TRENTON, NJ - Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M., will lead a contingent of an estimated 2,000  Catholics of the Diocese of Trenton in the 39th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Leaving from more than two dozen parish and Catholic school locations across Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties, representatives of the diocese will join a gathering projected to soar above 100,000 pro-life advocates who will march up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court building in peaceful and prayerful protest of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

The march is the capstone of a series of events scheduled in the nation's capital beginning Jan. 22 in commemoration of the Roe v. Wade decision, including prayer vigils, Masses and a youth rally in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and several large public venues. People of faith will come together to pray the Rosary, go to Confession and witness to the sanctity of every human life, from the moment of conception to natural death.

In his Respect Life message published this week on diocesan websites, Bishop O’Connell writes: “Catholics must be pro-life. There is simply no other ‘choice’ or alternative, no valid counter-argument.  Our pro-life position must embrace the womb and the tomb and every moment in between, without forgetting or ignoring support for the whole of life until its natural end as determined by our Creator.”

Bishop O'Connell will celebrate morning Mass Jan. 23 in the basilica, along with Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York. After the Mass he will meet up with representatives of the diocese to begin the afternoon march.

Once again, many of the pro-life advocates will be Catholic youth and young adults, participating in large groups from their Catholic elementary and high schools, colleges and parish groups. Following the march, many participants will visit members of Congress to ask for support in advancing legislation that protects human life in all of its forms. 

In Trenton, Catholics not able to travel to Washington will take part in a pro-life rally on the steps of the State House from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, 151 N. Warren St., has scheduled a Mass for Life at 10 a.m. for all those going to the State House.