January 28, 2022

Strive to transform people’s hearts, not just laws, Archbishop Thompson says at pro-life Mass

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson delivers a homily on Jan. 24 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis on Jan. 24. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson delivers a homily on Jan. 24 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis on Jan. 24. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

History might have been made with this year’s Indiana March for Life events on Jan. 23 and 24 as being the last with nationally legalized abortion.

With the potential for a positive outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case later this year, “Many talk about these days as being the closest we’ve been to overturning Roe v. Wade,” Archbishop Charles C. Thompson told the roughly 700 people present for a Mass celebrated at St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis on Jan. 24.

(Related story: Indiana March for Life and rally draw nearly 1,000 hopeful for the end of Roe v. Wade)

Members of the congregation hailed from cities and towns throughout the archdiocese—Aurora, Bloomington, Brownsburg, Indianapolis, Lawrenceburg, Madison, Nashville, Oldenburg, Plainfield, Richmond and more, as well as members from the Lafayette Diocese.

Among the members was a group of students from Father Michael Shawe Memorial High School in Madison. With their trip to the National March for Life in Washington canceled, they made an overnight trip instead to Indianapolis for a prayer vigil on Jan. 23, and the Mass, Indiana March for Life and following rally on Jan. 24.

“Seeing the [Indianapolis and Lafayette] bishops together and all of the priests was a highlight, and seeing all of the people of all ages in attendance at Mass pumped them up!” said Shawe Memorial retreat and pro-life coordinator Chemaign Drumm, who also teaches theology at the school.

They joined in the eucharistic sacrifice “united in word, sacrament and service,” as principal celebrant Archbishop Thompson noted in his homily.

‘We cannot be a house divided’

“There has been much written and reported on in the last several months with regard to deaths from COVID, homicide, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and so forth,” the archbishop noted. “The numbers are rather staggering.

“Little is reported, however, in relation to other forms of death and attacks against the dignity and sanctity of life. Today, … we especially take note of the lives that have been forfeited by the direct killing of the unborn, numbers that don’t often get reported as much as other forms of violence.”

Archbishop Thompson mentioned the hope that the upcoming Dobbs v. Jackson case could potentially overturn the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

But he reminded those present that “our focus isn’t just on laws. We must be primarily focused on the heart, not merely transforming laws, but transforming hearts and minds.”

Those in the pro-life movement should also not be divided, he said.

“Sometimes trying to fight for the same cause, we end up fighting against one another, sometimes losing the focus of the cause,” he said. “We cannot be a house divided.”

All those who defend life should be “for all the vulnerable of our society, for all in need of our voice: the unborn, the pregnant, the abandoned, the poor, the sick, the disabled, the immigrant, the migrant, the refugee, the prisoner, victims of human trafficking, the elderly and creation itself,” Archbishop Thompson said.

“Our voice must be one of faith and reason, speaking out against injustice, prejudice, hatred, gossip, bullying, euthanasia, violence and all forms of abuse. And if you’re wondering why I would bring that up when we’re here for the unborn, you’re missing the point.”

He closed by reminding those present, “It is in [Christ], in his name, his mission, that we should march, that we should advocate, that we should keep our focus” in order to be “most effective as missionary disciples.”

‘Let’s go march!’

Before the conclusion of the Mass, which was co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the Diocese of Lafayette, Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette offered a blessing upon those participating in the march.

“It’s a big event,” said Evan Lewis, an eighth-grader at St. Lawrence School in Lawrenceburg, who was participating in his first March for Life. “I’m excited!”

Another member of his group, Jacob Flaig, an eighth-grader at St. Mary School in Aurora, was also marching for the first time.

“I thought it would be interesting to come and march,” he said. “And I like to support the pro-life cause.”

It was the first time, too, for Grace Dauby, a member of St. John the Apostle Parish in Bloomington, who joined a group of students from St. Agnes Parish in Nashville.

“I really want to make a difference and stand up for those who have no voice,” Grace said of her decision to participate. “I’m a little nervous, but really excited. Mass was beautiful. I’m ready—let’s go march!”

Among the 15 students from Shawe Memorial was Drumm’s daughter, Olivia.

“I’m marching for something I really believe,” said the Shawe Memorial senior. “I want to see some changes in the country regarding abortion laws. I want to make sure that happens. … I want to help push that change.”

Her mother smiled at her group’s enthusiasm.

“They’re so excited to do what they came here to do!” she said.†

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