Students Walk For Life in San Francisco
JP Catholic News, February 12th, 2010
On Saturday, January 23, pro-lifers from across the country gathered together for the 6th Annual Walk for Life West Coast. It is estimated that some 40,000 people travelled to San Francisco to protect the lives of unborn babies. Students from John Paul the Great Catholic University were there in the thick of things.
JP Catholic is in San Diego, 500 miles from San Francisco. Transportation was not an issue, however, because a generous donor chartered a bus for the students. Forty-four students, from freshmen to graduate level, piled onto the big bus on Friday, January 22. It was a long bus ride. We left the university at 12:30. At about 6 o’clock, we stopped to eat dinner in Kettleman City, a little town that most of us had never heard of before. After an hour to stretch our legs, we were back on the road. By about 10 o’clock, we had made it to the City by the Bay. Father Daniel Maguire, the pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, had graciously offered JP Catholic students a place to stay. We expected to be sleeping in the parish hall. We were pleasantly surprised, however, to find ourselves in the rectory—a three-storey building in the true San Francisco style with lots of unexpected nooks and crannies. The girls of JP Catholic were given the top floor while the boys were on the second floor; our host, Father Maguire, lives on the ground floor.
At 8 am, Archbishop George Niederauer celebrated the Mass for Life at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. A group of us JP Catholic students got up bright and early to take the public bus to the cathedral and start the day off with Holy Mass. After Mass, we took the bus to Justin Herman Plaza, where the Walk was to begin. While we were waiting for the Walk to start, a number of JP Catholics students filmed interviews with fellow pro-lifers. These interviews with Walk for Life speakers, past and present, are aimed at drawing in the youth. In fact, JP Catholic, along with the diocese of San Francisco, will be hosting the youth rally after the 2011 Walk for Life. The rally, which is being organized largely by Timmerie Millington, a freshman business student at JP Catholic, will be the official rally of the Walk. It is designed to bring young people together to celebrate life.
Finally, after listening to the speakers and conducting interviews, it was time for the Walk for Life to begin. Four girls from JP Catholic were asked to be among those holding the sign proclaiming Abortion Hurts Women. We were proud to literally be in the front lines of the Walk for Life. Minutes after we began our walk, it started to rain. None of us at the front had umbrellas—all we had were our jackets and our JP Catholic sweaters. But it wasn’t until hours later that we realized just how soaked we were.
The Walk was about two and a half miles long. It followed the Embarcadero from the Plaza, went through Fisherman’s Wharf and ended at the Marina Green. All told, it took about two hours—two hours walking through rainy streets in wet shoes and wet jackets. Yet not one word of complaint could be heard. Each and every one of us knew why he or she was there. As we reached the end of the Walk, we looked back over the peaceful column of pro-lifers. The end was nowhere in sight. It was wonderful to see thousands of other people who are passionate about saving babies’ lives.
At 4:30, some two hours after the end of the Walk for Life, the chartered bus left St. Thomas Church to return to San Diego. We were all exhausted from our long day. We knew we had a long ride ahead of us (in fact, we didn’t get back to the university until 1:30 in the morning). But none of us had any regrets. We had represented our school at the Walk for Life. More importantly, we had represented our generation in saying, “We support life, from conception to natural death!”