Respect Life Office encourages Catholics to attend events surrounding ‘Roe’ anniversary

By Michele Baker

Correspondent

January 6, 2014

“We want people to know that Respect Life in our diocese is alive and well; vibrant and ongoing,” said Mike Demma, director of the diocesan Respect Life Office, in a recent interview. With Jan. 22 marking 41 years since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the U.S., the office is encouraging pro-lifers throughout the diocese to participate in a number of events, including the Dallas March for Life and Rally Jan. 18, the Annual Respect Life Mass to be celebrated 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at St. Patrick Cathedral in Fort Worth, and the Texas Rally for Life in Austin Jan. 25.

Annual Respect Life Mass

At the center of the activities being promoted by the Respect Life Office is the Annual Respect Life Mass. It will be celebrated at 7:30 p.m. at St. Patrick Cathedral, 1206 Throckmorton St., in downtown Fort Worth. A reception will follow in the cathedral’s Pastoral Center.

“The reason that the Mass is so important,” Demma explained, “is that prayer is the foundation of everything we do. It supports us and gives witness to the fact that we are of one mind and one heart.”

The Mass includes a special candlelight procession and presentation of the Book of the Innocents. Rachel Ministries Coordinator Betsy Kopor explains: “Each candle represents 1 million children killed by abortion. This year we will light 55 candles for the 55 million children killed in the U.S. since Roe v.Wade.”

The Book of the Innocents contains the names of all the children memorialized on a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat and represents all the children aborted in the diocese, said Kopor, adding, to reassure past retreatants, that the book remains closed and its contents are kept confidential.

Pro-life Marches in Dallas and Austin

Pro-lifers throughout the Diocese of Fort Worth are encouraged to participate in the Dallas March for Life and Rally Jan. 18 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas and culminate in a march to the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse where the original Roe v. Wade case was filed in 1971. A youth rally kicks off the event at 12:30 p.m. followed by Mass celebrated at 1 p.m. by Bishop Kevin Farell of Dallas. The march will begin after the Mass.

“Marches like this are an important witness to the larger secular community,” said Demma, adding that one of the biggest problems facing pro-life programs is that most people in the general public do not understand the scope of this tragedy.

According to Demma, “1.2 million — that’s one million two hundred thousand — children are killed each year in the United States alone,” he said, adding that of these children, a disproportionate number of them (64 percent in Texas) are Black or Hispanic. “We must get across that this is a wrong being perpetuated in our country and by our culture — that we accept the death of another human being as a right. This is a fallacy that must be remedied.”

The Texas Rally for Life will take place at the State Capitol in Austin, Jan. 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. Demma said the Respect Life Office is organizing bus transportation to Austin for those from the diocese who wish to attend. Volunteers are needed to facilitate the operations and can contact Mike Demma at 817-560-2452 ext. 257 or by e-mail at  for additional information.

“This is a great opportunity for people to get involved,” Demma said.

Other Events

Youth for Life Coordinator Sue Laux is once again coordinating with youth ministers throughout the diocese to bring a contingency youth to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., Jan. 22.

“Right now we have about 100 youth and chaperones signed up to make the trip,” Laux said. That number represents participants from at least 12 parishes. Laux, who has made the trip with Fort Worth youth many times, talked about the impact the experience has on those who attend.

“The kids are always moved by the sheer number of people there,” she said. Last year’s National March drew about 600,000 participants, about 75 percent of whom were 25 years old or younger.

“So often the youth feel alone at home,” Laux explained. “So when they see that there are other young people who are willing to stand up and speak out for life, they are overwhelmed by a sense of one-ness and joy.”

In addition to the marches, Masses, and rallies being held throughout January, Rachel Ministries will present a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend Retreat for Healing after Abortion Jan. 17-19 in Fort Worth.

Rachel Ministries will also sponsor a number of training sessions for clergy, licensed mental health professionals, and social workers Feb. 7-8.

“Abortion trauma is a very specific type of trauma,” explained Kopor. “Most often clergy are among the first to hear about past abortions. We want to provide them with training to know how to talk to those who come to them and to educate them about Rachel Ministries so that they are comfortable referring people to us.”

For information about the events memorializing the lives lost since Roe v. Wade, or for the ministries of the Respect Life Office, visit www.fwdioc.org/pages/respect-life-about. For information about the Dallas March for Life and Rally, visit www.dallasmarch4life.org. For information about the Texas Rally for Life in Austin, visit www.texasrallyforlife.org.

“We want people to know that Respect Life in our diocese is alive and well; vibrant and ongoing,” said Mike Demma, director of the diocesan Respect Life Office, in a recent interview. With Jan. 22 marking 41 years since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the U.S., the office is encouraging pro-lifers throughout the diocese to participate in a number of events, including the Dallas March for Life and Rally Jan. 18, the Annual Respect Life Mass to be celebrated 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at St. Patrick Cathedral in Fort Worth, and the Texas Rally for Life in Austin Jan. 25.

Published (until 1/6/2064)
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