This year’s theme – abortion hurts women – was visible across the backdrop of the main stage of this year’s Walk for Life West Coast. This theme was put into proper context by Father Frank Pavone, at a pre-address at a side-stage before the Walk for Life West Coast got underway:
“We are the ones who are pro-woman. We are the ones who stand, not just for the baby, but rather who say to society, “Why can’t we love them both?”
The difference my friends between those who, we will meet some of them today, who advocate for legal abortion, and us who advocate for life, is not the difference they want the mother to think it is. They want the public to think that we stand for the babies, and they stand for women. But that’s not the difference between the two sides.
The difference between the two sides in this monumental struggle, in our nation and in our world today, is they think that you can separate the mother from child and we say you can’t.
You cannot love one without loving the other. You cannot protect one without protecting the other. and you cannot harm one without harming the other.”
I’ve been on the road, having participated in the Walk for Life West Coast on Saturday in San Francisco, and unfortunately, I’m only now able to post some first thoughts and pictures of my experience, using a mac-on-loan (It’s times like this I begin to feel envy for the more tech-mobile people out there!).
By good fortune, I’ve recently been befriended by a group of college students out of the Neuman Center at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo. They had an extra seat in one of their cars, and texted me a few hours before departure Friday night, asking if I’d like to go to the walk for life with them. I jumped at the chance. The trip up was a joyful one, full of singing and discussions about religious life, college life, and life choices.
We arrived in San Francisco around 10.30 Friday night, and ‘Checked in’ with the Marist Fathers who were so kind as to put us up in a reception hall of Notre Dame des Victoires Church. After dropping off our bags, we made our way through the San Francisco streets to Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church (It’s a beautiful Church, by the way, and is really worth the visit if you are in San Francisco!).
We spent some time in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, praying for the following day’s event, and for the end of abortion, and then we returned to our lodgings for a few hours of sleep before rising at six to make our way to the Cathedral of St Mary of the Assumption for morning Mass. The Mass was beautiful, very reverent. It was celebrated by Archbishop George Niederauer, San Francisco, an concelebrated by eight other Bishops of surrounding Diocese, and many priests, including Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life (from whom I received our Lord’s Precious Blood during Mass).
Following Mass, we made our way to Justin Herman Plaza for the rally and walk through the streets. One of the highlights of the rally was the inspiring words given by former Planned Parenthood director, Abby Johnson, who shared with us her change of heart, and new understanding of the value of life:
The awesome thing, I found, at the rally were the large number of young people, and young families with small children.
Well, pictures tell more than words. For now, let me share some of the captions that struck me:
And my favorite on the back of the T-shirts of a group of teens:
On that happy thought, I thank the Lord that the event went well. It was a day full of joy. Let us pray for the day we can truly rejoice, when every child is safe from having their lives destroyed before they begin.