Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Deacon Shares His Experience at the Walk for Life

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Last month I drove one of three vanloads of teenagers from my daughter’s high school (St. Francis Central Coast Catholic High School in Watsonville) to the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco. (see
http://www.walkforlifewc.com/ ) Over 50,000 of us gathered and walked the 5 miles along the waterfront from the Embarcadero to the Marina.

We started with a rally featuring wonderful speakers. I was especially impressed with Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director and 2008 Employee of the Year who was instantly converted in October 2009 when she witnessed an ultrasound guided abortion in her clinic. A few days later she ran over to the Coalition for Life office next to her clinic and asked for their help. They embraced her lovingly and gave her the support she needed to resign and become a powerful worker for life. I encourage everyone to get a copy of her book, Unplanned, read it and pass it along. It is the unique and powerful story of her journey from death into life. Once you start it, you may not sleep much until you’ve finished it!

The 50,000 who did the walk were a beautiful representation of the Church and of the human family, people of all ages, races, lay, priests, religious, including thousands of teenagers. We were praying, singing, smiling and feeling God’s love and peace and grace. The stream of people stretched along the San Francisco Bay waterfront was like a river of life and light shining in the darkness. And we did encounter several ugly pockets of darkness – small groups and individual counter-protesters, most of them bizarrely dressed and saying or chanting cruel, intolerant, vulgar and blasphemous things. We maintained a prayerful silence as we passed by, but I was distressed that our teenagers were exposed to their filthy talk – things I don’t even want to remember, much less repeat. I almost lost my cool when we passed by a particularly obnoxious group who were singing the tune of the Gloria from “Angels We Have Heard on High” with the most blasphemous words I have ever heard in my life – I mean truly blasphemous words against Jesus. But as I went back into prayer Jesus showed me that this was a sharing in his walk to Calvary when people mocked, cursed and blasphemed him. And he forgave them and died for their sins so that they could be with him in Paradise forever.

That’s the kind of love that we must have for those who are lost in darkness and sin, who hate us for what we believe and practice. If we hate them for what they believe and practice, then the saving grace of God cannot work through us. In churches all over the world today we heard Jesus commanding us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. If you ready Abby Johnson’s book, you’ll see what a beautiful and effective strategy this is!

But most of the march was a beautiful, peaceful experience. We felt the presence of God very powerfully. I’ve walked the streets of San Francisco for the past 18 years, but never in this way before. Being a part of this holy presence was truly a blessed experience. Fisherman’s Warf was packed on that beautiful, warm and sunny day and all the sidewalk tables were filled with tourists eating crab and chowder. I can only imagine how this miles-long stream of holiness passing in front of them has touched them forever. I felt like I was in church and they were all there with us.

The Gospel reading that weekend told of Jesus walking around Galilee and proclaiming, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” The Walk for Life in San Francisco was the Kingdom of Heaven at hand – right here, right now. Please visit its website,
http://www.walkforlifewc.com/ for more impressions of that day.

Thank you for all your prayers, sacrifices and efforts to bring the light and love of God to the world and to the people right around you. None are ever in vain.

Your servant in Christ,

Deacon Patrick

Another Nice Walk for Life Video

This one is courtesy of Hannah:

LIFE from Hannah Benjamin on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Seminarian Reflects on the Walk for LIfe

From "A Journey Through Seminarian Life":

"There have been so many blessings that have come my way in the last few weeks. I am ever grateful for each one. I will begin this journal session talking about last weekend’s trip to San Francisco for the Walk For Life. The fellowship amongst the 45 of us on the bus ride to and from was great. We watched some great movies, prayed together and also got to know each other a lot more. I mean 22 hours on a bus will bring anyone together! Once we got Saint Patrick’s Seminary, where they were gracious enough to open their doors for us, we hung out as a big family of about 80 seminarians strong."

More Photos from Around the Web

Michael Franzwa has posted some nice pictures of the Walk for Life West Coast,
including this one of good Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento:

Judging from the other photos, looks like they are from St. Maria Goretti parish.

If anyone can identify the priest and lady with His Excellency, please post in the comments.

UPDATE: I guess that is Father Terry. The group posted a youtube video, too:

"Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"-- Ike Ndolo Prepares for the Walk for Life Youth Rally

This year the Walk for Life was blessed by the presence of a number of young people who travelled all the way from Arizona.

Now, from the blog of Phoenix's "The Catholic Sun" newspaper comes this video of Ike Ndolo, assistant music director at
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Tempe, Arizona.
Mr. Ndolo is practicing before the beginning of the West Coast Walk for Life’s Youth Rally.

His website is here, and you can check out his first album "We Are Beggars," released in 2009.

St. Margaret Mary Parish at the Walk for Life

Good Father Moreau, of the Institute of Christ the King, leads the flock from
St. Margaret Mary in Oakland at the Walk for Life.

They celebrate a beautiful Traditional Latin Mass at St. Margaret Mary.

Parish young people were there.

This gentleman is always at the Walk, singing, playing music, and radiating joy.
We have another picture of him somewhere on the media blog
but this one is even better. God bless him!

A group shot at Marina Green after the Walk.

Photos this post courtesy Veritatem facientes in caritate.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sacrifice at the Walk for Life: "Their Goal was Humiliation"

A new and interesting take from Louisa at Catholic Phoenix on her experience at this year's Walk for Life West Coast:

"You may know the expression 'looking evil in the face.' I never quite understood it . . . until I had people screaming in my face. 'Have you even read a science book before? Do you even BELIEVE in science? You believe the Bible is real? Have you ever read a book before? . . . that is why ALL CHRISTIANS ARE FASCISTS!'

Perhaps I’ve lived a sheltered life. Never before had I seen such anger, hatred and misery in the faces of others. At first, I couldn’t even pity them. I was livid. I was surrounded by posters and placards that had nothing to do with abortion. Their messages were anti-religion and anti-establishment. These people were looking for a fight, carrying posters making fun of the sex scandals involving Catholic priests and defiled images of our Holy Father, John Paul II. Instead of civil protest, they chose open contempt and mockery. A few mixed in with the pro-life marchers and screamed at us. They were two girls younger than me. Others taunted us with megaphones announcing a “poll of our ignorance”. There was a girl carrying a black cross, cross-dressers with “halos” and crosses painted on their faces, and the most creative group, the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”

I was mad. I couldn’t respond to these people. They didn’t want to debate or recognize any common ground. Their goal was humiliation.

As I contemplated punching Mr. Megaphone Man in the face, I reminded myself of the whole point of the Walk – sacrifice.....

'Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.' I may not have suffered a gruesome death, yet I experienced a persecution. It was a blessing I did not immediately recognize.

So take that, second grade Louisa. You didn’t quit. You didn’t give in to your anger. You finished that Walk and you left feeling sorry for all the people who yelled at you. You stood up to those that hated you for Christ."

We repost a video of Thomas Aquinas College students
which complements Louisa's observations quite well:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


St. Mary's High School of Phoenix visits San Francisco and attends the Walk for Life.
The good Marianist Brothers at Riordan High School opened their doors to them.
Here's a nice video, with lots of good footage of the city, too: