines, to “be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death.”
“What a gift this would be to society if every Christian family lived fully its noble vocation,” he said, quoting the pope. “We, too, are called each in a different and very personal way…in proclaiming the Gospel of Life,” said the archbishop.
Archbishop Blair also used the occasion to ask the faithful for their support against the threat of physician-assisted suicide legislation that was expected to be proposed during the current session of the state General Assembly. It was introduced on Jan. 23.
“We will asking all of you to stand up and be counted in resisting the efforts to pass this legislation,” he said. “And we do so in the conviction that it is based on false arguments, it is unnecessary and it is destructive of human life and dignity. As an offense against God, the author of life, assisted suicide can only lead to our diminishment as human beings and to a bad outcome for our society.”
Archbishop Blair concluded the Mass, which is sponsored each year by the Connecticut state council of Knights of Columbus, with a prayer invoking the intercession of Father Michael J. McGivney. It was prayed at the sarcophagus of the founder of the Knights of Columbus, who is buried in St. Mary Church.
Following Mass, the Knights held a reception in the church hall, during which baby items for unwed mothers were collected for distribution to Catholic agencies throughout the state.
“The pro-life Mass is very important to us as the largest Catholic family organization, as a way to support our bishops and priests and support life,” said Thomas Vita, state deputy of the Knights of Columbus. “It’s an annual event; and every year, it turns out to be bigger and bigger.”
Archbishop Blair, who traveled to Washington in January to celebrate Mass and participate in the annual March for Life, thanked the Knights for being “front and center” in their support for the Gospel of Life.
Concelebrants were Bishop Michael R. Cote of Norwich; Dominican Father Joseph P. Allen, pastor of St. Mary Parish; and Dominican Father Jonathan D. Kalisch, director of chaplains and spiritual development for the supreme council of the Knights of Columbus.