Area pro-life proponents finding new ways to mark Roe v. Wade anniversary

Even though Central Illinois Right to Life will not be holding its annual Sanctity of Human Life Rally or walk for life around the Federal Courthouse in Peoria this year, supporters seized a recent opportunity to make a stand for life. As 2020 was coming to an end, several people from the organization stood on the Adams Street pedestrian overpass along Interstate 74 in Peoria and held pro-life signs for drivers on both sides to see. “We got a lot of affirmative honks,” said Dan Bohan, CIRTL vice president. (Provided photo)

There are many things that have changed across Central Illinois due to COVID-19, but respect for human life isn’t one of them. That has made it necessary for parishes and respect life groups to look for new ways to provide a witness.

At St. Mary of Lourdes in Germantown Hills, for example, parishioners will hold a March for Life in the lower parking lot at 424 Lourdes Church Road, on Sunday, Jan. 24. It will start at 1 p.m. and end with a rosary at the Marian grotto at 3 p.m.

Lindsay Verdun, one of the organizers, said it is designed to bring parishioners together safely and give them a way to make an impact. It will also provide an opportunity to be in solidarity with those who will participate in the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 29.

“We’re trying to have sign-ups for a specific time period,” Verdun said. “We wanted to try to spread out and have people walking for those two hours.”

Those who can’t or don’t want to walk, may sign up to spend time in prayer in the church.

She said the local March for Life is also a way for the parish to support “Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service,” a program of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Participants are invited to bring baby items and women’s care items, which will be donated to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria and its St. Gianna Baby Pantry.

“We felt like this was a way, during these times, we could do something as a parish together,” Verdun explained. “There are a lot of things that people — and not just churches — can’t do right now. We haven’t been able to hold so many events, but this is something we can do that could be an all-inclusive event, to mark the day in solidarity and support this cause, which is so important.”

To sign up, click here or look for St. Mary of Lourdes Walk for Life on Facebook.

PRAYER IN LASALLE, URBANA

Other local observances are planned for:

LASALLE: An area-wide pro-life talk, Beads for Life Rosary, and Mass will be held on Saturday, Jan. 16, at St. Patrick Church, 725 Fourth St., in LaSalle. Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, it will begin at 10 a.m. and include an opportunity for confession.

It will be livestreamed through LaSalle Catholic Parishes on Facebook and can also be found at lasallecatholic.org.

URBANA: A Community Ecumenical Memorial Pro-Life Prayer Vigil will take place on Friday, Jan. 22, at St Patrick Church, 708 W. Main St., in Urbana. It will begin at 7 p.m. and include readings from Scripture, a candlelight rose procession, and a welcome and closing prayer by Father Anthony Co, pastor at St. Patrick.

The theme for the gathering is “Hope for Life” and will be addressed by Rebecca Kiessling, founder and director of Save the 1. A nationally known pro-life speaker, she is also an attorney and the mother of five.

No reservations are necessary. It will be livestreamed at stpaturbana.weebly.com and will be available on the parish’s Facebook page.

In addition to St. Patrick, sponsors include Holy Cross Church, Champaign; Community Evangelical Free Church, Mahomet; First Wesleyan Church, Urbana; Meadowbrook Community Church, Champaign; Monticello Church of the Nazarene; Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church, Champaign; and Windsor Road Christian Church, Champaign.

CHANGES TO CHICAGO MARCH

Because large gatherings are not possible at this time, March for Life Chicago has evolved to include five lead-up events. Known as “Moving the Movement,” they started in Madison, Wisconsin, on Jan. 2, and Omaha, Nebraska, on Jan. 10, and will continue this weekend in Fort Wayne, Indiana (Jan. 16); Mundelein, Illinois (Jan. 17); and Indianapolis, Indiana (Jan. 22).

The main event will held on Saturday, Jan. 23, in Chicago, and will take the form of a car procession with rally speakers addressing people as they go. It will start with check-in at noon at St. John Cantius Church on the city’s North Side and then make its way past key city, state and federal buildings in downtown Chicago at 1 p.m.

The march is also sponsoring a diaper drive to benefit pregnancy resource centers and they will be delivered when the car procession reaches Chicago’s Southside Pregnancy Center at 2:30 p.m.

The Diocese of Peoria’s Office of Evangelization and Faith Formation, which has organized diocesan pilgrimages to Chicago in the past, is not planning one this year. Sister Ana Pia Cordua, SCTJM, director, asked that those who attend from the Diocese of Peoria place a sign with the word PEORIA in their car window to make their presence known.

For more information on the event and how to sign up, go to marchforlifechicago.org.

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