Bishops Michael Burbidge of Arlington and Barry Knestout of Richmond each spoke at events associated with the second annual Virginia March for Life on Thursday, Feb. 13.
The commonwealth's two bishops concelebrated a pre-march Mass, and Burbidge spoke at the rally held immediately before the march.
Knestout, who delivered the homily at the Mass, said that the Virginia March for Life is “a day of prayer and advocacy for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life in Virginia,” as well as “a day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person” which were incurred by abortion.
“Today is not just a day to march but also to pray and fast for the recognition and dignity of human life in the Commonwealth,” said Knestout. “God fashioned each of us in his own image and we have a dignity that no other beings on earth can claim.”
During the homily, Knestout praised the work of pro-life groups and other individuals “who act with compassion and practical help” to assist those who are grieving.
“As a human and Christian family, we grieve the loss of so many lives,” he said. “And yet, even in our grief, we know there is hope.”
After the Mass, the marchers moved to the Virginia Capitol building for a rally. The rally featured numerous pro-life figures, including March for Life President Jeanne Mancini.
Burbidge opened the rally with a prayer, and thanked the members of the state’s Senate and House of Delegates who were present at the event.
"Each life welcomed into this world must be welcomed with thanksgiving, and shown a love and joy that resembles (God's)," said Burbidge. "Sadly, as we mark the anniversary of the legislation of abortion in our country, instill in us the courage to continue working on behalf of the unborn and vulnerable, despite the challenges before us."
Burbidge prayed that those at the March on Thursday would be inspired "to be renewed in the faith, and rededicated to ending abortion and all other acts that deny and offend the inherent dignity of the human person."
The Arlington bishop also prayed for expectant mothers, particularly those who are in less-than-ideal situations. He said he hopes they "will be given the courage and strength to bear the precious gift within them, in the midst of their hardships."
He hoped God would bless elected officials to work towards the common good, adding, "there is no good to be found in abortion."
"Help our elected officials, especially here in Richmond, to see your light and exhibit the political will to do what is right and just and holy," said Burbidge.