The diocesan observance of the 44th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 4:30 p.m. at St. Christopher Parish, 2660 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda. Bishop Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, will be the celebrant.
As part of the Mass, the annual Pro-Vita Awards will be presented. These awards are intended to recognize people who have labored tirelessly for the pro-life cause and to give them strength, encouragement, and support. This year's recipients include:
Youth: Maria Suchyna, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Harris Hill - Suchyna has volunteered in the Office of Pro-Life Activities for several years. Over the summer, she helped prepare the Mother Teresa Home for its opening.
Organization: Canisius High School Pro-Life - This group of young men, led by Father Frederick G. Betti, SJ, and Ron Ahrens, the school's director of Christian service, has volunteered with various pro-life activities including setting up the chapel at the Mother Teresa Home.
Lay: Cheryl Zielen-Ersing, St. Gianna Pregnancy Outreach, Buffalo - Zielen-Ersing serves as the coordinator of the St. Gianna Pregnancy Outreach Center and works with volunteers and the other outreach locations to help families throughout Western New York.
Religious: Father Jeffrey Nowak, parochial vicar St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Niagara Falls - Father Nowak has been a consistent supporter of the March for Life since he was in the seminary. He is active in the pro-life community in his parish and with the Mother Teresa Home.
Professional: Dr. Gloria Roetzer, Catholic Medical Association - Dr. Roetzer is a local pediatrician who is active in the largest association of Catholic individuals in health care. The group helps members to grow in faith, maintain ethical integrity and provide excellent health care in accordance with the teachings of the Church. Dr. Roetzer is involved on all life issues and is an asset to the Western New York Community on these subjects
Catholics are also encouraged to participate in a solemn observance of the Roe v. Wade anniversary by placing a candle (electric, wax or battery-operated) in their window at sundown on the evening of Jan. 22. This gesture will serve as a reminder of the 50 million unborn babies who have been aborted since the 1973 Supreme Court decision.
The anniversary of Roe v. Wade also will be marked by a contingent of Catholics joining the Office of Pro-Life Activities on a pilgrimage for life to Washington, D.C. The group will pray peacefully and publicly intercede on behalf of the unborn, their parents, families, communities, nation and its leaders.
Buses will depart from several locations on the morning of Thursday, Jan. 26 and will return to the Buffalo area on Friday, Jan. 27. A Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Edward M. Grosz, auxiliary bishop of Buffalo, at 8 a.m. on Jan. 27 at the Washington Plaza Hotel followed by a breakfast featuring keynote speaker Caroline Carver from "Talk About Adoption," an organization devoted to promoting adoption as an option to unplanned pregnancy. Bishop Malone will gather with Western New York youth at the Youth Rally at the Verizon Center.
For more information about any of the events recognizing the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade case, contact the Office of Pro-Life Activities at 847-2205.