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Thousands Join Archbishop in City Procession to Mark Day of the Unborn Child

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
24 Mar 2015

For the first time in its 16 year history the Procession to mark the Day of the Unborn Child was led by an Archbishop of Sydney

Grey skies and rain didn't stop more than 2800 to 3000 attending last Sunday's 10.30 am Mass at St Mary's Cathedral to celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation and to mark the Day of the Unborn Child.

Nor did it stop thousands of men, women, children, teenagers, grandparents and families from taking part in the rosary Procession for the Unborn Child that wound its way through the CBD to NSW Parliament House and then back to the Cathedral for Adoration.

For the first time in the 16 years the Archdiocese of Sydney's annual Procession marking the Day of the Unborn child was led by the Archbishop of Sydney. In previous years the Procession has been led by the Archdiocese's Auxiliary Bishops. For many years former Auxiliary Bishop, the Most Rev Julian Porteous led the Procession. Appointed Archbishop of Hobart in 2013, the Archdiocese's other Auxiliary Bishop, the Most Rev Terry Brady took over and led the Procession.

But this year for the first time the Procession was led by Sydney's new Archbishop, the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP.

"The Archbishop is very well known and much loved throughout Sydney. So many know him from the days when he was Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese as well as during the years he was Bishop of Parramatta. I am sure he was a key reason for such a big turn-out on Sunday in spite of intermittent rain, high winds and Sydney's often unpredictable weather," says Paul Hanrahan, Executive Director of Family Life International.

Family Life International organises the Mass and Procession for the Unborn Child each year in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Sydney's Life, Marriage and Family Centre. Traditionally the Mass and rosary Procession for the Unborn Child takes place on the Sunday that falls closest to the Feast of the Annunciation.

At NSW Parliament House the Procession halted to hear Chris Meney, Chancellor of the Archdiocese speak on the sanctity of life and precious gift of children

One of the most important Feasts of the Catholic Liturgical calendar, the Feast of the Annunciation  commemorates the visit to the Holy Virgin by the Angel Gabriel who was told she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus Christ, son of God.

"This is the ideal time for us to remember and pray for the unborn child, particularly as we are now entering the final weeks of Lent," Paul says.

Following the 10.30 am Mass celebrated by Archbishop Anthony, the rosary Procession set off from St Mary's Cathedral, past Hyde Park and through the streets of Sydney's CBD. After proceeding along Elizabeth Street past Martin Place, the Procession headed for the NSW Parliament where the crowd stopped to hear Chris Meney, Chancellor of the Archdiocese and former Director of the Life Family & Marriage Centre talk speak on the sanctity of life and God's precious gift of children.

"Each year more than 100,000 unborn children are aborted, losing their chance at life," Paul says describing this as a "shocking statistic."

A father hugs his small son during the Procession celebrating the Day of the Unborn Child on Sunday

"Even more shocking is that this figure only covers those babies lost to surgical abortions. We have no idea how many hundreds or thousands more are lost to chemical abortions through the use of RU486 or other abortifacients used to promote a miscarriage," Paul says.

Archbishop Anthony who is regarded as a leader in the field of bioethics, and who was the founding Director of the John Paul Institute for Marriage and Family, has long been a strong advocate for the unborn child and passionate defender of the sanctity of life.

"Before he entered the seminary to study to become a priest, he was an anti-abortion campaigner and a member of various Pro-Life groups," Paul says.

By mid afternoon on Sunday the Procession had returned to the Cathedral where all those who participated joined Archbishop Anthony for Eucharistic adoration.

Photography by Patrick J. Lee