A dozen Catholic bishops join Greek Orthodox priest and Baptist minister — among others — at this year’s Walk for Life West Coast

By Gibbons J. Cooney
Special to California Catholic Daily

San Francisco’s 8th Annual Walk for Life West Coast on Jan. 21 should be the largest yet. It has certainly attracted the largest number of Catholic bishops ever.

Preceding the rally and Walk, 12 Catholic bishops will concelebrate the 9:30 a.m. Mass at San Francisco’s Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. Joining Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco on the altar will be Bishops William Justice, Robert McElroy, and Ignatius Wang of San Francisco; Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa, Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Rutilio del Riego of San Bernardino, Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Thomas Daly of San Jose, Daniel Walsh (emeritus) of Santa Rosa, and Tod Brown of Orange. 

Speakers for the 2012 Walk include Dr. Lori Hoye of the Issues4Life Foundation (wife of pro-life hero Pastor Walter Hoye); pro-life OB-GYN Dr. Vansen Wong; abortion survivor Jacqui Stalnaker; and one of America’s great orators, the Rev. Clenard Childress.

Underscoring the ecumenical nature of the Walk for Life, this year’s invocation will be given by Fr. Aris P. Metrakos, proto-presbyter of San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. “I was greatly humbled and honored to receive this invitation,” he said. “I have the greatest admiration and respect for all those who have been on the front lines of this life-or-death struggle to turn our culture away from its indiscriminate march toward moral oblivion. I regard this prayer as not some sort of a perfunctory beginning to a civic gathering, but a recognition that this unimaginable evil can only be overcome by the grace of God.”

Fr. Metrakos argues that the destruction caused by the legalization of abortion has now penetrated every part of society: “Abortion-on-demand has shredded the moral fabric of our society by encouraging promiscuity, obliterating the notion of personal responsibility and accountability, and making selfishness a legal right. It tears asunder literally the bodies of the unborn and metaphorically the hearts and souls of the women who submit themselves to this heinous barbarism. It makes a mockery of men’s honor and the medical profession’s nobility, while exposing the duplicity and opportunism of the majority of the political class.”

“The Walk for Life is the greatest pro-life event there is,” said Mrs. Hoye. “I am blessed to be a part of it and especially blessed to be a speaker. What I want to convey is that no matter how bad you think it is, no matter how much you are hurting, God will find a way.”

“I believe that abortion has erased the value of human life,” said Dr. Wong. “We have created language, philosophy and institutions that legitimize ending the lives of unborn babies without reflection on what we are doing… Where will the killing stop? We have an assault on babies with birth defects, whose lives are not valued and ended indiscriminately. Will this affect people who have been born who have any type of condition considered a disability? Will the next group targeted be those at the other end of the spectrum of life, those with any form of dementia? When we do not value life in the womb, it is logical to anticipate that we, as a society will not value life outside of the womb.”

Ms. Stalnaker of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and the victim of a coerced abortion, said: “I want to deliver the message of hope and healing to those who grieve the loss of parenthood, to be a voice for the voiceless. So many believe the pro-life movement is only about saving babies… women and men of lost parenthood often walk around for 20 years wounded from the trauma of abortion — they need to know their is hope, forgiveness and healing!”

“Abortion has victimized women and decimated the African American community,” said Rev. Childress, a Baptist minister and regular at the Walk for Life West Coast. “All other travesties pale in comparison. It has corrupted the conscience of the country and diminished the value of life in this present generation.

The Walk for Life West Coast is truly the most invigorating event for me… from the beginning Eva (Muntean) and Dolores (Meehan) depicted an earnest desire to testify in the public square on the behalf of those whose voices are silenced before birth. Their desire has connected with other like-hearted individuals who see the need to join them, and their message is spreading.”

For more information on this year’s Walk for Life West Coast, Click Here.



Posted Friday, January 13, 2012 3:52 AM By Abeca Christian
I appreciate and love it when we join together with others to fight the good fight. We can set aside our differences and join on common ground for the common good. Like we did with Prop 8, the Mormon church was a good neighbor with us, and we stood up for marriage. This is noble and praiseworthy in Christ! This article lifted up my spirits.

Posted Friday, January 13, 2012 9:10 AM By MacDonald
The cathedral church in San Francisco is once again the focal point of this important cause — especially beautiful this year in seeing the inclusion of non-Catholics. Some pro-abortion people attack the Catholic Church for being “anti-choice” and “anti-woman,” but we are PRO-CHOICE in choosing to speak up for and defend human LIFE, including the young life in the womb. This is a good and holy choice, just like the decision to involve people who are not members of the Roman Catholic Church. It’s not merely a Catholic concern, protecting life is a human concern. God bless the walkers, and those with them in spirit!

Posted Friday, January 13, 2012 9:14 AM By MacDonald
Archbishop Niederauer is an elderly man, who has difficulty walking or standing for long periods, and who went through a tough year with emergency heart surgery. In spite of his age and humility, people verbally attack him during the “Walk For Life” each year in a very poisonous way. They also attack the priests who take part in the walk, shouting out nonsense such as: “that man is a child molester!” I pray that the lay people, religious, and clergy taking part in this year’s walk will not be deterred by such slanderous comments and venom.

Posted Friday, January 13, 2012 10:14 AM By John M
When the Body of Christ The Church in unity confronts evil evil must flee! Each year the opposition has been weaker and weaker. The other side is not fighting us they are trying to do battle Almighty God and all of His angels. What a joy and privilege to be part of this! God will receive the glory for this public demonstration of power and praise…

Posted Friday, January 13, 2012 12:41 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Being shouted at is no uncommon thing for those on the Front Lines in this war, so the priests and bishops should not be effected by it. We are happy that so many bishops are taking part, but we would be even happier if they started enforcing Canon 915. God knows they have plenty of occasions to do so! God bless, yours in Their Hearts,

Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012 7:25 AM By Amy
A huge debt of gratitude goes to Eva Muntean and Dolores Meehan for starting the Walk for Life and for keeping it moving forward. It is an honor to walk with them and all of the Pro Lifers who know that the unborn are the poorest of the poor in our world and that we have a duty to speak for them. A thank you also to Ignatius Press and EWTN. God Bless them all for what they do to bring this wonderful event to us here in the Bay Area.

Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012 1:05 PM By OneoftheSheep
Very much looking forward to this annual event and all the wonderful ProLife folks that will be attending with me. Also praying for the conversion of hearts for the many who are embittered and championing the “pro choice” cause. May they be healed, the scales lifted from their eyes, their hearts become fountains of compassion for the unborn and their parents.