SANTA FE – On January 16, hundreds of people from around New Mexico gathered for the 6th annual Sanctity of Life Awareness and Unity Day. The day of pro-life activism was sponsored by Project Defending Life, a New Mexico-based Catholic group which sponsors multiple pro-life ministries and works to end abortion throughout the state.
Starting with a conference at a local hotel, several pro-life speakers, including Trent Horn of Catholic Answers, gave talks throughout the morning. At noon, a Mass was held at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe. The Mass was presided over by Archbishop Michael Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, with Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of the Diocese of Las Cruces and Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup as concelebrants.
Bishop Ramirez was the homilist for the Mass.
“When Mary says ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior’, she is singing for all the mothers who are pregnant, and all of those who have been mothers,” he said. “Let us praise all our mothers!”
Following the Mass, the three bishops and over a dozen priests in attendance led the rally-goers in a procession through the Santa Fe plaza to the Capitol (also called the “Roundhouse”), the seat of legislature and government for the state of New Mexico.
Several state representatives and government officials greeted the attendants, who filled the entirety of the inside main floor. Sharon Clahchischilliage, the Republican representative of New Mexico District 4, was only recently elected in the 2012 primary, but presented herself to attendees as a supporter of the pro-life cause.
Senator William “Bill” Sharer, a Republican representing District 1, encouraged pro-life activists to hold their government officials accountable for their records on abortion.
“There’s something important you all need to know about how this building works,” Sharer said. “All of us that are elected here work for you…you all need to be involved in telling us about life. You are on the side of God, you are on the side of life. Be brave, stand up there, and tell us what you want us to do.”
Among the rally-goers, Catholics were not the only attendees, as there was a contingent of Protestant activists as well. During the Mass, a non-denominational prayer service was held in a conference room at the Inn of Loretta Hotel. Pastor Eric Lamb of Calvary Chapel in Albuquerque – one of the largest Christian churches in the country with a designated pro-life ministry – also shared a speech at the roundhouse.
“We want to present to [legislators] the facts of what abortion is doing to women, because we are pro-life, we are pro-women,” he said. “We’re here to say that the conscience of our state needs to be awakened…we’re not going to give up, back up, shut up, let up, not until we’re taken up. This issue is too important.”
The message from those in attendance and as organizers of the rally was clear: the pro-life cause is one that is vital to all people in the state of New Mexico, because regardless of religion or creed, all people deserve the chance at life.
For more on Project Defending Life, or to find information on how you can help to end abortion, visit www.defendinglife.org.