Mass, March, bring Catholics together for life

  • Written by Louis McGill
  • Published in Local
A view of the Washington State March for Life in Olympia on Jan. 20. Photo: Robin Gunderson A view of the Washington State March for Life in Olympia on Jan. 20. Photo: Robin Gunderson

LACEY - “We are the people of life,” Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo told hundreds of western Washington Catholics who gathered Jan. 20 for the Seattle Archdiocese’s Mass for Life.

He urged Catholics to work to end euthanasia, domestic violence, abortion and the factors leading to them. “To proclaim Jesus is to proclaim life, the eternal life given to us,” Bishop Elizondo said in his homily at the Mass, which was held at St. Martin’s University in Lacey.

Afterward, Andrew Boyd, an eighth grader attending with 50 classmates from St. Michael School in Olympia, said he liked that the bishop’s message wasn’t just about abortion, but encompassed other pro-life issues.

Father Nick Wichert, pastor of Visitation Parish in Tacoma, attended the Mass with 25 parishioners and students from the parish’s STEM Academy. He said Bishop Elizondo delivered a strong message for Catholics standing up for the principles of their faith.

After the Mass, many Catholics from schools and parishes all over the archdiocese continued on to Olympia to do just that. They joined the Washington State March for Life rally on the steps of the state Capitol.

The crowd was so large that marchers not only packed the Capitol steps, but also gathered on the steps of the Temple of Justice across the street. The Olympian estimated that 3,000 attended.

In its 37th year, the March is the largest annual gathering at the capitol, said Noreen McEntee-Hobson, president of the Washington State March for Life. The march is always held near the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade legalizing abortion.

Nearly 30 elected officials showed up to support the March, although not all spoke during the rally. Those who did talked about pending legislation, such as a bill requiring parental consent for abortions, and a budget amendment to defund Planned Parenthood.

The speakers inspired the crowd with personal stories. State Rep. Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake) said she does this work for her granddaughter, who died 30 days after birth. The baby was brought to term despite doctors’ warnings that she wouldn’t survive, Warnick said.

State Sen. Mark Miloscia (R-Federal Way), a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, talked about his transformation from opposition to support of the pro-life cause.

Caroline Blanscet, a marcher from Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Bremerton, said this year’s crowd seemed larger than before. “It increases every year,” Blanscet said. “I think it’s fabulous.”