Archdiocese to take part in national holy hours for life Jan. 19-20

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Catholics across the archdiocese are invited join one of the holy hours for life at the St. John Paul II Newman Center, 700 S. Morgan St., at the University of Illinois-Chicago starting at 7 p.m. Jan. 19 and running through 7 a.m. Jan. 20.

The holy hours are part of a nationwide effort organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities. The holy hours coincide with the Vigil for Life held at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., held on Jan. 19, the night before the national March for Life.

Each hour, the conference will broadcast a diocesan holy hour via livestream, which will include the Archdiocese of Chicago, said Auxiliary Bishop Mark Bartosic, who is organizing the local holy hours. Some dioceses are doing just one hour but Bishop Bartosic wanted to offer 12 hours so the local community could take part according to their availability. All 12 hours of the local effort will also be livestreamed.

“I’m sure there will be a coffee pot going throughout the night. People are welcome to come at any time and leave at any time,” he said.

Bishop Bartosic is inviting parish pro-life groups to take part.

Pro-life concerns are still relevant despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision, he said.

“The overturning of Roe v. Wade I think was important. It hasn’t been a game changer in Illinois because of the state laws protecting abortion on demand. But I think it offers us an opportunity to link the anti-abortion with pro-life concern for mothers and fathers and families in crisis, economic justice, criminal justice, restorative justice,” he said. “This isn’t a one-issue problem. It’s a global way of looking at the human person at all stages of development.”

Bishop Bartosic is also linking the holy hours to the National Eucharistic Revival.

“The conference of bishops is calling the whole country to a eucharistic revival. The idea is that devotion to Christ in the Eucharist is devotion to his body, which is the church, which is other people. So as we adore the Lord in the Eucharist, we commit ourselves to serve others, especially those least able to provide for themselves in whatever way,” he said. “That’s how all the social justice questions come together in the Eucharist, because the body we adore on the altar in the monstrance is the body of the Lord.”

Even with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it is still important to pray for respect for life, said Dawn Fitzpatrick, the archdiocese’s senior coordinator for Human Dignity and Solidarity.

“We still have to change hearts and minds about abortion,” she said. “We as the Catholic Church are called to pray for those people and to pray that people understand the sacredness of life and that they start to revere life rather than thinking it’s disposable at human hands.”

Like Bishop Bartosic, Fitzpatrick sees a natural tie between the National Eucharistic Revival and the holy hours.

“We’re praying for a change of hearts, and that’s what we’re doing with the Eucharistic Revival too is helping people to open their heart to what the Eucharist is and how unique it is that we have Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity, to look at, to touch, to take into our own bodies,” she said. “What a wonderful thing that is.”


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