MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (OSV News) – “With the whole family of God here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I am praying for the victims of this violence,” Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez said in a statement following a mass shooting that left 10 people dead and at least 10 more wounded in Monterey Park, California, late Jan. 21.

Archbishop Gomez, who was already scheduled to celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. local time to mark the Lunar New Year at St. Bridget Chinese Catholic Church in LA’s Chinatown, added: “We pray for those killed and injured in this shooting; we ask that God stay close to their families and loved ones. We pray for the wounded to be healed, and we ask that God give strength and guidance to the doctors and nurses who are caring for them.”

A shooter fired into the crowd at a dance ballroom as guests celebrated on the eve of the Lunar New Year. The wounded were taken to local hospitals around the city, which is east of Los Angeles. Their condition ranged from “critical to serious,” said Capt. Andrew Meyer of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

He told reporters in a news briefing early Jan. 22 that it was too early in the investigation to know the motive of the shooter.

According to data from the city’s website, the population of Monterey Park is 65.6% Asian. Festivities throughout the day drew thousands of people to the city neighborhood where the dance studio is located.

In his statement, the archbishop prayed for God to give “wisdom and prudence to law enforcement and public officials working to make sense of the violence and keep our communities safe.”

The archbishop said they were also praying for peace: “Peace in the hearts of those who are troubled. Peace in the hearts of those who are afraid and hurting today, and peace for those whose faith has been shaken.”

“We pray also for peace in our own hearts,” he said. “We pray that we might feel God’s love and know that he will deliver us from every evil.”

Flowers are seen as a police officer stands guard in Monterey Park, Calif., Jan 22, 2023, following a shooting that set off a manhunt for the suspect in the nation’s fifth mass killing this month. The shooting left at least at least 10 people dead, 10 others injured late Jan. 21, in a neighborhood where thousands attended festivities on eve of Lunar New Year. (OSV News photo/Mike Blake, Reuters)

The archbishop concluded by asking for the intercession of Mary, the Blessed Mother, “to be a mother to us in this hour of pain and uncertainty.”

The mass shooting took place just a half mile from St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church in Monterey Park. A parishioner involved in the parish, who asked not to be identified, told OSV News the morning of Jan. 22 that the parish community “woke up to the news and is still pulling everything together and getting information from the police.” She confirmed the parish still planned to continue to celebrate Mass according to its regular Sunday schedule as the pastor “thinks it is important [for Mass] to continue” following this horrible event.

President Joe Biden was informed of the shooting, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a tweet: “The President has been briefed by the Homeland Security Advisor on the mass shooting in Monterey Park. He directed her to make sure that the FBI is providing full support to local authorities, and to update him regularly today as more details are known.”



Reverend John Edward Melnick, a priest of the Diocese of Scranton, retired in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, passed away on January 15, 2023 while awaiting a lung transplant.

Reverend Melnick, son of the late Edward Constant Melnick and Beverly Anne (Mackenzie) Melnick, was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada on February 28, 1960.    Father received his seminary education at St. Augustine Seminary, Toronto, Ontario and was ordained to the priesthood for the Order of Saint Augustine, on June 14, 1986.

Father came to minister in the Diocese of Scranton in 1996 and was incardinated on January 2, 2001.  He served as Pastor, St. Michael Church, Scranton, from June 1999 to July 2000.  Father served as Assistant Pastor, St. Gabriel Parish, Hazleton from July 2000 to August 2002 when he was appointed Pastor, St. Ann, St. Anthony, St. Casimir, St. John Nepomucene, Freeland where he served from August 2002 to July 2009. 

In July 2009, Father left the Diocese of Scranton and taught at Donnelly College while considering incardination into the Society of Saint Augustine, Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas.

A Pontifical Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City, on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 10:00 a.m. CT (Central Time) at St. Mary-St. Anthony Church, Kansas City.  Livestreaming of the Funeral Mass will be accessible 10:00 a.m. CT at




WASHINGTON (OSV News) – Not in Washington for the 2023 March for Life? Have no fear. Pro-life advocates from around the country can mark the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by virtually participating in events being held in the nation’s capital in conjunction with the national march.

The opening and closing Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life Jan. 19-20 in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will be livestreamed at

An all-new morning rally, Life Fest, sponsored by the Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus, takes place Jan. 20 from 7:30-10:30 a.m. EST and can be followed at

The Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus are sponsoring Life Fest Jan. 20, 2023, a new event to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The three-hour rally will take place at the 4,200-seat Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington ahead of the national March for Life. (OSV News photo/courtesy Life Fest)

The National Prayer Vigil for Life is hosted by the national shrine, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-life Activities and The Catholic University of America’s Office of Campus Ministry.

The vigil “is a time to praise God for the great gift of the recent Supreme Court Dobbs decision, overturning the tragic Roe v. Wade decision made almost a half-century ago,” said Kat Talalas, assistant director of pro-life communications at the USCCB.

In its June 24 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court reversed its prior jurisprudence in its Roe decision, which had declared abortion a constitutional right.

“State and federal legislators are now free to embrace policies that protect preborn children and their mothers,” Talalas said in a statement. “Yet, there is still a great need for prayer and advocacy from the faithful, as there will be intensified efforts to codify Roe in legislation and policies at the state and federal levels.”

The opening Mass for the vigil takes place at 5 p.m. EST Jan. 19 with Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, as the principal celebrant and homilist.

The Mass will be immediately followed by a Holy Hour for life. This will start off a series of nationwide Holy Hours throughout the night broadcast from dioceses across the country listed on the USCCB’s website,

The nationwide vigil concludes at 8 a.m. EST Jan. 20 with a closing Mass to be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph L. Coffey of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.

Life Fest is a three-hour rally taking place ahead of the National March for Life at the 4,200-seat Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington. The welcome begins at 7:30 a.m. (EST), and the event will feature speakers, music, Mass and Eucharistic adoration. 

The speakers include Sister Bethany Madonna of the Sisters of Life; Sister Mary Casey, who also is a Sister of Life, and her twin, Casey, who has Down syndrome; David Scotton, who was placed for adoption after his birth mother left an Indiana abortion clinic in 1993; and Tricia and Pete DeMaios, who work to educate people about the suffering inflicted by abortion by sharing their own story about abortion and the toll it took.

Singer and guitarist Father Isaiah Hofmann, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal, and worship leader and songwriter Sarah Kroger will perform for the crowd.

In a Dec. 20 news release announcing the inaugural event, the Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus said their hope is Life Fest will “inspire and educate a new generation on the next steps for a new spirituality of love and life, one foundational to building a culture of life in the post-Dobbs era.”

“We see a profound opportunity to build the culture of life in a new way,” said Sister Maris Stella, a Sister of Life. “We want to serve the church in her most urgent need — that of the cause of human life, sharing the good news of God’s plan for life and love.”

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly called the end of Roe “a crucial milestone, but we should not mistake the ruling as the end of abortion. The fight to protect life will now evolve at the state level but a united stand before national lawmakers is still essential.”

Kelly noted that 50 years ago the Knights helped launch the National March for Life, which has become “the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world.” 

A March for Life Rally begins at noon on the National Mall, followed by the March for Life along Constitution Avenue to the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building. The March for Life organization will livestream the rally via Facebook and its YouTube channel.

WASHINGTON (OSV News) – The annual observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began as an octave of prayer, sermons and conferences encouraged by Pope Leo XIII and Anglican leaders. But the celebration picked up steam following the Second Vatican Council committing the Catholic Church to this path.

During his 53 years as a priest — and even before that — Father James Gardiner, director of special projects at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, has had something to do with promoting the annual Week of Prayer. The week was first celebrated Jan. 18-25, 1908, by Father Paul Wattson and Mother Lurana White, Episcopal co-founders of the Franciscan friars and sisters of the Atonement, who entered into full communion with the Catholic Church the following year.

Father Gardiner highlighted a number of documents promulgated by the Catholic Church since Vatican II, which created a “great ecumenical ferment as we trooped and snooped through one another’s sacristies and sanctuaries,” he said.

“There was a kind of ecumenical euphoria that set in” in the U.S. and around the globe, he noted.

Among the Catholic Church’s many documents on ecumenism and interfaith relations is Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism (“Unitatis Redintegratio”), promulgated Nov. 21, 1964, which taught that ecumenism — the restoration of unity among all Christians — should be everyone’s concern. It stated genuine ecumenism involves a continual personal and institutional renewal.

The following year, the Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (“Nostra Aetate”) was issued, defining the church’s position on interreligious dialogue.

In 1999, the Catholic Church’s “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” with the Lutheran World Federation provided a common basis for understanding how people are justified and saved.

Ten years later came Pope Benedict’s “Anglicanorum Coetibus,” the papal constitution that created the personal ordinariates enabling Anglicans and Episcopalians to enter the Catholic Church and have a permanent home for their Anglican heritage, which the late pope called a “treasure to be shared.”

Pope Francis later authorized all the ordinariate liturgical books known collectively as “Divine Worship,” marking the first time the Catholic Church had officially adopted into its public worship liturgical elements that had developed within a Reformation church context.

This year’s observance has as its theme “Do Good; Seek Justice,” taken from the Book of Isaiah, which is a timely one, Father Gardiner noted but he also remarked on the significance of last year’s theme to churches’ ecumenical. It was selected by the Middle East Council of Churches: “For we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him” (Mt 2:2).

“I remember proposing that ecumenists, like the Magi, would do well to find yet another route back to Christian unity,” Father Gardiner told OSV News, “not because enormous progress has not already been made, but because too many of the faithful and their pastors are laboring under the impression that we’ve gone about as far as we can go.”

Ecumenical relationships “need to be studiously nourished throughout the year,” he remarked.

He also emphasized that “the role of prayer” needs to be prioritized during the Week of Unity, because “as we know,” prayer “changes not God, but the one who prays to God.”

TOULON, France (OSV News) – Sister André, a Daughter of Charity and the world’s oldest known person, died at age 118, a spokesman of the nursing home where she died told AFP agency on Tuesday.

“There is great sadness but … it was her desire to join her beloved brother. For her, it’s a liberation,” David Tavella, speaking for the Sainte-Catherine-Labouré nursing home, told AFP.

Sister André, a French Daughter of Charity who was the world’s oldest known person, is pictured in an undated photo. Sister André died Jan. 17, 2023, at age 118 in a nursing home in Toulon, France. (OSV News photo/courtesy EHPAD Sainte Catherine Labouré)

Sister André, a Catholic convert raised in a Protestant family, was born Lucile Randon Feb. 11, 1904. It was 10 years before World War I, Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States, New York opened its first subway line and U.S. Army engineers began work on the Panama Canal. She also lived through the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and through 10 pontificates.

Sister  André died Jan. 17 in her sleep at her nursing home in Toulon, on France’s Mediterranean coast, Tavella said.

An avid listener of Vatican Radio, the French nun sent well wishes to the radio operation on the occasion of its 90th anniversary in 2021. Sister Andre, who was blind, was a “dedicated listener of the radio that offers her a window of the world” and supports her prayer life, Vatican News reported Feb. 11, 2021.

Last year, for her 118th birthday, Sister André received a birthday card from French President Emmanuel Macron. 

In April 2022, she met reporters over tea in the house where she lived. 

“People say that work kills. For me, work kept me alive,” she said. “I kept working until I was 108.”

Sister  André used to say the biggest joy of her life was when two of her brothers returned home from World War I.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Christians must develop a pastoral heart to care for those who have not heard the Gospel or who have left the fold, Pope Francis said.

“By being with Jesus, we discover that his pastoral heart always beats for the person who is confused, lost, far away,” the pope said at his weekly general audience Jan. 18. “Jesus never said, ‘Let them sort themselves out,’ he went out to find them.”

Pope Francis encouraged Christians to model themselves on Jesus, the Good Shepherd, longing for those who have left the church just as a shepherd longs for lost sheep, rather than treating them as “adversaries or enemies.”

“When we meet them at school, work or on the streets of our city, why don’t we think instead that we have a beautiful opportunity to witness to them the joy of a Father who loves them and has never forgotten them?” the pope asked.

Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican Jan. 18, 2023. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Being a shepherd is not merely a job, but a “true and proper way of life: 24 hours a day,” he said. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, “does not just do something for us, but he gives his life for us.”

The pope encouraged the pilgrims and visitors gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall to reflect on how God seeks out those who distance themselves from him, saying that many Christians may have followed Jesus for a long time but “have never wondered if we share his feelings, if we suffer and we take risks.”

“The Lord suffers when we distance ourselves from his heart,” he said, “but in response to this suffering he does not withdraw, rather he risks. He leaves the 99 sheep who are safe and ventures out for the lost one.”

“Do we feel similar emotions?” the pope asked.

Without a love that suffers and takes risks for others, Pope Francis said, “we risk being pastors only for ourselves.”

At the end of his catechesis, the pope greeted a group of pilgrims from Congo, where he will travel Jan. 31, and asked for prayers for the country.

He also remembered Father Isaac Achi, who was killed Jan. 15 when bandits set fire to his parish rectory in Minna, Nigeria.

“So many Christians continue to be the target of violence, let us remember them in our prayers,” said the pope.

WASHINGTON (OSV News) – James Griffin, executive director of the Durandus Institute for Sacred Music & Liturgy, said the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity “was instilled” in him at the parish church of his youth, Our Lady of Atonement Church in San Antonio.

The weeklong Christian ecumenical observance, taking place Jan. 18-25 this year, “is important for all Christians” but has “even greater significance” for Catholics coming from the Anglican tradition, Griffin told OSV News.

Our Lady of Atonement Church in San Antonio was founded in 1983 with the permission of Archbishop Patrick F. Flores. It began with a few converts from the Episcopal Church, a member of the global Anglican Communion. Today Our Lady of the Atonement is part of the Houston-based Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a Roman Catholic diocese with Anglican traditions established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, which includes 40 other Catholic parishes and communities in North America.

One of those parishes, St. Timothy’s Ordinariate Catholic Church in Sykesville, Maryland, will co-sponsor a solemn choral evensong Jan. 25 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore, using the Ordinariate form of the Liturgy of the Hours’ evening prayer that reflects their Anglican tradition in full Catholic communion. Father Armando Alejandro, St. Timothy’s parochial administrator, will officiate and Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori will preach the sermon.

Griffin will be the emcee for the service, which will be dedicated to Pope Benedict XVI, who died Dec. 31 at age 95.

In 2009, Pope Benedict, in response to petitions for Catholic unity from various groups of Anglicans and Episcopalians, created an apostolic constitution, “Anglicanorum coetibus,” which established personal ordinariates – essentially Catholic dioceses where membership is personal rather than territorial – so individuals and parishes could become fully part of the Catholic Church and still live out their Catholic faith through their Anglican patrimony. Pope Francis has confirmed the initiative, by both approving all the ordinariates’ liturgical books, as well as expanding their missionary mandate to include evangelizing the unbaptized, other Christians not yet in full communion, and baptized Catholics who no longer practice the faith.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a joint effort of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches. It begins on the Jan. 18 feast of the Confession of Peter (“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” Matthew 16:18). Its final day, Jan. 25, is the feast of the Conversion of Paul.

The 2023 theme is “Do Good; Seek Justice,” taken from the first chapter of Isaiah.

Other events planned around the United States include an afternoon ecumenical service and concert Jan. 18 at the chapel of the Interchurch Center in New York, hosted by the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute.

In California, for the 17th year, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco and Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Gerasimos will lead solemn vespers together Jan. 23 at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Redwood City, California.

The Ecumenical Institute for Ministry in New Mexico has organized a pilgrimage for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity for participants from “diverse Christian traditions” to “heal and build up the body of Christ … as they walk, talk, worship, pray, and sing and listen together.” People also can participate virtually in a self-directed pilgrimage.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began as the Church Unity Octave. It was celebrated for the first time Jan. 18-25, 1908, by Father Paul Wattson and Mother Lurana White, Episcopal co-founders of the Society of the Atonement, at Graymoor, the headquarters of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement in Garrison, New York.

A year later, the friars, the sisters and 13 of their lay associates were received into full communion with the Catholic Church. The Atonement priests, sisters and brothers work for reconciliation and healing through the unity of men and women with God and one another, in fulfillment of the mandate from Jesus Christ’s prayer to God the Father in the Gospel of St. John: “that they all may be one.”

Father Wattson, who is a candidate for sainthood, had high hopes that the entire Anglican Communion would be “reincorporated with Rome,” said Griffin, who was raised by an Episcopal father and a Seventh-day Adventist mother. He became a Catholic in 2005 when he was 18.

“Many of those hopes have not been realized, not in our lifetime, but we see other Christian churches pray for Christian unity. … Most Christians realize our divisions between each other are not the way God intended for us to operate,” Griffin told OSV News.

Each year, in advance of the Week of Prayer, an international committee co-sponsored by the Vatican and the World Council of Churches invites a local ecumenical group to propose a scriptural theme.

The year’s theme was selected by the Minnesota Council of Churches in the aftermath of the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody and the trial of the police officer responsible for his death.

“The entire scriptural passage for the theme is Isaiah 1:12-18, lamenting a lack of justice among the people of God. Yet, it also promises redemption by encouraging acts of justice,” said Father James Loughran, a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement, who is director of the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute. He made the comment in a post on the institute’s website.

Father James Gardiner, another Atonement friar who has long been involved in ecumenical and interfaith efforts, told OSV News this year’s theme for the week “couldn’t be more timely.”

“Given the news each day,” he said, “the theme offers enormous possibilities for praying and preaching.”

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The way individual Catholics and their parishes care for the sick offers a precise measure of just how much they either are part of or are fighting the “throwaway culture” that ignores or discards anyone seen as flawed or weak, Pope Francis said in his message for the World Day of the Sick.

The care of those who are ill shows “whether we are truly companions on the journey or merely individuals on the same path, looking after our own interests and leaving others to ‘make do,'” the pope said in the message, which was released by the Vatican Jan. 10.

The Catholic Church celebrates the world day Feb. 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Pope Francis greets a child as he visits poor, sick people at a center run by the CasAmica Onlus organization on the outskirts of Rome in this Dec. 7, 2018, file photo. In his message for the 2023 World Day of the Sick, the pope said the way we treat those who are ill shows exactly what kind of a community we are. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

“Experiences of bewilderment, sickness and weakness are part of the human journey,” the 86-year-old pope wrote.

But, he said, the Bible makes clear that “far from excluding us from God’s people,” those situations of vulnerability “bring us to the center of the Lord’s attention, for he is our Father and does not want to lose even one of his children along the way.”

Those who profess belief in God, he said, should do likewise, placing the sick at the center of their attention.

To illustrate his point, Pope Francis used the parable of the good Samaritan, a story he often cites to illustrate the importance of community and fraternity in contrast to cruelty and self-absorption.

“The fact that the man, beaten and robbed, is abandoned on the side of the road” in the parable “represents the condition in which all too many of our brothers and sisters are left at a time when they most need help,” the pope said.

In addition, he said, in too many cases it is not easy “to distinguish the assaults on human life and dignity that arise from natural causes from those caused by injustice and violence. In fact, increasing levels of inequality and the prevailing interests of the few now affect every human environment to the extent that it is difficult to consider any experience as having solely ‘natural’ causes.”

The problem is not only illness, the pope said, but also loneliness and the feeling of abandonment, both of which “can be overcome more easily than any other injustice, because – as the parable tells us – it only takes a moment of our attention, of being moved to compassion within us, in order to eliminate it.”

In the parable, he said, “two travelers, considered pious and religious, see the wounded man, yet fail to stop. The third passerby, however, a Samaritan, a scorned foreigner, is moved with compassion and takes care of that stranger on the road, treating him as a brother. In doing so, without even thinking about it, he makes a difference, he makes the world more fraternal.”

People need the love and support of others as they age and especially when they are ill, he said.

Usually, people are not prepared to fall sick, he said, and, often, “we fail even to admit that we are getting older.”

“Our vulnerability frightens us, and the pervasive culture of efficiency pushes us to sweep it under the carpet, leaving no room for our human frailty,” he said. And even when people do not turn away, sometimes those who are sick think they should distance themselves from loved ones so they don’t become “a burden.”

But, Pope Francis said, “this is how loneliness sets in, and we can become poisoned by a bitter sense of injustice, as if God himself had abandoned us. Indeed, we may find it hard to remain at peace with the Lord when our relationship with others and with ourselves is damaged.”

If the Catholic Church is truly to be a “field hospital,” the pope said, then its members must act.

The church’s mission, he said, “is manifested in acts of care, particularly in the historical circumstances of our time. We are all fragile and vulnerable, and need that compassion which knows how to pause, approach, heal and raise up.”

“The plight of the sick is a call that cuts through indifference and slows the pace of those who go on their way as if they had no sisters and brothers,” Pope Francis insisted.

Those who are sick, he said, “are at the center of God’s people, and the church advances together with them as a sign of a humanity in which everyone is precious and no one should be discarded or left behind.”

WASHINGTON (OSV News) – The U.S. House of Representatives Jan. 11 passed two pro-life measures, however neither has a clear path through the U.S. Senate to become law.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act passed first in a 220-210 vote, with one member, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, voting present, and with Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, joining Republicans to support the bill. According to proponents, the bill would require any infant that survives an abortion procedure to receive appropriate medical care for their gestational age.

Pro-life advocates gather near the U.S. Capitol in Washington Jan. 18, 2019. The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 11, 2023, passed two pro-life measures on abortion, although neither have a clear path to passage by the U.S. Senate. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

A second measure, a resolution condemning violence against “pro-life facilities, groups and even churches,” also passed in a 222-209 vote. This resolution condemned the violence that erupted following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned prior precedents that found a constitutional right to abortion.

Three Democrats, Rep. Gonzalez, as well as Reps. Chrissy Houlaha of Pennsylvania and Marie Perez of Washington state, joined the resolution.

Neither measure is likely to be considered by the Senate, which remains under Democratic control.

The measures come in the first week of legislative business for the new Republican majority in the House after spending their first week in power electing a House speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

The votes took place as some Republican leaders, including former President Donald Trump, have blamed the issue of abortion as being responsible for the GOP’s lackluster performance in November’s midterm elections.

However, the House saw Republicans publicly restate their commitment to advancing pro-life policies.

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., the House Republican Conference vice chairman who introduced the resolution condemning the violence against pro-life facilities, said in a statement Congress needed to “make the position of Congress crystal clear: violence, property damage, threats and intimidation tactics must be condemned, and these clear violations of federal and state laws must be prosecuted.”

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said in remarks on the House floor that “pregnancy care centers across the country have suffered a surge of violent attacks, firebombing and vandalism by pro-abortion activists in a coordinated effort to intimidate frontline volunteers and licensed medical professionals providing critical support to mothers in need and their unborn baby boys and girls.”

“Now more than ever, we – and that includes the Biden administration – need to ensure the safety and security of the estimated 3,000 pregnancy care centers that provide life-affirming alternatives to abortion — offering critical, quality care for pregnant women facing challenging circumstances and helping to save so many unborn, innocent lives,” Smith said.

Some lawmakers supportive of legal abortion, including Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., however, argued Republicans should condemn violence against abortion clinics.

“Republicans have put forth a measure that condemns attacks on anti-choice facilities but says nothing about the growing violence against women’s health clinics,” DeGette wrote on Twitter. “By ignoring these attacks, Republicans are sending a dangerous message that will embolden the extremists behind them.”

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., who sponsored the reintroduction of the Born-Alive bill, said in a statement the legislation would “provide commonsense protections for innocent children and their mothers and will ensure all babies receive the essential care they need at an incredibly vulnerable moment.”

“All children should have the right to receive life-saving care, especially those who survive an abortion,” she said.

However, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the House Progressive Caucus, stated the bill is redundant.

“This bill is absurd for so many reasons, number one, it is obviously ALREADY illegal to kill a baby,” she posted to Twitter, adding: “The only new action this bill takes is to threaten jail time for health care workers.”

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, praised the House for passing the Born-Alive bill.

“We commend the House of Representatives for passing legislation to protect innocent children from infanticide, and urge the Senate to follow suit,” Bishop Burbidge said in a statement. “Babies who are born alive during the process of an abortion deserve compassionate care and medical attention — just the same as any other newborn baby.”

Infants who survive botched abortions are rare, but Melissa Ohden, founder and CEO of the Abortion Survivors Network, said in a statement that tens of thousands of abortion survivors like her do exist.

“We applaud Congresswoman Wagner’s leadership in ensuring infants like me, and countless others, are guaranteed medical care and legal protections when abortions fail and life wins,” she said.

Other leading pro-life organizations praised the House for passing these measures.

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, said in a statement her organization “is grateful to House Republicans for prioritizing commonsense and compassionate pro-life bills in the new Congress.”

“We urge all legislators to vote in favor of these measures which align with the values of the vast majority of Americans,” she said.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a statement, that the GOP leadership recognized the federal government’s “crucial role in protecting our most vulnerable children and their mothers in the Dobbs era,” and both initiatives “affirm the sanctity of life.”

“Our government’s most sacred duty is to safeguard the lives of all Americans,” she said.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis will celebrate the fourth annual Sunday of the Word of God Jan. 22 and, like he did last year, will confer the ministries of lector and catechist on several lay people, according to the Dicastery for Evangelization.

The theme for the 2023 celebration is: “We proclaim what we have seen,” a quotation from 1 John 1:3, the dicastery said.

A newly installed catechist receives a crucifix from Pope Francis during a Mass marking Sunday of the Word of God in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in this Jan. 23, 2022, file photo. The pope’s liturgical calendar for January and early February includes Mass for the Sunday of the Word of God and vespers to close the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis began the Sunday of the Word of God to promote “the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God,” which will help the church “experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world.”

The Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Jan. 22 for the annual event was included in the Vatican’s short calendar of papal liturgical celebrations for January and early February. The calendar was published Jan. 12.

Also on the calendar is Pope Francis’ celebration of an ecumenical evening prayer service at Rome’s Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls Jan. 25 to close the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The week is organized by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches. The theme for 2023 is: “Do good; seek justice,” which comes from Isaiah 1:17.

The calendar also includes Pope Francis’ trip to Congo and South Sudan Jan. 31-Feb. 5, which means he will not celebrate at the Vatican the Feb. 2 feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the World Day for Consecrated Life.