By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published January 25, 2021
ATLANTA–The Archdiocese of Atlanta observed the annual Mass for the Unborn Friday, Jan. 22, on the 48th anniversary of legalized abortion.
Atlanta Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., said a month after the joy and lightness of Christmas, believers commemorate the “darkness of the American holocaust.”
It was the 32nd annual Mass in the Archdiocese of Atlanta marking the somber occasion. Typically, the Mass draws several hundred adults and students from Catholic schools to fill the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. Celebrating a livestreamed Mass due to the pandemic, the archbishop presided over the Mass at St. Dominic Chapel at the archdiocesan chancery. He was assisted by Deacon Dennis Dorner, the archdiocesan chancellor, and Father Gerardo Ceballos Gonzalez. The archbishop also commissioned lay ministers working in Respect Life ministries in Atlanta parishes.
Archbishop Hartmayer in his homily spoke against the procedure that ends life in the womb.
“On this 48th anniversary of the legalization of abortion, the truth is that the child in the womb is a person made in the image and likeness of God,” he said. “The truth is that since Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton were enacted into law, nearly 60 million babies have not seen the light of day. 60 million. We are living in a moral crisis.”
Responding in faith despite uncertainty
Recalling the moment when the Virgin Mary was asked by the angel to be the mother of Jesus, the archbishop said despite any fear and uncertainty, she responded in faith.
“She said yes to life. She said yes to light. She knew she’d be OK because she knew God would be in control,” said the archbishop.
Parishes can be “islands of mercy”
The archbishop said reversing the availability of abortion to defend life will require a change in legislation, but also a change of heart.
He reminded the community how Pope Francis encouraged parishes to become “islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference” for women who are pregnant. It is called “Walking with Moms in Need.”
This support is an opportunity to bring hope to those who are alone or afraid, Archbishop Hartmayer said.
“Let’s do everything possible to build a culture of life,” he said.
There were 36,330 abortions performed in Georgia in 2017, reported the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights but is considered a reliable research organization.
While nationally the abortion rate for women continues to decline to historic lows, in Georgia the rate has increased, reported the organization. In 2017, there were 16.9 abortions per 1,000 Georgia women of reproductive age.
Never tiring of the work ahead
Said the archbishop, “Every human being is precious. Every human being is created by God, out of his love, and in his image and likeness. God has a purpose for each of us to fulfill his plan.”
He called this a “prophetic truth” that brings “comfort to the disturbed and disturbs the comforted. May we never tire of the work that lies before us as we strive to build a civilization of life, a civilization of life and love.”