10th Walk for Life

628x471On Saturday, January 25, the 10th annual Walk for Life West Coast was held at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. The event, the second-largest pro-life event in the United States, was the biggest yet. Life News headlined its coverage “60,000 pro-lifers line the streets of San Francisco during West Coast Walk for Life.” Although organizers of the Walk did not give a estimate of attendance, co-chair Eva Muntean said, “We are so proud to have the largest number of people and the largest number of youth showing the pro-life face of the West Coast.” The Associated Press reported “San Francisco police did not immediately provide an official crowd estimate, but at one point marchers stretched across more than a mile of Market Street, the liberal city’s main thoroughfare.”

One photo of the Walk was taken from a high-rise building in the area of Civic Center Plaza and posted on the San Jose Mercury News “social media reaction” page. It showed two city blocks around the plaza still densely packed with those waiting to start, while the body of the Walk stretched beyond visual range down Market Street towards the Walk’s end at the Ferry Building.

The day began with 17 Catholic bishops joining San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore in concelebrating a special Mass at 9:30 AM at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The cathedral was filled to overflowing. At the pre-Walk rally, speakers included October Baby  actress Shari Rigby, Lamb of God Maternity Home founder Grace Dulaney, and Monica Snyder of Secular Pro-Life. Snyder, introduced by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, said “This is a debate about life and death. When you peel away the glossy wrappers, the pro-choice movement is about death.”

In an effort to pull and end-run around the media’s habitual failure to give the Walk the coverage its magnitude deserves, organizers decided this year to launch a twitter campaign in the week before the Walk to “end the media blackout.” The idea, tailored to the Walk’s youthful demographic, was the brainchild of a young employee at the archdiocese.  Joanna Dasteel reported in LifeSiteNews: “So this year, when 50,000 smart-phone-toting pro-life activists descend upon the city, organizers will be asking them to tweet pictures of the events with the official event hashtag #WalkForLife and to include @CNN, @FoxNews, @USAToday, and local news outlets @sfchronicle, @abc7newsBayArea, @nbcbayarea, and @KTVU.”

The campaign may have worked. On the morning of the Walk, the Associated Press ran a wire service story about the event, and followed that with another from the Walk, quoted above. The wire service story was picked up by ABC News, NBC News, NPR, Yahoo News, the Washington Post, and scores of other outlets. From the story: “A massive and diverse crowd of protesters rallied in front of City Hall before marching down Market Street to Justin Herman Plaza for the 10th annual ‘Walk for Life West Coast’…San Francisco police did not immediately provide an official crowd estimate, but at one point marchers stretched across more than a mile of Market Street, the liberal city’s main thoroughfare.”  The San Francisco Chronicle picked up the AP story, but its own coverage of this major event in its own city consisted of a large photograph with a caption.

This year’s Walk was enlivened by the response of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors to the Walk’s “Abortion Hurts Women” banners which lined Market Street in the month prior to the event. A pro-abortion group had labeled the banners “hate speech” and asked San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to have them removed. He declined, citing the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, on January 14, the Board introduced a resolution in opposition to the banners. But the Board may have bitten off more than they could chew. Their action gained national attention, and even the Chronicle expressed opposition to the resolution. The ensuing publicity did nothing to harm the Walk.

The weekend of the Walk has turned into one of the busiest Catholic weekends of the year in the Bay Area. Special masses in both the Novus Ordo and Extraordinary Form were celebrated, special adoration vigils observed. There was also a youth rally with the Sisters of Life, the Law of Life Legal Summit, a training session for sidewalk counselors, and the first ever West Coast Students for Life Conference held at the Cathedral.

The Walk began in 2005 with 7,500 participants. It seems to be growing at about 15-20% annually. A writer at the New Feminism blog commented “The air literally sizzled with joy, happiness and gratitude.” Walk co-chair Dolores Meehan had a similar take: “It’s great to see so many joyous people bringing love and peace to the streets of the city of St. Francis.”

 

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  1. Many, many people made an effort to participate, and to take a stand for the right to live.
    Especially gobs of YOUNG people.
    God bless them, and the many hearts they touched, and, perhaps, converted…

  2. I was there, were you? This is an event that should be attended by all of those who can go, in place of those who can’t. You would be heartened by the huge number of young people, they are lovely, they are the future of the pro-life movement.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Yes, the BEAUTIFUL City of St. Francis has been hijacked by the pro-aborts and pro-homosexuals, but for a couple of days we got it back!!!

    And we will continue to respectfully and prayerfully and when needed…march to get the City back to the way it was in the days where it exuded the ‘Culture of Life’!!!

    And the times they are a ‘changin’….you can see it in the face of the youth that were participating!

  4. The “Walk” may bring love and peace to the streets of San Francisco”, but what does it do to stop, or even slow down, the abortions of millions of babies? All I see is that a lot of people can pat themselves on their backs and then jump on their costly buses and go back home, having done their “pro-life thing” for the year.

    • Lin should have said: “and go right on contracepting, having done their “pro-life thing” for the year”. The question needs to be addressed, “how pro-life are you?”. 56+million babies have been aborted in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade by suction and other surgical means, and 1.8 billion have been aborted by women using Birth Control Pills, IUDs, patches and shots. So, ask yourself the question, “how pro-life are you?” Contraception doesn’t prevent fertilization, it creates a hostile environment for a little soul that ends up flushed down the toilet. What is your “moral core?” Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. -Philippians 4:8

      • SandraD, you are spot on about the majority of “pro-lifers” contracepting, or at the very least, most don’t see what is so wrong with it. I myself have brought up this topic at various pro-life events and very rarely, if ever, do I receive even one nod of agreement. Typically when I broach this topic, I only find myself on the receiving end of an uncomfortable silence.

        I do want you to know , however, that at the San Diego walk for life, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute gave her whole speech about the link of contraception to many of the social evils of today, including abortion and the queering of marriage.
        Sandra, continue to speak up. You have the truth on your side.

    • That’s not what I see. I see people encouraged, inflamed with the Holy Spirit, networking and discovering more ways to make people aware that there is a holocaust going on in America. I see people with love reaching out to people blinded by hatred. I see people changed and lives being saved.
      When I go on a weekly visit to pray in front of an abortion clinic and it’s just me. I think it’s just me, but when I go to the Walk for Life, I realize it’s not just me. It’s Christ body. Thank you everyone who came to the walk for life, thank you Lord Jesus.

    • It’s apparent you don’t assoicate with many ‘pro-lifers’. They are on the frontline in preganancy centers, 40 days of life, sidewalk counseling, education, etc….Maybe it’s you that needs to get involved more….

    • Sour Grapes! Education is the answer; the public demonstration is a huge witness to the truth

    • Kenneth Fisher says:

      Lin,

      Don’t be so negative!

      I have been in this movement before Roe vs. Wade. Many of those youth you saw WILL NOT GO HOME AND REST! They will pick up the banners and yes the crutches and stretchers from us now getting old but not ready to quit, and they will be WELCOME.

      I was at a March for Life in Pallatine, IL, and I have never seen such a high percentage of young people at such events.

      May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika!
      Viva Cristo Rey!
      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

    • Every single EWTN story about the Walk for Life in Washington DC included the word “fun.” I don’t see what is “fun” about abortion. (Teresa Tomeo is by far the worst offender.) If we we were protesting, say, the extermination of the Jews under National Socialism, would that protest also be mainly about “having fun”?

    • Lin, I used to hold a similar sentiment until I attended a few of these events and listened to the commentary of young people who have as well. As the left stream media, the left stream educational system and left steam medical associations, and sometimes even their left leaning parents, just to name a few, continue to push the “abortion is a civil right”, “a necessary evil”, or “just another medical procedure”, young people can feel like they are the only ones who hold the opposite viewpoint. After they participate in one of these “walks” or “marches”, including the powerful speeches, they come to realize that they are hardly alone! They find out that the media, schools, etc., who they may have thought, gives us the whole truth, is not trustworthy after all. Furthermore, it usually is the place where they first become introduced to the variety of creative pro-life organizations which exist. In short, these walks and marches are empowering and worth all the money and effort involved!

      A side note: sometimes youth, who are not particularly pro-life themselves, come out of curiosity or to accompany a friend. Conversions take place during the event as well 🙂

      • Joel Torczon says:

        So true. I, too, had wondered about the effectiveness of the Walk for Life after having read a blog post that expressed doubts about it. But after attending the 10th annual event for the first time, I left feeling rejuvenated and believing that it did make an impact on those who participated in the march as well as those who witnessed the marchers. It indeed was well worth it and could be likened to attending a retreat.

    • Lin, look deeper, there is much more to the walk, and the walkers, than you are seeing. Being pro-life is not a once a year diversion, and yes, people are influenced by the message, even on the streets os San Francisco.

  5. Thomas Edward Miles says:

    It was far more meaningful than the San Francisco Gay Pride parade!

  6. God Bless Ignatius Press, Eva Muntean, Delores Meehan, EWTN and all involved in keeping the Walk for Life moving forward. It only gets better each and every year. This year was the best ever! And the best part of all is the young people who are now participating. The under 30 crowd have the message that abortion kills babies! The elders, as AB Cordioleone called us, have done their job and can now pass the baton on. Congratulations to on and all who participated for a God filled day. And a special note of gratitude to AB Salvatore Cordioleone for his support and outstanding homily at the mass – at St. Mary’s Cathedral. We are so blessed to have him as our shepherd in San Francisco.

  7. Even more people need to show up for this event. If unable to walk the distance, one can always stand on the sidewalk among the pro-abortion protesters and applaud and support the Walkers. Having been in a marching band and also having walked in earlier Walks in San Francisco, I know how good it feels to be among the Walkers and cheered from the sidewalks.
    Also, it may be time to include another Mass in the Extraordinary Form and at a different hour. The Shrine of St. Francis again this year was packed. How about a Mass starting at 6 pm or 6:30 nearby at Saints Peter and Paul Church?

  8. I was there also and I was amazed by all of the minority young people. I hope they do not automatically vote democrat. I hope they know that they are targets of Planned Parenthood. As I walked back down Market St. to my car the marchers went on and on. It truly was impressive.

    • lisag, you said “I was amazed by all of the minority young people”. Where are you living?
      The most recent Census Bureau report shows that “minority” births now outnumber white births. California has a 64.7% “minority” population. Much of the white population, is reaching the end of life every day.

      You then said, “I hope they do not automatically vote democrat.” Again, Lin, look at reality. California has a Democrat Supermajority in its legeslature!

  9. Linda Maria says:

    Every year, when the Walk for Life events occur, it just makes me want to CRY! How I wish the Church would (again) be strong and clear, with strong, secure leadership (starting at the Vatican), teaching her Catechism faithfully, providing the faithful with a clear path to walk, expecting sincere obedience, and guiding everyone to be good, successful, practicing Catholics, for the glory of God! For dissenters, a local bishop to” have a talk” (written, of course!) with them, and if it proves to be true that the unfaithful Catholic resists– then, to excommunicate, with notice that many prayers will be offered, for their conversion, Confession, and eventual return to the Church! Young Catholics must know, by proper Catholic upbringing, that premarital sex is totally unthinkable– a mortal sin! Period! Then, to abort a baby, is to KILL a child, another mortal sin, unthinkable, and resulting in excommunication! YES!! Christ’s Love and forgiveness, however, must always be stressed, for everyone; we are all sinners, in need of Christ! Americans have been TOO BABIED, unrealistically, in a disordered, modern, crazy, hedonistic, too-wealthy society, since the 1960s– and Life just doesn’t work that way!! The “fallen,” ignorant, secular world, with all its latest “gimmicks” and “trendy” trash, should be LAUGHED AT!!

  10. Peggy Bartley says:

    Jan-Jan, yes I was there (from San Diego).
    Lin, what evidence do you have that “people pat themselves on their backs…having don’t their ‘pro-life thing’ for the year”?? There are always some who always make up “their own negative truth”. With such a negative view, it seems pointless to state facts to you of abortion mills closing, abortion workers quitting, polls showing that more people are against abortion, etc.

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