ARCHBISHOP Bernard Longley led the Rosary for Life and presided at Benediction during a special afternoon service to mark Day for Life 2010, held at the Cathedral of St Chad, Birmingham, on July 25, writes Peter Jennings.
At the start of the service the Archbishop of Birmingham, assisted by Canon Patrick Browne, administrator of St Chad’s, said: “Today the Church in England and Wales celebrates the Day for Life. This day was initiated by Pope John Paul II to acknowledge and promote the dignity of human life from the moment of conception to its natural end. Each year the Day for Life takes a theme. This year’s theme is: Lord, for your faithful people, life is changed, not ended.
“This phrase, taken from one of the prefaces used at a Funeral Mass, emphasises the Christian meaning of death: the place of the sacrament of the sick, prayer for the dead, and the importance of accompanying the dying person as he or she journeys towards God.” The archbishop added: “As we keep the Day for Life here at St Chad’s Cathedral, we are pleased to have the relic image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In December 1531 the Virgin Mary appeared to St Juan Diego. Our Lady of Guadalupe is a sign reminding us to respect and honour human life. She appeared during the Season of Advent; she appears pregnant with child so has become the Mother of Life.” For 14 years, the archbishop said, several official images of Our Lady of Guadalupe had been venerated. The image at St Chad’s was one of them. Eight weeks before the Beatification of Cardinal Newman, the service began with the singing of his hymn “Lead Kindly Light”, and included his famous prayer “May He support us all the day long...”