Nicholas Wolfram Smith is a freelance journalist for the National Catholic Register and other Catholic media outlets. Growing up in the Finger Lakes region of New York, he graduated from a small Catholic liberal arts school in New Hampshire with a degree in philosophy. He enjoys fishing in the summer and writing poetry.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of pro-lifers descended on San Francisco for the 14th Annual Walk for Life West Coast (online here). The walkers ranged from well-known advocates of the pro-life cause to Catholic college students and seminarians.
Now in his 10th year of attending the West Coast Walk for Life, David Daleiden told the Register he loves how the walk “brings the pro-life movement into the heart of the abortion industry.” Daleiden contrasted the continuous growth of the Walk for Life with the decreasing presence of pro-abortion protesters. While 10 years ago, the walk was “like running the gauntlet,” he said, now they can’t turn out significant numbers of people to support taxpayer-funded abortion.
“These marches feel like victory marches now, for the first time, because we’re winning,” he said.
Daleiden said the Walk for Life had a “very humble, spiritual core.”
“We don’t have political power in San Francisco,” he said. “All we have is the power of the spirit that comes through in an achingly beautiful way. That’s what I Iove about the Walk for Life.”
Pat Castle, founder and coach of LIFE Runners, loves the Walk for Life because of “the opportunity to meet other pro-lifers and hear their stories. There’s nothing more inspirational than to meet. It’s a beautiful thing.”
About 40 University of Colorado-Boulder students from the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center came, too. Their pastor, Father Peter Mussett, told the Register that the students belong to “an incredibly compassionate generation” that is “deeply aware of the profound need for healing.”
Madalena DeAndrea, a senior who came for the first time to the walk, told the Register, “It was a really cool experience, especially to see how alive the Church is, how alive the pro-life movement is.”
Danny Anderson said that it’s “cool to be a witness here, publicly witnessing to life.”
Both avid photographers, Molli Nava told the Register she looks forward to publishing her photos of an event that often lacks coverage and show the history of the walk: “I want my kids to see that there were people standing up for life then.”
Thomas Aquinas College students also flocked to the walk. The motto on the back of their sweatshirts was Carpe Veritatem, Seamus O’Brien said, and the Walk for Life “is a chance to seize the truth: that abortion is murder and is wrong.” O’Brien and his fellow students hope that the momentum from being at the walk will carry over to their campus pro-life work, like a prayer service they organize outside of an abortion facility in Ventura, California. “John Paul II called us an ‘Easter people.’ It’s a youthful and joyful movement.”
Seminarians Andy Kelly (shown below left) and Thomas Stuart (right) also attended.
Kelly, a seminarian from the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California, told the Register it was “wonderful to see this many people praying for others and standing up for their faith.” He said he is encouraged that the pro-life movement is making headway nationally and said it was joyful “seeing so many happy people supporting and affirming life.”