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Youth Mass of Celebration and Thanksgiving to precede March for Life, Jan. 19

In a continuing tradition, young people from around The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington are invited to a Youth Mass of Celebration and Thanksgiving on Friday, Jan. 19, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington. The event – featuring music, witness talks, a conversation with Cardinal Wilton Gregory and a Rosary – will conclude with a Mass.

The event precedes the annual March for Life, an independent event on the National Mall that marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. After the court overturned Roe in 2022, the March for Life has continued, with its focus shifted to changing the culture “to make abortion unthinkable,” as the organization’s website explains.

Doors at St. Matthew’s will open at 7:20 a.m. Cardinal Gregory will be principal celebrant for the Mass, which will begin at 10:30 a.m.

As in the past few years, the events at St. Matthew’s are intended for youth and young adults who live in The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, though others may participate. Seats are available on a first-come, first-seated basis, with no sections reserved in advance. General reservations are appreciated, however. They may be made at:

To participate over the livestream, the link is:

Since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, the archdiocese has stopped hosting the youth rally previously held at the Verizon Center. Other local Catholic activities related to the March for Life include the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. An opening Mass at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18 will include Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities, as principal celebrant and homilist.

Following the Mass, there will be a National Holy Hour for Life, with a Eucharistic procession, Eucharistic adoration, a Rosary and benediction. A closing Mass for the vigil will be held at the Basilica at 8 a.m., Friday, Jan. 19. The events at the Basilica will be livestreamed at: