The following comes from a January 28 Angelus article by Sean M. Wright:

Capping a day devoted to events targeting an end to elective abortions, a massive throng filled the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels the evening of January 23 for the annual Requiem for the Unborn, the archdiocesan pro-life liturgy held each year on or near the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S.

At the end of the liturgy came the traditional “One Life, One Light” candle ceremony, in which 200 members of the assembly — each holding a large votive candle — solemnly approached the altar, surrounding it with a double semicircle of candles.

The 200 candles represented the estimated number of unborn lives taken each day by elective abortion in Los Angeles County.

After 200 seconds of silence was observed, Father Alexei Smith, director of the archdiocesan Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, explained that there is cause for hope. “When this ceremony began 14 years ago, there were 460 candles around the altar,” he said. “Legal abortions have thus decreased by 60 percent.”

For John Bonaduce, composer of the Shantigarh Requiem of the Unborn sung during the Mass and music director at Our Lady of Peace Church in North Hills, the yearly event is part of a self-imposed penance.

When asked what impelled him to compose this Mass, he replied, “In 1976, I paid for my girlfriend’s abortion. I didn’t feel bad about it because all my friends at the time told me it was the right thing to do. Unconsciously I had left the Church, but I heard an overwhelming voice telling me that I had transgressed a great law.

“For three years I could not go on with my life as it was,” recalled Bonaduce. “I searched for a place of reality. And then I realized that the Church, with all its mystery, is that place of reality.”

Asked about the term “Shatigarh,” Bonaduce explained, “About 30 years ago I was at a Catholic retreat and came across a piece of wood with the word ‘Shantigarh’ carved on it. I discovered that it’s a Hindi word meaning ‘House of Peace’ and that is what I’ve come to see [as] the reality of the Catholic Church.”