WASHINGTON — Cold temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic and snow in the Northeast didn’t keep friars and ministries from participating in the Jan. 24 March for Life.
Friars came from as far as Upstate New York, including a contingent from St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, to march in the 38th annual protest of abortion and Roe v. Wade.
Among the marchers were Peter Schneible, OFM, from SBU; Ignatius Smith, OFM, pastor of Holy Cross Church in Callicoon, N.Y.; Jud Weiksnar, OFM, pastor, and John C. Coughlin, OFM, of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Camden, N.J.; Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, of St. Camillus Church, Silver Spring, Md.; Charles Miller, OFM, pastor, and Robert Menard, OFM, of St. Francis Church, Triangle, Va.; Province photographer Octavio Duran, OFM, of Sacred Heart Friary, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Sebastian Tobin, OFM, of Holy Name College, Silver Spring, Md.
The friars brought groups of parishioners and family members from the university and from their churches.
Ignatius led a group of 34 parishioners that included members of St. Anthony of Padua Church in nearby Yulan. This was the 14th year that the friars of Holy Cross and St. Anthony have participated, he said.
The group traveled to St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., where they met with other Province ministries for Mass and breakfast hosted by the local Knights of Columbus. They then headed to nearby Washington.
This year’s march was estimated to have included 400,000 people.
“I’ve never seen so many people in one place,” said Molly Seidl of Sullivan County, N.Y. “The unborn have a voice, and I’m one of them.”
Delia McDonnell, 80, also of Sullivan County, said, “I continue to pray and march for life, as long as God gives me strength.”
The Camden parish’s director of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation and Hispanic ministry reported that eight people rode down in the parish van. Kristen Zielinski-Nalen, who said she first learned about the event as a youth when she participated with a parish school group, said that two friars, two staff members, one representative from the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, one parishioner and two family members of a staffer also took part.
Jacek posted a video on YouTube of young parishioners standing in front of a banner that read “Choose Life,” shouting “no” to abortion and other injustices.
Participation in the march is among the many ways that Provincial ministries support JPIC issues closest to Franciscan teachings.
— Wendy Healy, a freelance writer based in Connecticut, is a frequent contributor to this newsletter.