Since its inception in 2005, the Walk for Life West Coast has grown to become the most powerful magnet for pro-life and Catholic events in the Bay Area and perhaps in all of California. The number of related events has grown every year, starting with special Masses in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form and opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration. These were followed by youth rallies, pro-life counseling workshops and conferences held by the Students for Life of America and the Life Legal Defense League.
Because the Walk attracts so many young people, both teens and college students, it provides an unmatched opportunity for evangelization. This year, three Catholic mothers from Napa will be hosting a meet-and-greet booth at the Walk to celebrate and honor consecrated and religious life and to promote vocations.
California Catholic Daily spoke with Marcia Ryan, Teresa Conemac, and Wendy Cravalho, the organizers of the Celebration Committee.
First, who are you, and where are you from? We are three mothers from Napa who were inspired by the Holy Father’s call to honor consecrated life because we personally have children in religious life. Realizing our children’s sacrifice gave us the desire to create a tangible opportunity for everyone to show their appreciation to the religious. This would also promote vocations.
How did this project come about? We started requesting a venue with our local parishes, some kind of Saturday event with food, prayer and vocation talks. As weeks and months went on, we kept encountering road blocks. We finally were approved to have the event at St. Eugene’s Cathedral in Santa Rosa. We were given the only date that would work before the official end of the Year of Consecrated Life. We were at our “what next” meeting when we realized it was the same day as the Walk for Life. We did not want to compete or take away from that important event. That’s when we were inspired to ask Eva (Muntean, the Walk’s co chair) if it was even possible to have a pop up tent to express thanks and promote vocations with literature from the various religious orders at the Walk for Life.
And how do you plan to proceed? We will be inviting parish families (through bulletin announcements) to stop by the tent to express gratitude to priests, seminarians and consecrated. We’ll also be inviting religious (by e-mail and letters) to bring vocation information to distribute and share with families/youth. Religious will be available to talk one on one with Walk participants who have a vocation interest (taking place the two hours before the Walk for Life rally begins 10:30-12:30). Tables will display vocation information when religious have to leave the area.
You noted that you realized that your projected date for the event was the same day as the Walk. What’s your background with the Walk? “We have been participating since the very first Walk and we think it is a great witness to the reality and sacredness of life in the womb.”
What do you hope to achieve? First and foremost that priests and religious will feel love and appreciation. Also since half of the 55,000 participants at last year’s Walk were teens and young adults, we hope to encourage and help the religious promote vocations. We hope that our presence will increase the participation of religious and families at the Walk, provide an opportunity for religious and families to interact, and present a venue for young people to receive information from religious.
Walk co-chair Eva Muntean told CalCatholic, “We are delighted to welcome Marcia, Teresa, and Wendy to the Walk. In the largest sense we envision the Walk’s mission as the building up of the Culture of Life in every way possible. We love their outreach and we think it is a great idea!”
For details about the January 23 Walk for Life West Coast, visit www.walkforlifewc.com