Because of the snow crisis on the weekend, Bishop Edward Malesic issued a statement relaxing the Mass attendance requirement for January 23/24 for those who were not reasonably able in safely to attend Mass because of health or care of others or travel. He asked everyone to use common sense, remain safe and follow the directions of government officials during this snow event. He encouraged those unable to venture out to spend time in prayer by reading the Scriptures and meditating. I know that our snow plow service a few years ago when a pending storm was approaching asked when the decision would be made to cancel? Cancel, I said? We rarely if ever cancel. I have heard of only one regional Sunday evening Mass yesterday in the diocese where the priest could not make it to the church.
Our numbers were down, especially on Saturday where we had about 150 instead of the usual 350/400. But Mass went on!
Speaking of Mass going on, there was a massive backup on the PA Turnpike on Friday/Saturday in the mountains East of here. Over 500 cars, trucks and buses were stranded for countless hours. Thank God there were no major emergencies. But a number of those buses were youngsters and marchers returning from Friday's March For Life. Reports showed that the high school kids from a number of schools and diocese in the country made the most of their "captivity" by checking on others, bringing a smile and cheer to those stranded, and with a few priests on board, even created a "snow altar" and celebrated Mass, with music and all, along side of the road, with snow falling and wind blowing. It was inspiring, and a great witness to our Faith and to the commitment of these pro-lifers. Great job, folks.
Speaking of the March for Life in Washington on Friday, the numbers were down because of the impending blizzard, but impressive none the less. The commitment of so many, whether at the March or in prayer at home, or at other venues around the nation, speaks of the heartbreak of this tragic law of this great nation that disregards the sanctity of all human life for the rights of the few, forcing us to make decisions that say that my right out ranks your right - with life hanging in the balance. And the life hanging in the balance is that of the defenseless, the unborn.
The Pro - Life Vigil at the Shrine in DC the night before is always a moving experience. I remember in the days when I could attend, the love that you felt as a priest from the crowds gathered for that Mass moved my heart. This year, even though the numbers were a little less, the Basilica was packed and the liturgy was a powerful witness. I saw our bishop, Bishop Ed Malesic, along with our neighbor from Pittsburgh, Bishop David Zubik among those concelebrating.
And on Saturday I watched the Mass from LA's beautiful Cathedral of the Angels. It too was a powerful testimony, and the placing of approximately 200 candles around the altar to represent the lives lost just that day to abortion in LA County was very moving.
So much has taken place in the Church, and we are the most blessed by God.