Brenda Sais, the Family Life coordinator and a youth minister from San Clemente Church in Los Lunas, New Mexico, speaks about her group coming to San Francisco.
Tell us about the San Clemente Youth Ministry.
The youth ministry is at San Clemente Catholic Church in Los Lunas, New Mexico. San Clemente has approximately 2000 families and is located 30 miles south of Albuquerque. I first became involved with youth ministry when my two younger children were involved with Life Teen at the parish.
San Francisco is not exactly around the corner from New Mexico. How do you get here?
We fly from Albuquerque to Oakland, then we take BART from the Oakland airport and a San Francisco bus to our host church, Saints Peter and Paul. The teens feel it is vital to make a stand and be the voice for their littlest brothers and sisters in the womb on a larger scale. Our community and our teens are extremely pro-life.
Prior to 2008, we would take our group to DC for the March for Life but one year, the parish we normally stayed at said they weren’t allowing pilgrims to stay at their parish any longer. Upon calling several other Churches and no one calling me back, I went online for a search of other rallies and/or walks we could attend and the first thing I saw was the Walk for Life, West Coast.
After attending our first walk in San Francisco, I asked the teens the following year, who had experienced both San Francisco and DC where they thought we should go again, and their response every year has been ‘San Francisco… because we feel our voice is needed more there.’ We have attended the Walk for Life in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and now 2013.
How many youth are with you this year, and how many in previous years?
This year, we have 12 in our group. In 2011, there were 11, in 2010 – 15, in 2009, our largest group, 16 and in 2008 – 11. All between the ages of 15-17 and all from our home parish, San Clemente.
How do the young people react to the walk?
They love the rally, they love the crowds and they love their presence there. Many remain active praying at our local abortion clinics. Also, one older teen sends letters and emails to our local universities speaking on the dangers of contraception and how we are each called to live.
Bringing a large group of teens that far sounds challenging.
There are really no challenges getting us here. There is work and preparation that needs to be done but not really any challenges. The teens that attend the WFL each year raise the money themselves. We do one to two fundraisers at our parish; a parish community, who loves, supports and prays for our teens. For this, we are truly thankful.