By David Sedeño
The Texas Catholic
Thousands of people converged on downtown Dallas for the 2014 March for Life Mass at the Dallas Convention Center, a venue that Bishop Kevin J. Farrell said to thunderous applause that he would like to outgrow within the next two years.
More than 6,000 people filled the seats at the convention center for the Mass on Jan. 18, with dozens of groups from various parishes and schools through the Dioceses of Dallas and Fort Worth gathered for the Mass marking the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the country.
Bishop Kevin J. Farrell concelebrated the Mass with Fort Worth Bishop-elect Michael Olson and Dallas Auxiliary Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel and they were joined by dozens of other priests and deacons on the altar.
Father Alfonse Nazzaro, L.C., and parochial vicar at All Saints Catholic Church in North Dallas, was the homilist. He talked about forgiveness, or the lack of it from many sectors and people across society, and the recent popes and what they have brought to the world: Pope John Paul II and the Gospel of Life; Pope Benedict XVI and the Gospel of Truth; and Pope Francis and the Gospel of Compassion.
“What has made the Catholic pro-life movement in America so strong is how we reach out to those who are hurt and those who have hurt,” Father Nazzaro said. “It is a movement of compassion, one of ‘I understand. I know what you are going through. I have been there before. You are loved. We will help you.’
“People say that Pope Francis doesn’t speak about abortion,” Father Nazzaro said. “He speaks about life all the time. When the Holy Father embraced a disfigured man, it opened up a new world for this person. This person actually felt strong enough to come out of hiding, to reveal his name, who he was, where he lived and what had happened to him.
“And what is the Holy Father saying, ‘every life is worthy. Every human being has a dignity, wanted or not wanted, beautiful or disfigured; every human life is beautiful and needs to be embraced.”
Bishop Farrell, prior to the closing of the Mass, thanked those in attendance for their commitment to pro-life issue. And he gave them a challenge.
“When they asked me to change the Mass from the cathedral to the convention center, I was very reluctant to do that, but I am glad to see that all of you have proved me wrong,” he said to applause. “And just like we filled up the cathedral a couple of years ago and couldn’t fit anybody else in , so too I hope in about two years time that we have to move out of the convention center and out to the Cotton Bowl……
“It is so important that we all come out, Catholics and non-Catholics, all people of good will, that we all come out and stand and walk and pray together for a change in that terrible law that has permitted for 41 years this terrible tragedy in our nation where 55 million children are just disregarded … and not given their fundamental human right to live,” he said.
“I plead to you all that our numbers grow, especially the young people because they are the ones who must carry on this torch, no matter how many years it takes,” he said.
After the Mass, the thousands at the Mass and several hundred non-Catholics who were in another arena at the convention center for their own service, poured out into the street for the march and rally to the Earle Cabell Federal Building, led by the Bikers for Life.
There Bishop Farrell, among others, spoke to the crowd again about the importance of changing the hearts of those who approve of abortion and hopefully to change the law as well.
“We are a great nation. We have defended freedom all across this globe and we condemn other countries for the lack of attention to human rights,” he said. “Perhaps, it is time we had introspection, and look to our own country and see this terrible tragedy and how 55 million innocent children, human persons, have been denied a fundamental human right—the right to life. This is the human tragedy.
“Let us ask our leaders that they be conscious not only of human right violations across the globe, but to look at human rights violations here in our own country.”