Bishop Zubik calls for pro-lifers to 'connect the dots' on life issues

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Mark Pattison

(CNS) — Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh urged Massgoers preparing to
rally in Washington for the annual March for Life to “connect the
dots” linking all manner of life issues.

At a
Jan. 22 Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate
Conception, Bishop Zubik invoked his fifth-grade teacher, Sister Mary Richard,
who “taught me how to be a pro-lifer.”

The nun
“did it in an interesting and an unexpected way,” he said. “If
you have any hopes of getting to the sixth grade,” he remembered her
saying, “you’d better know more than just the Hail Mary. You’d better know
the prepositions” — at which point Bishop Zubik reeled off a string of
prepositions in alphabetical order, from “above” to “with.”
“Needless to say,” he added, “I made it to the sixth

But prepositions,
he said in his homily during the Mass, “give sentences their meaning.”
He added, “Every one of us is called by God to be prepositions in

Zubik said that while people engage in fasting, often interpreted as giving up
something valuable to them, God has no interest in that. Instead, the bishop added,
one has to go to the root of the word “sacrifice” — in Latin,
“sacrum facere,” or to make holy.

The way
to do that, Bishop Zubik said, is to “connect the dots” of life
issues as prepositions connect the key words and phrases in a sentence.

connect the dots in 2016 takes on its own flavor,” he said, “to make
holy all of life, by connecting the dots to every single person,” from the
unborn to the born to the elderly, to those “suffering from human
trafficking” and those “exploited by pornography,” and “to
the unemployed and the underemployed, looking not so much for a hand out as a
lift up.”

the dots to all persons is what God intended, Bishop Zubik said, “to see
each other as God sees us all.”

lamented the Supreme Court decisions of Jan. 22, 1973, that legalized abortion
virtually on demand, as it “opened the door” to a host of other
legal, legislative and proposed initiatives that reduce the sanctity of human

He suggested
twice — during the homily and in a post-Communion reflection — that Massgoers
think about the people who brought them to Washington on the anniversary date.
“Not by wheels and wings” to come to Washington, Bishop Zubik said,
but by their example and formation. Bishop Zubik offered as one such example — his
own mother — who he said “taught me to get down on my knees” to pray at
bedtime each night, and upon waking, “to get down on my knees again”
at the same bedside. He also exhorted them to “make sure you’re very
careful” as threatening weather approached.

of a storm system dumping a foot or more of snow in the Washington area kept
attendance down for the closing Mass as it had for the Jan. 21 Mass that
started the overnight vigil. For this Mass, many pews were not packed
shoulder-to-shoulder with people, and even a few pews in a far transept were

so, the size of the national shrine’s upper church ensured that there were
thousands of people attending.

Walter Rossi, rector of the national shrine, in welcoming remarks shortly after
the Mass began, said, “We are pleased to have so many of you who have braved
the threat of Winter Storm Jonas.”

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