NEW HAVEN – Noting that 2016 is an election year, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair encouraged attendees of the annual pro-life Mass at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven Jan. 17 to “work and pray tirelessly for those in the political and social realm for an end to abortion.”
The archbishop also emphasized, however, that 2016 is a Jubilee Year of Mercy, and that as people follow Christ’s call to defend human life, they must also pray for the conversion of those in the abortion industry.
Recalling the words of Pope Francis, quoting Jesus, Archbishop Blair said that those who are well do not need a doctor, but those who are sick do. The archbishop described ministering in this way as “not so much a denunciation of others as it is a forceful call for the evangelization of others.”
“We must move hearts and minds to conversion, away from the barrenness [of today’s culture] that Pope Francis deplores,” Archbishop Blair said.
He told the approximately 250 people who gathered for the Mass, which is sponsored each year by the Connecticut State Council of the Knights of Columbus, that Mary plays an important role in pro-life efforts.
“She is at the forefront of the right to life,” said Archbishop Blair, who concluded his homily with a prayer entrusting the cause of life to Mary. The prayer, written by Pope Saint John Paul II from his Gospel of Life, asks Mary to help all who believe in Jesus “to proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love.”
After a prayer invoking the intercession of Father Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, 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.
“It was great to see the church this filled, and we are pleased to have the archbishop down to say Mass,” said Thomas J. Vita, state deputy of the Knights of Columbus. “It’s a wonderful day to support pro-life. We do it once a year, but we should keep the unborn and prolife in our minds all the time.”
Concelebrants were Bishop Emeritus Basil H. Losten of the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of Stamford; Dominican Father John Paul Walker, pastor of St. Mary’s; Dominican Father William Holt, former pastor, who recently returned to reside at St. Mary’s; Dominican Father Jonathan D. Kalisch, director of chaplains and spiritual development for the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus; and Dominican Father Steven C. Boguslawski, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of Hartford.