As reported earlier on oca.org, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah offered the opening prayer during the program that preceded the March for Life here on Monday, January 23, 2012.
“Roman Catholic Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is in charge of pro-life activities, invited the Orthodox bishops to stand together with the Roman Bishops, as we are of one mind in regards to Life, and for us to begin to alternate giving the opening prayer for the March,” Metropolitan Jonah said, reflecting on the March. “This year, they gave the honor to me to bless the opening of the March for Life on their behalf, as well as on behalf of the Orthodox. With me at that podium, at my request, was Cardinal-elect Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.
“This is a significant ecumenical event, a strong gesture of unity, and a great symbol of the respect of the Roman Catholic Church for the Orthodox Church in America,” Metropolitan Jonah continued. “We are of one mind in opposition to abortion as a fundamental doctrinal and moral position, in accordance with the ancient Tradition of the undivided orthodox catholic Church.”
The text of Metropolitan Jonah’s prayer reads as follows:
Holy Father, our Creator, Savior, Redeemer and our God, Light and Life of the World, Who didst show Thine infinite love for mankind by sending Thine Only-begotten Son into the world to take our flesh and be born as an infant of the Blessed Virgin Mary, becoming all that we are in order to liken us to Himself; Who, through Thy servant Moses didst set before thy people two ways: the way of life and the way of death, and didst not only call us to life, but freely gavest it to us; Who, speaking to Thy servant the Prophet Jeremiah, dost remind us that Thou knowest each of us even from our mother’s womb; Who Himself was born in poverty and laid in manger, taking the form of a servant; Who didst hear the lament of Rachel weeping for her children, for they were no more; Who didst proclaim to Thy disciples that unless one receives Thy Kingdom like a child, one cannot enter it.
Visit us on this solemn day, a day on which we beg thine infinite mercy for the atrocities we allow in the killing of children in the womb; a day on which we gather to bear witness to the Sanctity of all human life from cradle to grave; a day on which we bear witness together to the value of each human person; a day on which we offer to Thee for Thy blessing, and to the world as a sign, our witness to Thine infinite goodness and charity, even to us who daily neglect the life which Thou dost give us, even unto killing and death.
Remember not our negligence and sin. Remember not our failure to be doers of the word and not hearers only. Remember not our hypocrisy, external zeal matched only with practical inaction to assist those who fall prey to the despair and hopelessness of abortion.
Accept, O Lord, the repentance of us who have sinned, and heal our souls. Accept, O Lord, the grief of mothers who have aborted their children as a cry of repentance. Accept, O Lord, the bitter sorrow of regret as the broken heart thou dost not despise.
We offer this sign of our visible unity, standing together in unity of mind, with a contrite heart and broken spirit. We offer our repentance, however we have sinned, for all have sinned and fall short, and thus none of us can judge or condemn. We offer our compassion for those in grief, in guilt and despair.
We pray that Thou will receive us as Thou didst the prodigal, with open arms of forgiveness; and the woman who had sinned, whom Thou didst not condemn.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, to enlighten those lost in the darkness of insensitivity. Transform the minds and hearts of those hardened in bitterness. Give hope, O Lord, to those immersed in despair. As Thou art Good and the only lover of mankind, visit us with Thine infinite compassion. Create in each of us, and in our nation, a new heart, taking not Thy Holy Spirit from us, and restore unto us the joy of life and of Thy salvation. Cleanse and redeem us by Thy precious Blood, shed for the life of the world. Caste us not off, neither turn Thy face away from us, but receive us in repentance according to Thy mercy, for we earnestly repent and with the necks of our souls bowed, we turn ourselves to Thee!
For Thou art the Giver of Life and the Savior of our souls, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father Who is without beginning, Thine Only-begotten Son, and Thy most holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
The pre-March program and the March itself was broadcast live on the Eternal Word Television Network [EWTN], which will rebroadcast its extensive coverage at 2:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 28. Please check local listings for possible variations.