Thousands of pro-life supporters will gather in Washington Friday, Jan. 24, for two rallies and Masses for life prior to the March for Life.

The annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life is held each year in conjunction with the national March for Life which marks the anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision making abortion legal in this country. 

For more than 25 years, the Archdiocese of Washington has hosted the rally and Mass on the day of the March for Life. According to organizers, the rally is held “to encourage youth participating in the national March for Life in their witness as disciples of Christ and promoters of the Gospel of Life.”

The Youth Rally and Mass for Life will be held at the Capital One Arena on F Street in Northwest Washington. Archbishop Wilton Gregory is scheduled to celebrate the Mass for Life, which will be attended by thousands of pilgrims from across the Archdiocese of Washington and the nation. Bishops and priests from around the country will concelebrate the Mass.

Prior to the Mass, there will be musical performances, talks and a chance to go to Confession. Tickets are required for entrance to Capital One Arena, and all tickets have now been reserved.

Participants are urged to share their pro-life messages on social media, using #Mass4Life and #iStand4Life. For more information, visit https://youthrallyandmassforlife.org.

Because the Youth Rally and Mass for Life attracts so many attendees, a second venue was added several years ago at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.

The Cathedral Mass for Life will be held Jan. 24 and will feature music by Mike Tenney and Mass celebrated by Washington Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville. The rally begins at 8:40 a.m. and the Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m.

The Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle is located at 1725 Rhode Island Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. For more information, visit https://adw.org/event/cathedral-mass-for-life.

After the rallies and Masses, participants from both venues can proceed to the National Mall to participate in the March for Life.

The theme for this year’s March for Life is “Life Empowers: Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman.”

The theme was chosen because this year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution which guarantees women the right to vote.

According to a fact sheet released by the March for Life, “The movement to pass the 19th Amendment was led by women suffragists, considered the early pioneers of the feminist movement, who understood that abortion ends a life and harms women. These leaders include such women as Susan B. Anthony, and Alice Paul, who said abortion is the ‘ultimate exploitation of women.’”

Prior to the march, speakers will address the assembled pro-lifers. Among those slated to speak are Louisiana State Sen. Katrina Jackson, a pro-life Democrat; U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith (R-New Jersey), long a pro-life advocate, who has sponsored the Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act; and two survivors of botched abortions.

As it has in past years, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will again be the site of the National Prayer Vigil for Life held on the evening before the March for Life. This year, the vigil will begin with a Jan. 23 Mass celebrated at 5:30 p.m. by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, who is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

After the vigil Mass, there will be opportunities for Confessions, recitations of the rosary and Holy Hours for Life throughout the night.

At 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 24, the day of the rally and march, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, archbishop of the Military Services, USA, and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee of International Justice and Peace, will offer the vigil’s closing Mass.

Both the opening Mass on Jan. 23 and the closing Mass on Jan. 24 will be broadcast live on EWTN. No tickets are required for any of the National Prayer Vigil for Life events at the National Shrine.

For more information, visit https://www.nationalshrine.org/event/prayer-vigil-for-life.