A group of fifty people participated in a special 10:00 a.m. Mass held at Saint Brendan Church before the Annual Walk for Life on January 25, 2020. According to staff member, Sister Angela Furia, it was the largest gathering in recent memory and even included members of Holy Name and Saint Stephen parishes.
The Mass was followed by a reception complete with “food for the journey,” as well as a heartwarming reunion among many who see each other only for this yearly event. The group even sang a joyful rendition of “Happy Birthday” to MaryAnne Schwab, venerable champion of the Saint Brendan Pro-Life ministry for many decades.
Following the reception, more than twenty parishioners walked together to the Forest Hills Station and rode the Muni to the Civic Center. “Tens of thousands” of people, the largest group in the sixteen-year history of the Walk for Life gathered in front of City Hall. Just the day before, on Friday, President Trump became the first president to personally address the March for Life in Washington, D.C. His support for Pro-Life issues was cause for hope and joy. Amidst all this energy, Father Celestine received a text message that his friends from Nigeria were watching the event live through EWTN!
On a personal note, the highlight of the rally was the testimony of Kathleen Folan. Over twenty-five years ago, Kathleen was raped in her junior year of college. Ashamed, she kept her secret, only to realize a month later that she was pregnant. She never considered an abortion. “I knew that God had entrusted
this child to me, and I already loved him.” Kathleen chose adoption over abortion. It was a difficult process, but with prayer and grace, she found a Catholic family in Maryland who were well-suited for her child. It was more than coincidence, that both Kathleen and the adoptive parents independently chose Nathan, meaning “a gift from God,” as the name of her child. Kathleen chose love instead of violence to heal the violence that had been committed against her. Today, Nathan is twenty-five years old and is a blessing to all.
There is more good news. The Archdiocese of San Francisco recently announced its plan to open a Women’s pregnancy center, called “Bella,” near the Cathedral. This center represents a shift of the Pro-Life movement from the abortion issue to tangible services for women experiencing a crisis pregnancy, abusive relationships, and fear of homelessness.
After the rally, it was our turn to actively participate in the Walk and, as the psalm at Mass this morning urged us, “tell the good news” to all the world that life is precious. Market Street was crowded with families, students, religious, priests and seminarians, some praying the Rosary in English or Spanish, others singing Marian songs. The children were joyful, especially the four youngsters from our own parish. The Church came to the streets of San Francisco last Saturday afternoon, and each step from City Hall to the Ferry building was an expression of faith, hope and love and a proclamation that God’s gift of life is indeed precious.
—Dr. Lou Sheerer, Parishioner
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