Joining the Walk for Life
Story and Photos by Frank Villanueva
With their sleeping bags in one hand and their rosaries in the other, on Friday, January 20, 2012, the seminarians of Mount Angel Seminary embarked on an 11-hour pilgrimage from St. Benedict, OR, to San Francisco, CA, to participate in the annual West Coast Walk for Life march.
The young men, accompanied by Fr. Ralph Recker, a formation director at Mount Angel Seminary, began loading the bus at 5:00 am with luggage, cases of water, lunches for the road and playing cards for the long journey. A prayer for safe travel and a welcome address by the Peace and Social Justice Chair, Ryan Francisco, set the tone for the enthusiastic prayer warriors. While singing, “The wheels on the bus go round and round” and “Shout to the Lord” the guys talked, laughed and put together “march” cheers to chant while taking the two and a half mile walk. Along the way they stopped at various roadside stops to stretch their legs and take some photos of one another and of the beauty of nature.
The seminarians arrived at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, CA, around 7:00 p.m. They were greeted by fellow seminarians, went to Mass, and were treated to a dinner prepared for them by the Sisters of St. Patrick's Seminary.
When morning broke on Saturday, January 21, the seminarians ate a light breakfast and set off to the Cathedral of St. Mary where they were met by more than 2500 parishioners and supporters of the pro-life movement. When mass ended the seminarians met back at the bus and drove to the starting location for the walk.
|The seminarians met up with former classmate JR Jaldron, now studying at St. Patrick's Seminary, and some friends while preparing for the walk.|
|Two Hawaiian seminarians from Mount Angel Seminary, Frank Villanueva (left) and Romple Emwalu (right) were greets with a surprise visit from fellow diocesan brother EJ Resinto, a current student at St. Patrick's Seminary.|
After receiving some words of encouragement and testimonies from various speakers, the march was on its way. Leading the way were the youth and young adult groups followed by the seminarians of
Seminary and St. Patrick’s Seminary. Mount Angel
|Joseph Norton III, a college-one seminarian, looks toward the protesters on the side while Michael Dion,|
Grant Boggs, and Geoff Daigh pray the rosary.
The pro-life supporters were met with some challenges while taking the 2.5 mile march. Pro-choice supporters lined the sidewalks screaming chants of “freedom of choice.” However, the pro-life supporters marched on singing songs of praise to God and giving spontaneous cheers while both Catholics and non-Catholics prayed vigilantly to the Blessed Mother.
Tears of sadness came from the faces of both men and women throughout the walk, and the march ended tears of joy and shouts of praise to God.