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Pilgrims Get Send Off in Two Separate Ceremonies

Chicago, IL (January 16, 2009) – Over 250 teens and young adults from the Archdiocese of Chicago will depart for Washington, DC next Tuesday and Wednesday, January 20 and 21, to attend the annual March for Life and related events. Two special ‘Send Off” Masses will mark their departure.

On Tuesday, January 20, at 7 p.m. the teen pilgrimage send-off Mass for150 teens and their chaperones will take place at Queen of All Saints Basilica, 6280 N. Sauganash Ave., Chicago. Fr. Max Striedl, a priest of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois, will be the main celebrant. On Wednesday, January 21, at 4 p.m. a second send-off Mass for more than 100 college students and young adults will take place at Loyola University’s Madonna della Strada Chapel, 1020 W. Sheridan Rd, Chicago, with Fr. Matt Compton, associate pastor of Holy Name Cathedral Parish as the main celebrant. He will be joined by several Jesuit priests from the University. Both groups will depart by bus immediately after the Masses for Washington, DC.

“It’s difficult to imagine that over the past 36 years, more than 50 million abortions have occurred in the U.S. There must be a time when we say, ‘Enough is enough,’” said Mary-Louise Kurey, Director of the Archdiocese’s Respect Life Office. “It’s incredibly hopeful,” Kurey continued, “to see hundreds of thousands of young people from across the nation gathering at the March for Life to take a stand and witness.”

On Wednesday, January 21, the teen pilgrims will join Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, and some 10,000 pilgrims from across the country for a concelebrated Vigil Mass for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, on Michigan Avenue, NE in the nation’s capitol.

At the MCI Sports Arena on Thursday morning, January 22, 25,000 teens, including the Chicago contingent, will participate in a Mass concelebrated by Cardinal George and others before beginning the March for Life along Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court, where a Prayer Vigil will be held on the Supreme Court steps.

During their final day in Washington on Friday, the teens, college students and young adults will join Students for Life of America in prayerful walks outside abortion clinics. The college students will continue their peaceful prayer walk at a rally at the White House.

On Friday evening the college students will volunteer at the “Life Prizes” event to be held at the National Museum Building. An initiative of the Gerard Health Foundation, Life Prizes is t he private charity foundation of Raymond B. and Marilyn A. Ruddy, long-time pro-life philanthropists that annually awards up to $600,000 for outstanding efforts to awaken the conscience of America to the sanctity of human life.

Both groups will return to Chicago on Saturday, January 24.

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