March for Life returns to Madison Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Feb. 01, 2018 -- 12:00 AM
baby march for life
A baby sits near pro-life signs at St. Patrick Church prior to the March for Life held in Madison on January 22. More than 500 people took part in the event on the 45th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. To view or purchase photos, go to www.madison (Catholic Herald photos/Kevin Wondrash)


MADISON -- Rain or shine, life is precious and a gift from God.

More than 500 people were probably reflecting on that as they marched from St. Patrick Church in Madison to the State Capitol on January 22 -- the 45th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion at all stages of pregnancy in all 50 states.

More than 60 million lives have been lost to abortion since the 1973 decision, which has seen a steady flow of activity from pro-life groups since then.

Legislation at the state and federal level has been passed in the years since to lessen the number of legal abortions.

A day of prayer

The event, the first of its kind in about 20 years in Madison, and sponsored by the Diocese of Madison, started with a Rosary for Life and Mass at St. Patrick Church of the Cathedral Parish.

Buses from schools, including St. Ambrose Academy in Madison and All Saints School in Berlin, arrived in front of the church, as well as those from area parishes and diocesan offices in the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Center in Madison.

“It’s important [to march for life] because it’s exactly what God calls us to do,” said Deacon Jim Hoegemeier, associate director of the diocesan Apostolate for Persons with Disabilities.

“What we’re called to do is be that model that other people can follow; what more important is there than life? That’s why Christ came to give us life . . . we’re marching to basically fulfill what God calls each one of us to do and who to be.”

Several priests from around the diocese also came to pray the Rosary and concelebrate the Mass.

Msgr. Kevin Holmes, rector of the Cathedral Parish, of which St. Patrick is a part, welcomed everyone “who come today to give thanks to the Lord for the gift of life and to beg his grace for the legal protection of life in our country.”

Later in his homily, he reflected on the pro-life movement in the past four decades plus as a “peaceful and serene witness to the dignity and sanctity of human life”.

He also called the movement, “the least self-interested social movement in the history of our country. Every single person involved in this movement has already been born. We are not trying to look out for ourselves.”

“One abortion is one too many,” he added.

He praised the fact the number of abortions is going down in Wisconsin and around the nation, along with more crisis pregnancy centers open than abortion clinics.

Preparing to march

Following the conclusion of the Mass, Deacon Dick Martin, from St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison, that helped sponsor the event, went over some of the logistics of the march.

Yellow-vested marshals would guide the marchers to their destination around the State Capitol and up the steps to the State St. entrance.

He cautioned everyone not to respond to any counter-protestors that may be present.

“We represent Jesus Christ,” Deacon Martin said. “Please respond with love and kindness.”

No noticeable counter-protest was seen at the march.

Another aspect of the march called for participants to visit their representatives.

Kim Wadas, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of Wisconsin’s bishops, gave some advice how to approach and communicate with lawmakers or their staffers.

She also made them aware of current legislation in the State Assembly and State Senate, the Heal Without Harm initiative, banning the sale and use of body parts from aborted babies, which she called a “top priority piece of legislation.”

Wadas encouraged everyone not to threaten the lawmakers or staffers, but to be persuasive and to thank them.

“Thank you all for your participation. It’s vital and extremely important,” Wadas said.

Marching to the Capitol

As people exited St. Patrick, umbrellas were hurriedly opened, hoods were quickly raised over people’s heads, signs were held, and a line formed ready to head to the Capitol.

As the January rain continued to come down, the peaceful march went on to the sight of all those outside during the noon hour in downtown Madison. The line of marchers took up more than one side of the block around the Capitol.

As everyone gathered at the top of the steps, at the State St. entrance, Monsignor Holmes led a prayer of thanksgiving.

“Almighty God, we come before you, first, as we always must, in gratitude and thanksgiving for your countless blessings. We give you thanks for the gift of life, which you have made the basis of every other gift that you give us.”

He added, “We give you thanks for whatever opposition, scorn, or hatred that we encounter in giving witness to the sanctity of life in accord with the words of your son in the Beatitudes that we are blessed because our reward will be in heaven.

“Above all, we give you thanks that no human life is forgotten by you; that you care for every person created in your image; that even when the time that a person spends in the world is terribly brief, you have prepared a home for each of them that lasts forever.”

The prayer was followed by 60 seconds of silence for those who have lost their lives to abortion in the past 45 years.

The participants went inside the Capitol and took one of dozens of roses and the name of a state lawmaker to whom to give it.

Being a Monday, and with less than favorable weather, many state lawmakers were not in their offices, but some people got to talk to staffers who were on hand to receive the rose or messages.

The march in Madison coincided with similar ones in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and around the country, all marking the Roe v. Wade anniversary.

Please support our advertisers: