In conjunction with the 46th annual March for Life on Jan. 18, the Archdiocese of Washington will again host a Youth Rally and Mass for Life and an Adult and Family Rally and Mass for Life preceding the annual march.

The Youth Rally and Mass for Life will be held at the Capital One Arena (formerly the Verizon Center) in Washington on the morning of the march, Jan. 18. The doors to the arena will open at 6:15 a.m. and will close at 7:15 a.m.

The Archdiocese of Washington in a Jan. 16 statement announced that the main celebrant for the Mass for Life will be Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, and the concelebrants will include Washington Auxiliary Bishops Mario Dorsonville and Roy Campbell Jr.

The statement said, "The Archdiocese of Washington is pleased to host the Rally and Mass for Life, which enables Catholics from across the country to live and voice their faith and to uphold the dignity of life from conception to natural death."

Father Robert Boxie, parochial vicar at St. Joseph Church in Largo, will be the homilist at the Mass for Life. About 20,000 people are expected to attend the event.

In addition to Mass, the 30th annual archdiocesan Youth Rally and Mass for Life will include a concert featuring various artists and prayers. It is held annually to encourage young people participating in the March for Life to be strong witnesses to the Gospel of Life. All tickets for the Youth Rally and Mass for Life have been distributed and no more are available. No one will be admitted to the arena without a ticket.

The first witness speaker at the youth rally will be Obianuju (Uju) Ekeocha, who will discuss the culture of life in Africa and how every life has dignity and should be celebrated and is worth standing up for. The rally’s second set of witness speakers will be PJ Anderson and his wife, Rachel, who will share their pro-life story and discuss the importance of helping women in crisis pregnancies. 

The music at the rally will be led by Ivan Diaz, who also led the music at last year’s Enquentro gathering for Hispanic Catholics. The choir from Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington will be singing at the rally. 

The archdiocese will also host an Adult and Family Rally and Mass on Jan. 18 at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle at 1725 Rhode Island Ave., N.W., in Washington. That event, which is open to the public, begins at 8:40 a.m. and will feature a Mass celebrated by Washington Auxiliary Bishop Michael Fisher. The homilist at the Mass will be Father Andrew Wakefield, parochial vicar of the Church of the Annunciation in Washington. The speaker at the Adult and Family Rally will be Melissa Ohden, a noted pro-life advocate who is a survivor of a failed abortion attempt.

Both the Youth Rally and Mass for Life and the Adult and Family Rally will end in time for participants to make their way to the national March for Life.

The 46th annual March for Life – held every year around the anniversary of 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand in the United States – begins Jan. 18 with a rally at noon on the National Mall between Madison Drive and Jefferson Drive.

The theme for this year’s March for Life is “Unique from Day One: Pro-Life is Pro-Science.”

“Science is behind the pro-life movement. We see that medical and technological advancements always affirm the pro-life movement, for example, DNA is present at fertilization and no fingerprint on earth, past, present, or future, is the same,” Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, said in a statement. “As science progresses, we see clearly that every life is unique from day one in the womb.”

Speakers at the rally will include Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire and host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and Abby Johnson, founder of the pro-life organization And Then There Were None. Entertainment will be provided by the Christian musical group, Sidewalk Prophets.

The March for Life steps off at 1 p.m. on Constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets. Pro-lifers will march from the National Mass up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court and Capitol Building.

In addition, the National Prayer Vigil for Life will be held from 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 until 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 18 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave., N.E., in Washington.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas, and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, will celebrate a 5:30 p.m. Mass on Jan. 17 to begin the vigil. The all-night event includes opportunities for Confession, recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the rosary, Holy Hours, and Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Bishop Barry C. Knestout, bishop of Richmond and a former auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, will celebrate a closing Mass on Jan. 18 at 7:30 a.m.