Sunday, 22 January 2017 15:34

Pro-life groups, locally and nationwide, will travel long distances for March for Life

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Chicagoland supporters marched Jan. 15 for annual commemoration of Roe v. Wade

CNS SUPREME COURTWASHINGTON (CNS) — Participants in the annual March for Life always have two vivid memories: the brisk January chill on the streets of the nation’s capital, and the long bus ride.

For some, such as the 600 marchers affiliated with the University of Mary in Bismarck, N. D., the march will be a culmination of successful organizing and youthful enthusiasm in addition to substantial outside donations. Others struggle with raising money for a single busload of about 50.

Catholic parishes and pro-life groups have organized the bus journeys for most of the 44 years of the march, which marks the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion virtually on demand.

Many bus trips from Midwestern states are nonstop drives of nearly 24 hours.

The University of Mary group is making a nonstop trek. And they will be proud to do so, because march organizers selected them to hold the banner and lead the parade in their orange and blue knit caps.

“I think they noted the faithfulness of the University of Mary pro-life movement and our effort to support that,” said Anne Dziak, a Chicago native and recent graduate of the university who now works as an admissions counselor at the school. Last year, the university sent 100 marchers. This year, the number swelled with additions of pro-life groups from Bismarck-area high schools and groups from Fargo and Minnesota. It will take 14 buses to hold them all.

This will be Dziak’s 12th march and the seventh time the university, which has an enrollment of about 3,100, has sent a group. She concedes that nonstop trips aren’t for everyone, but said there are benefits.

CCI MARCH IL“It’s a good opportunity to allow the students to grow to know each other and make it more of a pilgrimage for us,” Dziak said. She advised students “to take it all in. Some of the best conversations I’ve had are on the bus at 2 or 3 a.m.”

Diocesan and local plans

Kyle Holtgrave, director of the Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, said that at press time, more than 200 people have registered with his office to attend the March for Life in the nation’s capital. In addition, diocesan participation swells as youth groups and high schools coordinate their own travel to attend the March for Life.

“Numbers are always in flux during the planning process, but some 20 groups, representing 39 different churches including some non-Catholic, are ready to go,” said Holtgrave.

Buses will depart from various locales in the diocese the evening of Jan. 25 with arrival expected in Washington midday Jan. 26. The March for Life is Jan. 27.

Lovin’ life in Chicago

In sharp contrast to last year’s frigid temperatures, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich and thousands of marchers stepped off at Federal Plaza on Jan. 15 for March for Life Chicago.

“Six-thousand plus marchers came to joyfully stand up for the dignity and sacredness of life from conception to natural death,” said Dawn Fitzpatrick, president and chair of March for Life Chicago. “Federal Plaza was packed with people of all ages and backgrounds coming together for the most important cause — life itself.“

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