By Christine M. Williams, Anchor Correspondent
BOSTON, Mass. — Rain, sometimes called the water of life, soaked the feet of those recently marching for the unborn in Boston. Hundreds turned out for the March for Life, organized by Massachusetts Citizens for Life, despite the rain and forecast of possible thunderstorms. The rain may have lessened the crowd but could not dampen its spirit.
“It’s raining; that’s horrible, but it kinda shows how important it is to be here,” said Caterina Franks, a young Pro-Life advocate and daughter of MCFL’s chairman of the board, J. David Franks.
She said that she understood the importance of defending the unborn when she first learned about abortion.
“We have to defend the defenseless,” she said. “They can’t defend themselves. They can’t save themselves from being killed.”
Father Matt Williams, director of the Archdiocese of Boston’s Faith Formation of Youth and Young Adults Office, led the opening prayer and offered up the inconvenience of marching in the rain to God for the conversion of hearts and lives spared from abortion.
“For every raindrop that we receive today, may a heart be converted for the Gospel of Life,” he prayed. “We pray that God’s mercy would be poured forth. God’s mercy is like an ocean.”
Later, Father Williams gave the crowd their “marching orders” — a set of prayers, chants and songs to be recited during the march. This and other changes were implemented this year to give the event a greater emphasis to Pro-Life witness, much like the March for Life in Washington D.C. In past years, the Boston march was termed the Walk to Aid Mothers and Children. An important aspect of the event continues to be raising money for crisis pregnancy centers and other Pro-Life organizations.
Another change this year was in the route taken by marchers. The new route took them directly past the Statehouse and gave them the opportunity to pause and pray for political leaders.
When Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM. Cap., of Boston spoke, he urged people to pray for their legislators and to pray for women considering abortion.
“We know that we will save babies only by saving the mothers by making them feel loved and cared for rather than judged and dismissed. While we must never abandon the struggle to change the unjust laws imposed on us by an activist court, we must never cease to try to change people’s hearts. That will only happen by caring about the very ones we disagree with,” he said, adding that people of faith should be the “compassionate face of God.”
Cori Connor-Morse, a Pro-Life speaker and post-abortive woman, said that the compassion of Pro-Lifers helped her come to terms with the death of her unborn child. She thanked them for marching, donating and contacting their legislators on behalf of Pro-Life causes.
“You have prayed for me when I despaired,” she said. “I cannot thank you enough.”
Several speakers who addressed the crowd at the pre-march rally, held at the Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common, referenced the recent United States Supreme Court ruling that struck down state laws defining Marriage as the union of one man and one woman. They compared the case to Roe v. Wade, another controversial 5-4 decision that many predicted would settle the issue it addressed.
State Rep. Jim Lyons of Andover said, “It is no coincidence today that we are holding this event with cloudy skies because, as everybody knows, this was a difficult week for those in the pro-family, Pro-Life movement.”
He added that the Supreme Court was wrong about abortion in Roe v. Wade and is wrong about same-sex marriage now.
He spoke directly to the young people in the crowd, urging them to fight for Christian values and never, ever give up. “We are on the side of truth. We are on the side of God, and we need you to carry that fight.”
Danielle Olsen, member of the MCFL march committee, said that it is obvious that the country is growing more hostile toward Christian values.
She added, “The more hostile this environment gets, the more courageous we have the opportunity to be because Jesus told us that the light would not be overcome by the darkness, and we are to be the light in this state so that we can be light for this country so that we can be light for the world.”