How To Celebrate Sad Anniversaries
By Bishop David J. Malloy
Anniversaries are usually events to be celebrated. Birthdays, weddings, that day the couple first met. 
Anniversaries in those cases are meant to take us back, at least in memory, to that happy event in order to remember, to laugh, and maybe to say thanks.
But there are those other anniversaries. Darker moments in the playing out of life and circumstances — the death of a parent or a child for example. Or the day the house burned down, or the call from the doctor’s office that changed everything. 
Sometimes we remember those dates not only because of the shock that never goes away but also because over time we realize that the sacrifice and even the suffering that moment brought helped us to grow in faith and in our humanity.
This week was one of those sad anniversaries. It is one that many would wish could pass unmentioned or passively accepted. But the anniversary is one that both for reasons of faith and for the good of creation itself, we cannot let pass without reflection and prayer.
Wednesday, Jan. 22 was the 47th anniversary of the day when the Supreme Court effectively legalized abortion in the United States.
That decision was made in the midst of the sexual revolution that was sweeping our country. Our country was also convulsed by a social upheaval that stressed rejection of the wisdom and the wider moral view of the past.
Justice Hugo Blackman, writing for the Supreme Court at that time, found a new right to an abortion protected by our Constitution. The very strained nature of the court’s reasoning in reaching that decision should have confirmed the sense that something was deeply wrong. 
And how wrong it continues to be. At last count, it has been estimated that since that tragic day in 1973, some 62 million unborn lives have been lost to abortion. Shouldn’t such a number make us stop and ask if we as a nation are not better than this? 
Deepening that tragedy is the pain and loss that has been left to so many women who were pressured or deceived into terminating the life they carried in their womb. Often because they were abandoned by the father or they saw no way to raise their child, or to avoid a stigma, they made a choice that they have ever since regretted.
So how should we celebrate such an anniversary? 
First, we should truly celebrate by rejoicing in the gift of human life, ours and that of every other person. The seeming randomness of conception and the sorrow of infertile couples who wish to conceive remind us that each life comes from God Himself in the time and the circumstance that He chooses. 
Because human life bears the image of the Creator Himself, we need to rededicate our view of creation to recognize that human life is the highest element of creation. What prayers of thanks and sacrifices should we be willing to make for such a great gift! And how important it is to teach that respect and joy for human life to our children.
And each year this anniversary reminds us that our attitudes and comments must be those of mercy, especially for the hurting mothers and fathers who have regretted the abortions of their children. God will always forgive the contrite of heart. We must make clear that the Church does so as well.
We hope that someday the anniversary of Roe v. Wade will not have to be remembered. For now there is work for us to do to change hearts and to protect as best we can the life of our unborn brothers and sisters.