Thousands of people, including hundreds from our diocese, will travel to Washington, DC, to participate in the March for Life on Friday, January 27. The homily I plan to preach in the crypt at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is printed below.

“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.” I recently heard someone quoting this bit of wisdom. It reminded me of last year’s March for Life. If you joined us last year, you experienced what can happen when snowflakes stick together. Because of the snow, many could not come to Washington; several left to return home before the March, and some were stranded on the roadside on their way home.

   I think the quote, however, leads us to a profound reality, namely the possibilities that emerge when people “stick” together for a common cause. A common cause is the reason we, and thousands more, make a pilgrimage to our nation’s capital every year at this time.

   We stand together for life. A single voice can carry an important message. The theme for this year’s March is The Power of One. Indeed one person can make a difference in the world, whether in the life of one person or many. However, many voices supporting a common cause send a powerful message. Together we proclaim our message. Human life is precious from its very beginning in a mother’s womb until natural death. Every person is made in the image and likeness of God. “Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 357).

   St. John Paul II wrote passionately about the intrinsic value of human life. “We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the ‘culture of death’ and the ‘culture of life.’ We find ourselves not only ‘faced with’ but necessarily ‘in the midst of this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility to be unconditionally pro-life” (St. John Paul II, The Gospel of Life).

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