Peninsula parishioners join Walk for Life West Coast

Group members speak out, expand views

Parishioners with Fr. Pavone
Members of the Queen of Angels/St. Joseph group gather around pro-life activist Father Frank Pavone at the Walk for Life West Coast. Photo: Patty Haas

PORT ANGELES - Parishioners from Queen of Angels Parish in Port Angeles and St. Joseph Parish in Sequim joined tens of thousands of pro-life supporters at the 10th annual Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco.

The 17 parishioners raised money to help pay for their Jan. 23-26 trip to the largest pro-life gathering on the West Coast. Queen of Angels parishioners attended the walk four years ago and were excited to be joined by St. Joseph this year, said Patty Haas, chair of the Queen of Angels Respect Life Committee, who organized the trip.

For Haas, one of the highlights was seeing how the experience affected the four teenage girls and the 27-year-old woman who were part of the group. “It was a lot to take in, but it enlightened them to really what’s involved when someone gets an abortion,” Haas said.

Also among the group was Queen of Angels parishioner Kathy Gonzales, who spoke at a Silent No More gathering during the walk. Silent No More is a Christian support and advocacy group for those who have experienced or been involved in an abortion.

Kathy Gonzales speaking
Kathy Gonzales of Queen of Angels Parish speaks at a Silent No More gathering while in San Francisco for the 2014 Walk for Life West Coast. Photo: Patty Haas

“It’s not only the death of a child, but it also does such great harm to women, to fathers, to families, to the greater society,” said Gonzales, who hid her abortion from her husband, doctor and friends for 25 years. “It’s such a shameful experience and a hurtful one that you just kind of keep it secret,” she said. But she has seen a growing openness to speak about the harm caused by abortion and has noticed a softening attitude toward those who regret their abortions.

Gonzales felt she could finally share her story after a renewal in her faith and healing through prayer and the sacraments, particularly confession. Now she speaks at events like the Walk for Life West Coast, where she said the interaction with others is powerful.

“The biggest message that people need to know is that they are loved, that they are forgiven, that Jesus Christ is merciful and you can be forgiven for any sin,” Gonzales said.

January 31, 2014

Anna Weaver

Anna Weaver was the multimedia, online and social media editor, and writer for Northwest Catholic from 2013-2018.