Monday, January 23, 2012

March for Life 2012, Byzantine-Style

Today is the March for Life.  While much of the press (local and national) ignores the March, our local NBC affiliate did a good job covering the basics:
Monday marks the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that removed many state and federal restrictions on abortion. 
Thousands will gather in the District for the annual March for Life. 
It’s been deemed the largest and longest-running peaceful human rights demonstration for the unborn, with more than 100,000 expected to attend. [...] 
The National Prayer Vigil for Life is scheduled to begin at at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The vigil, which will last through the night and into Monday morning, typically draws about 20,000 people and is organized by the Basilica, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Catholic University. 
The rally begins at 12 p.m. on Monday on the National Mall near the Smithsonian Castle. The actual march is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. The march will follow its traditional route up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building.
While I'm not able to attend the March itself this year, due to some work-related commitments, I was able to attend part of last night's   National Prayer Vigil for Life.  Specifically, I made it to the Byzantine Catholic Compline (Night Prayer), which was amazing.  Here's the description from the schedule:
Night Prayer (Byzantine Rite) - Crypt Church, Led by Most Reverend William C. Skurla, Bishop of Passaic and Metropolitan Archbishop-elect of Pittsburgh; Homilist: Most Reverend Stefan Soroka, Metropolitan Archbishop for the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia; Cantors and Slava Men's Chorus from Epiphany of our Lord Church, Annandale, VA
The prayers were unspeakably beautiful, in large part due to the Slava Men's Chorus, who lead sung chant of a number of Psalms.  Archbishop Soroka gave a touching personal homily about his twin brother, who nearly died in infancy.  Their father, an immigrant who spoke nearly no English, fought for the young boy's life, even in the face of doctors who encouraged the family to give up and just be thankful for the son that they had. Today, that sickly infant is a police officer, and a father himself.  Abp. Soroka then described how an assault on the unborn is an assault on God Himself, and we prayed for His Mercy.

I shot a few videos towards the end, just to give some sense of how beautiful this all was, including the Crypt Church itself.  One:

video

Two:
video

And three, showing both Archbishop Skurla and Archbishop Soroka recessing from the church:

There are many more events going on tonight, including an Advocates for Life reception featuring Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life activist.  I'm looking forward to that!

P.S.  Speaking of the March for Life, it brought Brock Smith, who comments here from time to time, into D.C.  We met in person for the first time.  Here's a picture of us with my friend Carlos, who comments under the name Grimaud:

I'm the one in black.

8 comments:

  1. Ah...Byzantine goodness :-)

    Welcome to the "Shameless Popery Platinum Club" Brock! ;-)

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  2. For the record, Rev. Hans is an honorary member of the Platinum Club. He and I had coffee (well, actually tea and hot chocolate) when I was last in Kansas City, but I didn't think to snap a picture until it was too late.

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  3. I was in the Epiphany Men's Chorus last night. If you think the prayers are wonderful to listen to, you should experience singing them! It is a marvelous experience. I am currently visiting Epiphany and would like to thank Fr. Basarab and Don Springer for inviting me to sing with the men. Last night was an unforgetable experience for me!

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  4. You all did an absolutely fantastic job. It was ethereal. I just wish that the iPhone videoes captured that beauty more fully.

    I.X.,

    Joe

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  5. When I haven't managed to get to a Divine Liturgy, this is the video I like to play...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8N6-QxhEDs#!

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  6. Thank you so much for you kind compliments. Don was worried about the quality because we lost a couple of our bass singers to various ailments.

    Your blog site is great! As a convert to the faith, I find your posts refreshing and helpful in the apologetics wars.

    I'm living in Fairfax for a while. Would love to meet you for lunch some day!

    Brother Ed

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  7. Absolutely! I'm actually hoping to visit the church soon. One of the men in my men's group works for the firm that designed Epiphany of Our Lord, and went to the dedication. So I may try to coordinate a trip with some of the other guys from the men's group. My e-mail address is joseph[dot]heschmeyer[at]gmail[dot]com -- feel free to drop me a line!

    I.X.,

    Joe

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