On Saturday, January 23rd, forty-two seminarians from Mount Angel Seminary made a pilgrimage to San Francisco, CA, to the Walk for Life. Accompanying the seminarians were Fr. Theo Lange, Fr. Teresio Caldwell, O.S.B., and Fr. Thomas Koller, O.C.D. All three priests are formation directors at Mount Angel Seminary.
Attending the Walk was an effort from the seminary’s Peace and Social Justice Chairs, Luis Fernando Trujillo and Joe Paddock, to counteract abortion and take a stand for the sanctity of life. The walk was a mile and half from city hall down Market Street and ended at the Embarcadero by the waterfront.
The day started with mass at Saint Mary’s Cathedral of the Assumption with Archbishop Salvatore Cordilione. The Archbishop gave his homily and inspiration to those about to go on the walk. He assured them of his prayers and support and gave a few words from Pope Francis on the sanctity of life.
|The Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordilione, Archbishop of San Francisco|
After the mass was over the seminarians and priests loaded the bus and headed to city hall. The seminarians were joined by people from all over the Western United States, including Anglican bishops, Greek and Russian Orthodox priests, a bishop from the Society of Saint Pius X and various Protestants. Before the walk began Archbishop Cordilione gave a speech. He was followed by speeches from Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director for Priests for Life, and Dr. Alveda King, niece of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
|MAS seminarians and formators in front of St. Mary's Cathedral|
The number of people in the walk was estimated to be between 50,000 and 55,000 according to the Walk for Life website. People protesting the march stood on the sidewalks, following those who marched for life and yelling at them. Police confined the protesters to the sidewalks. Pro-life supporters were there on the sidewalks with pro-life signs to counteract them.
Along the walk people marched with signs and banners supporting the pro-life movement, and many prayed the rosary. One man carried a crucifix. Seminarian Ivan Arevalo joins the walk every year and walks barefoot. He does this to offer up the pain for the unborn.
Friends of seminarians came and joined them at the front of the line. Students of Saint Patrick’s Seminary of Menlo Park, CA, were right behind Mount Angel Seminary. Seminarian Matthew Knight of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon said, "On the walk there was an atmosphere of prayer and unity in the face of evil.”
Seminarians noticed how the protesters kept yelling and swearing at them and could feel the intensity. Despite the actions of the protesters they joyfully kept walking, some even singing praises to God along the way. The walk was filled with a sense of unity with other seminaries and religious orders of various kinds marching shoulder to shoulder.