Tens of thousands of pro-life advocates thronged to San Francisco on Saturday morning to stand against abortion at the 16th-annual Walk for Life West Coast. Comprised of mostly families and students, the crowd filled Market Street singing, chanting and praying the Rosary while walking the nearly 2 miles from Civic Center Plaza to Embarcadero Plaza.
Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption before the walk and preceding rally. He quoted from Romans 10 to emphasize the faithful’s obligation to counter the “barbaric” culture. Romans 10:14-15 says: “But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?”
Archbishop Sample called those present to evangelize. “My dear brothers and sisters, we are the ones who are sent. Christ sends us to proclaim this Good News. Each one of us in our own way, in our own station in life, in our own vocation, are called and sent to proclaim the truth of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Part of our witness to that Gospel is a witness to the gospel of life. We are called to proclaim the gospel of life into the culture of death.”
He stressed each person’s inherent value. “We preach that dignity, but we do not give that dignity to another. We do not grant that dignity, that sacredness of life, to anyone. It is God himself who imparts that dignity of each inherit human life. It is a dignity which God gives. We have nothing to say about it. We have only to honor it.”
Barbara De La Torre, a founder and board member of St. Joseph Academy in San Marcos, brought 45 kids and 10 chaperones, “close to half our high school,” to the walk. “It’s fun and it’s prayerful, as well, and they know they’re on a mission here for the unborn. It’s so important for the teens, especially, because they want to fight for a cause, and we give them a great cause to fight for. And when they can do this when they’re younger, then it’s not difficult when they’re older. When they’re older it might seem kind of scary, it might seem kind of uncomfortable, but when they’ve done it for four years in high school, it just becomes natural that they’re going to be involved in pro-life.”
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, has come to the walk almost every year since its inception and this year was a speaker at the rally. He emphasized the importance of the upcoming elections. “The pro-life message is such that it applies to every state in America. We’re talking about essentially an American movement founded on principles that America is built on. No state, no city is exempt from the duty to protect life or from our responsibility to go there and claim it for life.”
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