By Christopher M. Riggs
Thousands of pro-lifers from throughout Kansas converged on Topeka Tuesday, Jan. 22, to show their support for life on the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
Gov. Sam Brownback rallied those attending on the South Steps of the State Capitol in front of a large group of state senators and representatives.
Most of those in the large crowd marched to the Capitol from the Topeka Performing Arts Center where they nearly filled the building’s 2,500 seats. Bishop Michael O. Jackels and Kansas City Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann celebrated a Mass at the center along with almost 20 priests from the four dioceses of Kansas.
“We are a people of faith even against this great culture of death,” Abp. Naumann said in his homily. “And if we didn’t have this faith, I think that, indeed, we would be overwhelmed this day. Yet I would submit for those with the eyes of faith even in the midst of this darkness there are points of light and beacons of hope.”
He said faith in Jesus’ victory does not allow the faithful to despair. “Faith allows us to look squarely at the reality of all that is lovely and sad in our culture. What sustains us is the sure and certain truth that life will be victorious.”
The fundamental human rights issue has not faded into the background over the 40 years of legalized abortion, Abp. Naumann said, because of the perseverance and faithfulness of those who will not allow it to do so.
“Not only are we a people of hope,” he said, “but, even in the midst of all our struggles, we remain people of a deep abiding joy – a joy that’s not contingent in our ability to change the world, but a joy that’s anchored on the sure foundation of God’s love revealed in Jesus.”
The archbishop shared a quote delivered by Pope Benedict XVI in Madrid in 2011 about how human beings are not the product of blind chance.
“Instead our life originates as a loving plan of God to abide in his love. That means rooted in faith, since faith is more than mere acceptance of certain abstract truths. It is an intimate relationship with Christ who enables us to open our hearts to this mystery of love, to live as men and women conscious of being loved by God.”
Pope Benedict said to be truly happy, the faithful need to experience the depth of God’s love and strive to do God’s will above everything else. “Our hearts need to be filled with God’s love,” the pope said.
Earlier in the morning those attending from the Diocese of Wichita met in a Ramada Inn meeting room where Bishop Jackels and Father Chad Arnold supported their pro-life efforts.