CV NEWS FEED // Catholics are preparing to gather in Washington, D.C. next week for the 19th-annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast (NCPB), a program including Holy Mass, the recitation of the Divine Mercy chaplet, and an award conferred to noted Catholic pro-life hero Helen Alvaré.
Those attending have the opportunity to arrive the day before on February 7 and attend a vigil Mass at the John Paul II Shrine, followed by the VIP Reception. According to the NCPB website, tickets are required to attend the reception, which will include “heavy hors d’oeuvres, full bar, live jazz, and a brief reflection….”
On February 8 the official National Catholic Prayer Breakfast commences at 7 a.m. ET but doors open at 6 a.m. Attendees will be able to peruse tabletop exhibits presented by various Catholic organizations, ministries, and apostolates.
After the program begins, there will be a welcome address, meal blessing, and Pledge of Allegiance. The attendees will recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and then the yearly Christifideles Laici Award will be presented.
The award, named after Pope John Paul II’s 1988 Post-Synodal Exhortation Christifideles Laici, where he called “for the lay faithful to answer the Lord’s call for individual missions ‘on behalf of the Church and the world’” according to the NCPB website:
The NCPB created the Christifideles Laici Award in 2019 to help highlight these good works and those who serve the Church so well. The Award reads: “In Honor and Gratitude for Fidelity to the Church, Exemplary Selfless and Steadfast Service in the Lord’s Vineyard.”
Helen Alvaré is this year’s recipient of the award. Alvaré is a pro-life professor of law at George Mason University. She currently holds the Robert A. Levy Endowed Chair in Law and Liberty at Antonin Scalia Law School. Along with teaching about Family Law and Law and Religion, Alvaré’s online biography details that she is
a Member of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life (Vatican City), a board member of Catholic Relief Services, a member of the Executive Committee of the AALS’ Section on Law and Religion, and an ABC news consultant.
She cooperates with the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations as a speaker and a delegate to various United Nations conferences concerning women and the family.
Following the presentation of the Christifideles Laici Award, breakfast will be served. A special guest speaker, still to be announced, will speak, followed by a keynote address by Bishop William Byrne of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts. Mass celebrated at 9:45 a.m. brings the program to a close.
The National Catholic Register reported on Alvaré’s extensive pro-life legal work, highlighting that “for the Dobbs case before the Supreme Court, she co-authored a high-profile amicus brief that sought to dismantle claims that the overthrow of Roe v. Wade would stall women’s economic and social progress.”
As a pro-life speaker and writer with a unique background in law, Alvaré also served as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. Additionally, in 2012 Alvaré co-authored a letter called “Catholic Women Speak for Themselves.” The National Catholic Register reported that Alvaré’s co-authored letter
challenged efforts by the Democratic Party to frame the U.S. bishops’ opposition to President Barack Obama’s contraceptive mandate as a “war on women.” The letter, which reflected Alvaré’s ongoing campaign to help Catholic women challenge false political narratives, garnered tens of thousands of signatures.
Alvaré told the National Catholic Register in a recent interview, “It is important to remind people of what is at stake in this wealthy, powerful nation that is losing its way in many areas. Will we make room for new life, value childbearing, the role of women, the role of fathers, the role of sacrifice?”
NCPB director and chairman Mark Randall told National Catholic Register in a recent interview that the event “was established in response to St. John Paul the Great’s call for a New Evangelization, and Helen, who gave an extraordinary speech at our 2013 breakfast, has demonstrated a fearless commitment to the faith in her personal and professional life.”