Massachusetts Citizens for Life president Dr. Mildred Jefferson addresses the 35th annual Interfaith Assembly for Life in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall Jan. 13. This year’s gathering was dedicated to the memory of the late Henry Hyde, a pro-life politician who served his home state of Illinois for over 30 years in the United States House of Representatives. Pilot photo/ Christine Williams
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BOSTON -- Massachusetts Citizens for Life celebrated their 35th annual Interfaith Assembly for Life at Boston’s Faneuil Hall with prayer, song and inspirational words on Jan. 13.
“We gather from across the faith spectrum to give witness to the sanctity of human life,” said chairman of the board of directors Henry Luthin, welcoming those in attendence. “By your faithful work in the cause of life, the culture of life and civilization of love is indeed growing. By and large society pays no attention, but the effect on society is real.”
Priscilla Keough, director of volunteers for MCFL’s South Shore chapter, said the future of the movement will depend on today’s youth. In order to encourage young pro-lifers, MCFL held an essay contest for middle and high school students as well as an oratory contest for high school juniors and seniors.
“These young people who have lost so many of their peers through abortion assure us that the pro-life movement is well and flourishing,” she said.
This year’s gathering was dedicated to the memory of the late Henry Hyde, a pro-life politician who served his home state of Illinois for over 30 years in the United States House of Representatives.
Mildred Jefferson, president of MCFL, said of Hyde, “He stood out from the rest of our public figures because there was a wholeness of his being.”
Hyde had a conscience informed by an “unyielding faith.” In order to pay tribute to Hyde, pro-lifers must recommit themselves to defending life, and make sure that the United States never becomes a place where only the “perfect, privileged and planned” have the right to life, she added.
“We must see ourselves as ambassadors for the unborn, taking their message when they cannot,” she said. “We must be the missionaries for the people who do not understand defending the right to life.”
Marianne Luthin, director of the Archdiocese of Boston’s Pro-Life Office, read a letter sent by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley who was traveling. The cardinal began by commending all those who fight for life.
“As we approach the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion on demand, we call to mind in a special way the nearly 50 million unborn children denied the right to life and the millions of women whose lives have been forever shattered by their participation in abortion,” he said.
Rabbi Henry Morse, head of the Messianic Congregation Sha’ar Hashamayim in Stoughton, also addressed the assembly. He said the pro-life movement unites people of many faiths because God, the highest authority, has asked his people to cherish life.
“We choose life this day,” he said. “We are attesting to life, that God is the author of life, and he has given us a mandate to protect it.”
Father David Mullen, pastor of St. Brendan Parish in Bellingham, told those gathered that the MCFL is in “serious financial need.” Located in the “bluest of blue” states, the organization faces opposition from “the best movement money can buy.” But by God’s grace the pro-life movement will continue its work for the end of abortion, he said.
“God has a lot for us, and the most amazing things are done, not by money but by the heart that is turned to God and changes other people’s hearts,” he said.
The Assembly for Life also included several performances by choir members from St. Angela Parish in Mattapan and Holy Trinity German Church in the South End. Bob McNeil, from New Testament Church and School of Cedarville, gave a powerful rendition of “It is Well with My Soul.”
After the event, Marianne Luthin, who is married to Henry Luthin, told The Pilot that the interfaith dimension of the assembly brings a sense of unity to the pro-life movement.
“We need to bring people of all faiths together. This is a public policy issue as well as a faith issue,” she said. “Many who have been coming here every year need their spirits renewed and refreshed.”