Support for march welcomed - Catholic Courier

Support for march welcomed

The 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is upon us, and Jann Armantrout wants local Catholics to show that the passage of time has not curbed their disdain of the Supreme Court decision permitting legalized abortion in the United States.

Roe v. Wade was truly a watershed moment in U.S. societal degradation of the value of human life,” stated Armantrout, who serves as the Diocese of Rochester’s life-issues coordinator.

Armantrout is encouraging participation in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., that was begun in protest of Roe v. Wade. The Catholic Courier has been notified of four planned bus trips from diocesan parishes on the evening of Jan. 21, all returning approximately 24 hours later:

Monroe County: St. Thomas the Apostle, 4536 St. Paul Blvd., Irondequoit. Leaves at 10 p.m. For details, call Mary Jo Maurer at 585-342-3216 or e-mail

Finger Lakes: St. Mary’s Church, 95 N. Main St., Canandaigua. Leaves at 10 p.m. Contact Fran Flugel at 585-924-7051 or

Southern Tier: St. Mary Our Mother, 816 W. Broad St., Horseheads. Leaves at 11:30 p.m. Call Steve Spaulding at 607-739-9282 or Sharon Pearte at 607-734-2680. Also, St. Pius V, 35 Maple Ave., Cohocton. Leaves at 11 p.m. Contact Katie Robinson at 585-384-5626 or

The March for Life will begin at noon on Jan. 22 with a two-hour rally on the National Mall in Washington, featuring addresses by many politicians and religious leaders. Tens of thousands of people are then expected to march, working their way from the Washington Monument to Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court. There, many marchers will visit the offices of congressmen to discuss legislation regarding pro-life issues.

People traveling to Washington separately from the bus tours will have the opportunity to take part in related events prior to the March for Life, such as exhibits and conferences; the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, beginning with a 7 p.m. Mass on Jan. 21 and ending with a closing liturgy at 7:30 a.m. the next morning; and a youth rally and Mass from 8:45 to 11 a.m. at the Verizon Center, with Mass beginning at 10 a.m.

The march is held annually on or near the anniversary of the Jan. 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade decision. Participants emphasize the sanctity of life in hopes of getting that landmark decision overturned. Armantrout noted that many people faithfully travel from the Rochester Diocese each year to be a part of the march — from students and faculty at McQuaid Jesuit High School, to “kids who are now adults who have gone on this trip almost from its inception,” to a medical doctor (Steve Spaulding). And yet, as fervent as these demonstrators are, Armantrout observed that their style of protest remains peaceful.

“The March for Life and its participants are often caricatured in the media as wild-eyed right-wing fanatics with a quasi-violent approach in promoting their agenda. Based upon personal observation, I can attest that this is not the case. When in Washington for the 30th anniversary (of Roe v. Wade), I was amazed at the numbers and the diversity of the people. It was edifying to see so many people peacefully trying to effect a change of the disastrous policies brought forth by Roe,” Armantrout remarked.

Locally, numerous diocesan parishes are planning prayer vigils and similar acknowledgments of the Roe v. Wade anniversary. Armantrout noted that General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 373, states: “In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.”

Armantrout, as well as Bishop Matthew H. Clark, emphasized that anti-abortion stances are particularly vital in New York state, where Gov. Eliot Spitzer has introduced the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act. The bill, if it becomes law, would make abortion virtually immune from any state regulation; repeal the requirement that only doctors can perform abortions; eliminate the conscience protection for religious hospitals; and allow late-term, post-viability abortions.

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