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National Prayer Vigil for Life Opening Mass
Date:1/16/2009

Thousands to Pray for End to Abortion

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thousands of Catholics will gather in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to pray for an end to abortion at the National Prayer Vigil for Life Opening Mass at 7:00 p.m. on January 21, the eve of the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Over 16,000 worshipers - many of them youth from schools around the nation - are expected to attend the opening Mass and all-night prayer Vigil and then join tens of thousands more the following day to participate in the national March for Life.

Chair of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, His Eminence Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will be the principal celebrant and homilist at the Vigil Mass, concelebrated by fellow cardinals and hundreds of the nation's bishops and priests.

After the Opening Mass there will be confessions, a National Rosary for Life, Night Prayer according to the Byzantine Rite, and holy hours from midnight until 6:00 a.m. led by pro-life seminarians from across the country. The Basilica and The Catholic University of America will host up to 1,600 pilgrims overnight. On January 22, the morning of the March for Life, the National Shrine will also host Morning Prayer at 6:30 a.m. and a closing Mass of Penance and Prayer at 7:30 a.m. His Excellency Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, will be the principal celebrant and homilist.

The National Prayer Vigil for Life is co-sponsored by the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), The Catholic University of America, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. More information is available at: usccb.o
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SOURCE United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
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