Thanks to organizational efforts from several regions, the Diocese of Rochester should again have a solid representation at the March for Life.
The march is set for Monday, Jan. 24, in Washington, D.C. It has been held annually for the past 31 years to protest the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion in this country.
“I am deeply grateful to the many individuals and groups who make it possible for people from all corners of the diocese to go to Washington. Without them, our diocese would never be as adequately represented for the March for Life,” said Jann Armantrout, life issues coordinator for diocesan Catholic Charities. Armantrout gave special acknowledgement to Dorothy Hayes, Mary Jo Maurer and Joe Hayden in Monroe County; Kathleen Peters in the Finger Lakes; and Dr. Stephen Spaulding, president of Chemung County Right to Life, in the Southern Tier.
Buses from the Rochester Diocese will depart for Washington the night of Sunday, Jan. 23, and arrive in Washington the next morning. There, Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, will celebrate an 8 a.m. Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The March for Life will begin at noon with a rally on the grounds of the Washington Monument, followed by a march to Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court.
The day also will include opportunities to hear speeches and lobby Congress on abortion and other life issues. Buses will leave late Monday afternoon to return to western New York.
Armantrout said diocesan parishes have been encouraged to make announcements about the March for Life at weekend Masses Jan. 8-9, with contact information being made available for those who may wish to join a bus group. The cost is generally around $45 per adult and $25 per youth, with financial assistance available for those who need it.
The March for Life is usually observed Jan. 22, on the anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade decision. However, this year’s march has been pushed back due to events connected with President George W. Bush’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
Armantrout observed that the march draws a wide range of participants. “There are so many families with children, older folks, youth groups, colleges and parishes involved that there is company for everyone, walking at any speed,” she noted.
Armantrout added that a large volume of young marchers is especially impressive, noting that Peters in the Finger Lakes puts a “special emphasis on teen participation.” Meanwhile, the youth group of Our Lady of Lourdes, Elmira, will continue its tradition this year of traveling to Washington with the Chemung County Right to Life group. According to Rosemary Anthony, parish youth minister, as many as 15 youth-group members have attended in the past “reciting the rosary as they marched,” she said.
The march annually draws tens of thousands of people from all 50 states. Armantrout remarked that the gathering is not a bunch of militant activists as they are often depicted.
“The public press does not adequately capture the enthusiasm, prayerfulness and peacefulness,” she said.
Hayes, a parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle, said it’s not necessary to attend the March for Life in order to be part of the event. For instance, people can help out by making donations to defray bus expenses. “We never break even (financially) with the buses,” she said.
Hayes also suggested that people can make their own private prayers for life on Jan. 24. She added that all-day coverage of the March for Life will. be available on Eternal Word Television Network.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For information about attending the March for Life, contact: Monroe County — Mary Jo Maurer (St. Thomas the Apostle, Irondequoit), 585/342-3216, Maureen Gallagher (St. John of Rochester, Fairport), 585/425-3327, or Julie Ellender (St. Jude’s, Gates), 585/265-1085; Finger Lakes — Kathleen Peters, 315/539-8860 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Southern Tier — Dr. Stephen Spaulding, 607/739-9282, or Sharon Pearte, 607/734-2680. Inquiries also may be directed to Jann Armantrout at 585/328-3210, ext. 1304, or email@example.com.