CHICAGO (CNS) -- Over 5,000
people from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and other Midwestern states gathered
Jan. 14 in Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago for the annual March for Life
Chicago commemorating the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision
Participants carried signs with
pro-life messages and balloons during the rally and march through the streets
of downtown. The drum line from Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein played
in the march.
Chris Murrens of Libertyville
brought her two teen-age children to the march and said seeing the many youth
and young adults in attendance was "heartwarming" and "inspirational."
"The heavenly Father is smiling.
Our Lady is smiling. It's a great day," she told the Chicago Catholic,
the archdiocesan newspaper.
Murrens said she brought her two
teenagers because she felt it was important to expose them to the event and the
"I want them to see how
important this is and for them to be part of this generation that is turning
things around to become more pro-life," Murrens said. "They are having a
wonderful time and getting the message all at the same time."
Young people, especially in
their teens, are impressionable and open to new things so that is a pivotal
time to share the church's teaching that life is sacred from the womb until
natural death, the mother of three said.
"This is when they see so much
of what is going on in the world. This is the time when you can really grab
their hearts and make a difference for the rest of their lives," she said.
Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich
-- one of several speakers who addressed the gathering prior to the march --
applauded the witness of young people and, referring to the recent feast of
Epiphany, called them "the new Magi."
"You give us confidence that the
energy to protect the child in the womb has not grown weak over these 45 years,
but is as youthful, strong and vibrant as you are," the cardinal said. "You are
the new Magi in our time, who teach us all to keep our heads up, and amid the
darkness of the night at times, to take heart that God is still in the heavens,
guiding us like that Bethlehem star and keeping our dreams alive."
Quoting Pope Francis, Cardinal
Cupich said that children make society "dream beyond ourselves."
"Taking human life, especially
the life of the child in the womb, not only has an impact on that one human being
but deeply wounds all of humanity, robs from us our ability to dream and see
life as much bigger than our own concerns, challenges and struggles," he said.
"Is it any wonder that we are so divided as a nation when we are so fixed only
on ourselves, when we can no longer dream and see all that God is doing beyond
The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision
robbed the nation of its children and its dreams, he said.
"Now with the recent law passed
by our Legislature and signed by our governor, more lives and dreams will be
robbed as will family incomes that will be forcibly used to pay for abortions,"
Cardinal Cupich said referring to legislation Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into
law in 2017 that provides state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for
"Can we not better use our tax dollars to support health care for
families expecting children, and child care and assistance to parents when
their children come into the world?" the cardinal asked. "Can we not better use our tax dollars to
keep alive both our children and our dreams as a nation?"
Other speakers at the rally
included Illinois Congressmen Dan Lipinski and Peter Roskum and former Planned
Parenthood director Ramona Trevino.
Earlier in the day, Cardinal
Cupich celebrated the archdiocesan Mass for Life at Holy Name Cathedral
attended by a standing-room only crowd. During the Mass, young people brought
white roses to the altar, commemorating lives lost to abortion and homicide in
Chicago last year.
In the Denver
Archdiocese a day earlier, about 3,000 people gathered outside the state Capitol in Denver for
the annual Colorado March for Life. The afternoon rally and march were preceded by the
celebration of several morning Masses at a number of churches, including one celebrated
by Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate
"This is the Colorado piece of
the largest civil rights movement in our lifetime," Lynn Grandon, archdiocesan
Respect Life program director, said in advance of the Jan. 13 gathering.
More pro-life marches were planned around the country. Among those will be the
fourth annual OneLife LA Jan. 20 in Los Angeles, followed exactly
a week later by Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco.
In Chicago, some of those who
attended the Mass and rally also planned to travel to Washington for the national
March for Life Jan. 19.
Others preparing to attend
the march and rally in the nation's capital included students at Monsignor Bonner
Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, in
the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Catholic school leaders
throughout the U.S. take thousands of their students to the regional or
national March for Life events each year in an effort to engage them in the
pro-life cause and to eventually pass the torch of leadership to them, said
Steven Bozza, director of the Philadelphia archdiocesan Office for Life and
The pro-life activists who have
been embroiled in the movement for decades will not be able to go on forever
and it's up to the current leaders to prepare the next generation of advocates,
Bozza told Catholic News Service during an interview in Drexel Hill.
"We're going to win this
battle," he said. "Maybe not tomorrow or next week. Maybe not this year, but
we're going to win it. Especially with the new generation coming up."