By actions, Pope teaches all life is beautiful, says priest at 41st annual Dallas Roe Memorial Mass

Story and Photos by

Juan Guajardo

Correspondent

February 4, 2014

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 Katie Shorts holds her son, Michael, as she kneels during the Roe Memorial Mass Jan. 18. Shorts and her son are parishioners of Prince of Peace Parish in Plano.

Far outgrowing the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe where the event had begun its assembly of participating Catholics in the past, thousands of pro-lifers from across North Texas packed the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas for the Roe Memorial Mass prior to taking to the streets of downtown for the 41st Dallas March for Life, Saturday, Jan. 18.

Speaking to the more than 6,500 people in the arena, Father Alfonse Nazzaro of All Saints Parish in Dallas, summed up the key factor behind the growth and progress of the pro-life movement in America.

“Brothers and sisters, what has made the Catholic pro-life movement so successful in America?” Fr. Nazzaro asked during his homily. “It is how we reach out to those who are hurt and those who have hurt others. That is the beauty of the pro-life Catholic movement. It is really a movement of compassion.”

He went on to say to the diverse audience — which included families, many clergy, religious sisters, seminarians, and young adults — that he’s heard people complain that Pope Francis doesn’t speak enough about abortion.

“No, he speaks about life — all the time,” Fr. Nazzaro explained, recalling the time Pope Francis embraced a disfigured man and how that one instance of compassion strengthened and encouraged the man to come out of hiding and reveal his story to the world.

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Thousands of people participated in the Jan. 18 Dallas March for Life and Rally on the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The day started with a youth rally, memorial Mass, and pro-life fair at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center followed by the march to the Earle Cabell Federal Building where the rally took place.

“What does the Holy Father say?” Fr. Nazzaro continued. “That every life is worthy. Every human being has a dignity. That’s what he said. Wanted or not wanted, ‘beautiful’ or disfigured, every human life is beautiful and needs to be embraced.”

He encouraged his audience to continue making the pro-life movement one of compassion and one that helps people “to come out of their hiding place, to be willing to reveal their humanity, to forgive themselves, to allow the Lord to forgive them, and to reveal our Christ.”

The Mass was celebrated by then-Bishop-elect Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell, and Dallas Auxiliary Bishop Douglas Deshotel. They were joined by other priests from both dioceses.

Afterward, the congregation of Catholics joined thousands of other pro-lifers of different Christian denominations, who attended a separate praise and worship service in the convention center, for the start of the march.  Led by a number of pro-life bikers and Knights of Columbus, the marchers ended their procession through downtown at the Earle Cabell Federal Building — the site where the Roe v. Wade case was first filed in 1970.

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Father Alfonse Nazzaro of All Saints Parish in Dallas delivered the homily for the Roe Memorial Mass. Fr. Nazzaro exhorted the assembly to look at the example of Pope Francis by seeing the inherent dignity of all people.

Opening the series of rally speakers, Bishop Farrell reminded the audience of the danger of becoming indifferent to suffering and urged them to not become apathetic to “the fact that so many children can die each day by abortion.

“Forty-one years ago we began this journey, but let us never forget that we must never, never, never stop coming out here to this very place where Roe v. Wade began its journey…. This is where it all began, and this, my dear people, is where we must bring it to an end,” he said to the applauding crowd.

Laura Anderson of BraveLove Adoption Movement, Dr. Jimmy Draper, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, April Keese of African Americans for Life, and Maggie Lopez of Rachel Ministries were the other rally speakers.

Islee Williams of Peace After the Storm, an “all denominational” abortion healing ministry, attended the march and rally for her first time. After having an abortion four years ago, she found healing and worth through the love of Jesus and is now involved in the work of ministering to other women and men recovering from abortion.

“Now my heart beats for life,” Williams said. “From that death, God brought forth life, from my abortion. So I’m here to make a stand for life and to tell women and men that if you’re hurting from the choice you made, you can be forgiven, and you can be healed and set free.”

Dallas-March-'14-Button.jpgFar outgrowing the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe where the event had begun its assembly of participating Catholics in the past, thousands of pro-lifers from across North Texas packed the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas for the Roe Memorial Mass prior to taking to the streets of downtown for the 41st Dallas March for Life, Saturday, Jan. 18. Speaking to the more than 6,500 people in the arena, Father Alfonse Nazzaro of All Saints Parish in Dallas, summed up the key factor behind the growth and progress of the pro-life movement in America.

Published (until 2/4/2064)