The promotional video for the 2014 walk begins with a January 20, 2005 quote from Dian Harrison, the then-chief executive of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, who told the San Francisco Chronicle “We couldn’t believe that they had the nerve to come to San Francisco.” Whether Ms. Harrison (who was fired from her $340,000 a year position with PPGG in 2010–PPGG itself filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2011) can believe it or not, this year’s Walk for Life West Coast is poised to be the largest yet.
Fifteen Catholic bishops have confirmed attendance at the event, and the weekend surrounding the walk has become the largest venue for Catholic and pro-life events in the Bay Area and probably in California.
Walk-related events on Friday, January 24 include: a Pro-Life Youth Conference for grades 7-12 with the sisters of Life at St. Mary’s Cathedral; the seventh annual Standup 4Life Rally and Walk in Oakland, led by Reverend Walter Hoye; the seventh annual Conversations4Life Benefit Dinner at St. Margaret Mary Church in Oakland; the first Law of Life Summit West sponsored by the Life Legal Defense Foundation, at St. Mary’s Cathedral; theVigil for Life” with the Sisters of Life (and Mass with Bishop Tom Daly of San Jose) at St. Dominic’s Church in San Francisco; and all-night Eucharistic Adoration for Life at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco. On January 25, following the walk, there will be a workshop on sidewalk counselor training with pro-life convert Abby Johnson at St. Mary’s Cathedral, and Mass in the Extraordinary Form will be celebrated at the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in San Francisco. On January 26, the day after the Walk, the first Students For Life of America West Coast National Conference will be hosted by St. Mary’s Cathedral.
While the leaders of the walk are almost all Catholics, the Walk has become notable for its ecumenical character. This year’s invocation will be given by Bishop Eric Menees, of the Anglican diocese of San Joaquin. Bishop Menees joins other non-Catholics who have given the walk’s invocation, such as Frank Lee, of Asian Americans Pro-Life (2010) and Father Aris Metrakos of the Greek Orthodox Church (2012). The San Joaquin Anglican Diocese is one of the many Anglican dioceses which have separated from the Episcopal Church, because of that body’s abandonment of traditional Anglican doctrine and practice. It is a member of the Anglican Church in North America, which in turn is part of the Global Anglican Future Conference, the body of Anglican Churches representing 70 percent of the active Anglicans worldwide.
This year’s Walk for Life West Coast speakers include Grace Dulaney, president of the Agnes Dei Foundation and Lamb of God maternity homes; actress Shari Rigby, star of the pro-life movie October Baby; Monica Snyder, who has attended the walk since 2006, and now acts as a spokeswoman for Secular Pro-Life; and Reverend Clenard Childress, director of BlackGenocide.org, who spoke at the first Walk for Life West Coast.
For more information about the Walk for Life West Coast and the associated events, visit: https://www.walkforlifewc.com/