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‘Mass for Life’ in Diocese of Wilmington stresses ‘life has an inherent dignity that no one can take away’

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Father Joseph W. McQuaide IV processes to the altar during "Mass for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children" at the Cathedral of St. Peter Church, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. Dialog photo/Don Blake

God came to flesh in the world as Baby Jesus as a way to demonstrate the value of human life beginning in the womb, the rector of Cathedral of St. Peter told worshippers Jan. 29 at the “Holy Mass for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children” in the Diocese of Wilmington.

Several students from Cathedral of St. Peter Church School attend the “Mass for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children” at the Cathedral of St. Peter Church, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. Dialog photo/Don Blake

Father Joseph W. McQuaide IV, chancellor of the diocese, celebrated the Mass on the day typically reserved for “March for Life” in Washington. He was filling in as celebrant for Bishop Malooly, who was recovering from cardiac bypass surgery the previous day.

“God loves children, and he showed us that. God could have come into this world in any way that he chose …” Father McQuaide said in the homily at the Mass that included a restricted live congregation but was livestreamed on the diocese YouTube channel. The socially distanced gathering at church included some students from adjacent Cathedral of St. Peter school.

“He could have come as a conquering king, like Aladdin did when he rides into Agrabah. He could have shown up out of the blue. But our God chose to come as a tiny child.”

Deacon Robert Cousar and Father Joseph W. McQuaide IV pray during “Mass for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children” at the Cathedral of St. Peter on Friday, Jan. 29. Dialog photo/Don Blake

“He shows us that each and every human life has dignity, has value.”

March for Life has always been a day to show compassion and love for the unborn, he said. All life matters, he said, and no one can place a higher value on one life over another.

“That the conditions of someone’s birth would determine their worth boggles our minds today. Even from the beginning of our country, that the conditions of someone’s birth was determinant of how much value they were given, the value of their own life, their livelihood.”

He focused on the message that all human life has value, no matter what, and no other standard should be applied. Conditions don’t matter.

“Whether or not they’re able to have that right to life that all of us are endowed with by our creator. Depending on whether they’re wanted or if it would be convenient. Whether they have the right number of chromosomes. Whether they’re of the right skin color. Whether they’re conceived out of a loving marriage or out of a horrible situation.”

“But that doesn’t change the person who is conceived in his or her mother’s womb.”

Father Joseph W. McQuaide IV celebrates the “Mass for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children” at the Cathedral of St. Peter Church, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. Dialog photo/Don Blake

“I’d like to think that in some time in the future people will look back at us and say ‘Hey, how did that country allow this to happen – Christians, even; Catholics, even.”

Father McQuaide said the March for Life, which was mostly held virtually this year to limit the spread of coronavirus, has long stood as a beacon for peaceful protest.

“Unlike what we’ve seen in the past months, weeks, where gatherings in cities have erupted in violence, March for Life is always something that was marked by peace, by joy … by this gentleness, by this conviction of all of us … that we were on the right side of history.

“That with gentleness and time, others would come to see this truth. That each and every single human person from the moment of his conception in his mother’s womb all the way through to the last moment of its life has an inherent dignity that no one can take away.”

Father McQuaide shared news from the previous day that Bishop Malooly was on the mend following his surgery.

“Bishop is doing well,” he said. “On his behalf, I’d like to thank you for your prayers and ask that you continue to remember him on this day and during the many weeks to come with his recovery.”

The Mass and a Holy Hour pre-recorded by Bishop Malooly are part of the National Prayer Vigil for Life sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.