Walk for Life West Coast: “Bigger, younger, and more energetic every year” | Gibbons J. Cooney | CWR
The annual pro-life event, which drew an estimated 50,000 Marchers this past Saturday, is one of the five largest public events in San Francisco
On Saturday, January 24, downtown San Francisco echoed with pro-life chants, the rosary in English and Spanish, the Salve Regina, and joyful mariachi music at the 11th Annual Walk for Life West Coast. As always, the day began at 9:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral, where Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, joined by 11 brother bishops, celebrated the Walk for Life Mass. The Cathedral was over-packed, with nearly 5,000 people—standing room only. “Our goal is not simply to make abortion illegal,” Cordileone told the worshippers, “but to build a culture of life.” He took one of the themes of the youth in attendance and made it his own: “My young people, you are the prolife generation.”
Tens of thousands of pro-lifers overflowed the city’s Civic Center Plaza as the pre-Walk Rally took place. The invocation was given by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. The Archbishop also shared a message of thanks and support from Pope Francis to “…all who came out to the Walk for Life West Coast and all who supported it through their sacrifices and prayers.” The Holy Father called the inviolability of the right-to-life the “essential condition” for the building of a just society. The audience responded with cries of “Viva Papa!”
A poignant moment came at the presentation of the annual St. Gianna Molla award for pro-life heroism. The recipient was the late George Wesolek, who had served for years as the Director of the Office of Public Policy for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and who was instrumental in the creation and success of the Walk. The award was presented to Wesolek’s grandchildren by Vicki Evans, the Director of the Pro-Life Ministry of the Archdiocese, and a decades-long friend of Wesolek.
Speakers included Julia Holcomb, who told the story of her abortion during a relationship as a teenager with Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, and Rebekah Buell, a young woman who attempted to abort her second child with the abortion pill RU486.