Weather doesn’t stop those marching for life in Madison Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
march for life
Marchers come out in the snow in support of life at the March & Love for Life held in Madison on January 22, the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing abortion in all 50 states. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- In both years that a march for life has returned to Madison, providing a witness to an end to abortion and respect for life at all stages, weather has been part of the story, but certainly not the full story.

While some buses and other transportation couldn’t make it to the capital city, more than 400 people of all ages provided that witness. They didn’t let the snow and cold stop them from showing that love and life is more important than whatever earthly obstacles might appear in the way.

The March & Love for Life in Madison was held on January 22, the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in all 50 states. Since 1973, nearly 61 million lives of the unborn have been lost to abortion, and an incalculable amount of lives, of their mothers and others, affected.

Mass celebrated

Prior to the march to the State Capitol, Mass was celebrated at St. Patrick Church in downtown Madison.

Msgr. James Bartylla, diocesan administrator, celebrated the Mass. Fr. Bob Evenson and Fr. Tony Thirumalareddy from St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison and Fr. Jim Murphy, from SS. Anthony and Philip Parish in Highland and St. Thomas Parish in Montfort, served as concelebrants.

Deacons Jim Hoegemeier and Chris Schmelzer assisted with the Mass.

During his homily, Monsignor Bartylla thanked everyone for coming and for everyone who had a hand in planning the evening, including Deacon Dick Martin from St. Maria Goretti Parish.

He said there was a “virtue of perseverance” present among those gathered, especially with the oncoming snow.

He continued speaking about the cause to respect life and all its stages and illustrated some of the inconsistencies in arguments between the opposing sides.

One such inconsistency is a team of doctors working to save the life of an unborn child, after its mother is seriously hurt or killed in an automobile crash, versus an abortionist who ends the life of an unborn child. The inconsistency is in the value of the unborn, with a varying degree of a right to live in both of those examples.

He added the Catholic Church is an example of consistency in sanctity of life when it comes to issues such as abortion and euthanasia.

“We are made in the image and likeness of God,” Monsignor Bartylla said.

Near the end of the Mass, Deacon Martin relayed some guidelines for those who were going to march to the Capitol.

“I want to thank you for your commitment to support all human life from conception to natural death. Your attendance here, today, especially with the weather outside, is really inspiring,” Deacon Martin said.

He also advised people not to confront any opposing protestors that they may encounter on the way.

“Don’t let them disrupt the peace of our march for love and life,” he said.

Marching for life

Carrying signs, and diapers -- encouraged donations to show a support for life after a baby is born -- most of the Massgoers exited St. Patrick Church on Main St. and made their way to the Capitol.

The line grew in number as they walked around the Capitol with others joining in the march.

With the line swelling, came more signs, more voices, and more hearts.

The marchers did come nearly face-to-face with protestors. There was no confrontation, but merely a peaceful example and witness how precious and valuable life is.

“While we expected to hear voices of a few disagreeing with our message of love and that all life is sacred, we respect their right to free speech. However, they do not have a right to their own set of facts,” said Brent King, director of communications for the Diocese of Madison.

“Science and reason increasingly prove the miracle of life/personhood begins at conception, and we will defend those lives until natural death.”

The march then proceeded to the State Capitol steps for a short program.

The first speaker was State Senator André Jacque from De Pere, a longtime sponsor of pro-life legislation.

As the snow fell harder, Senator Jacque said the purpose of government is to “protect the safety and well-being of its people” and “we should extend that to those waiting to be born.”

He added that, “the law exists to protect the weak from the strong” and “the weakness of our society is that we have become acclimated and desensitized to perverse cultural norms, the legalized murder of children.”

Before leading everyone in a moment of silence for the unborn lost to abortion, he referred to abortion as “America’s holocaust” and encouraged everyone to “challenge those you know with the truth and that includes challenging your local officials, your elected officials.”

The next speaker was Jill Yanke, area mother of nine, including a son who is adopted.

She spoke of her support for legislation to give a tax credit to families who adopt.

“Money shouldn’t stand in the way of people raising children in loving homes,” Yanke said, noting the cost of tens of thousands of dollars to adopt a child, whether they are from the U.S. or another country.

She spoke of her adopted son, who has special needs and became part of their family at age four.

“We felt called to open our hearts and our home to him, “ she said.

“People often think that we saved him, but he saved us by the learning that we’ve done through the love that we’ve been able to grow for him,” added Yanke.

“We are so thankful for that opportunity that God has placed in our path.”

Following Yanke’s talk, everyone was urged to go inside the Capitol, donate their diapers at collection points for area resource centers, and talk to state lawmakers about pro-life legislation, notably, for the adoption tax credit.

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