I’m proud of the many young people who are actively showing the tremendous effects of the pro-life teaching and pro-life philosophy that is present in the current generation. We have so much to be inspired by in our own Diocese. This year we sent off over 230 young people to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. All across the nation we are beginning to see a greater understanding of the reality that is life in our midst. We are speaking more clearly in more places and with more conviction that life begins at conception. We are more intelligent about the growth of a baby in the womb. We know that within 18 days of conception there is a fetal heartbeat; 42 days, brainwaves are detected; 8 weeks, all body systems are present. In 11 weeks little fingernails are present; 12 weeks vocal chords are developing and the new life can cry; and at 20 weeks the baby can feel pain.

Abortions, sadly, are still performed up to 20 weeks (5 months) after conception. In some cases, legal arguments are being heard and cases being made for late term abortions where a child will be nearly born and then killed before exiting the birth canal. Despite these practices, our understanding is getting better and this generation of young people has so much to do with that progress. Science and technology are finally sounding off about as loudly in many instances as theology and the basic facts of life!

A couple of weeks ago I attended a meeting of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference of Bishops in Milwaukee. Gathered were all five bishops from the state of Wisconsin. We all reported strong attendance and support from many young adults for the Washington March. We also noted that there is support rising from doctors who are taking a stronger pro-life stance throughout Wisconsin. There is, however, still work ahead—much work ahead—even in our own Catholic hospitals. In all situations there seems to be a strong sense of attempting to do the right thing by protecting life at its most vulnerable stages.

So many of us believe that this new generation of young people will be the generation that ends abortion and restores the gifts of children to loving and responsible mothers and fathers.

I urge you to remain faithful and strong in prayer. We believe that with prayer many hearts can be changed and many babies can be saved. I also urge you to support the doctors who uphold the Church’s teaching on this vital matter. Please pray for them as they endure resistance even in the midst of so much clear evidence to support life.

I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!