March on the Mountain

Dot DeAngelo (left) and Mary Lou Zimmerman, members of the Catholic Daughters Court-Joan of Arc, lead the seventh annual March on the Mountain at St. Francis University in Loretto on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2020.

LORETTO – It’s been 47 years since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, but the anti-abortion movement to see the decision reversed continues.

Each year on the anniversary of the landmark decision, abortion opponents from across the country gather in Washington, D.C., and march through the nation’s capital at the annual March for Life.

As a way to promote the anti-abortion message, St. Francis University held its seventh annual March on the Mountain on Wednesday for students and community members who are unable to attend the national rally on Friday.

“The purpose of our walk is to teach respect for human life. It’s not to shame or berate anybody who is going through a struggle. It’s about teaching them that life is worth the struggle,” said Patrick McCauley, a St. Francis University student coordinator of the march. 

A couple hundred people from area schools – Bishop Carroll, Bishop Guilfoyle and St. Michael – and the community, some holding anti-abortion signs, braved the cold temperatures to walk for an hour around the campus mall.

“The hope is this will influence younger generations to make sure that the respect for human life continues,” McCauley said. “I believe this march is making a difference. From my freshman year to my junior year, I’ve seen a growth in the march every year, so the support makes me believe we are making a difference.”

Bishop Carroll Catholic High School senior Mara Yahner was participating in the walk for a second year.

“It’s good to show support for those who can’t stand up for themselves,” she said. “We want to be voice for them, even if we can’t make it to Washington, D.C.”

Yaher said she wants people to know that she cares about being anti-abortion.

“It matters to us that change is made,” she said. “We’ve made progress, and I’m hoping things continue to get better. It’s definitely a possibility.”

Joseph Spinner said he and his wife couldn’t make the march in Washington, D.C., so they chose to participate in the university’s event.

“I want to let people know that life is valuable at any stage, whether during pregnancy or old age,” the Munster resident said. “We’ve had some experience with this. We’ve had four children, and with the last child, my wife had a problem, and the doctor wanted to do an abortion. I remember feeling very betrayed whenever he asked us that, because life is too precious just to throw it away.”

Spinner said the march shows that people do care and change is coming.

“People are willing to stand up for life,” he said. “Little by little we’re chipping away at this, and with prayer and those defending life it will change, but it will take time.”

Following the march, a special Mass was held at Immaculate Conception Chapel, followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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