Catholics gear up for marches at home, in Washington

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Written by LAURIE STEVENS BERTKE, Chronicle Writer   
Sunday, 12 January 2014 04:00
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Catholics in the Diocese of Toledo are planning trips to Washington, D.C., and organizing local observances to mark the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Pro-life supporters march in Norwalk in January 2013. Catholics are traveling to the March for Life in Washington and organizing a number of local observances this month to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. (Chronicle file photo)
Pro-life supporters march in Norwalk in January 2013. Catholics are traveling to the March for Life in Washington and organizing a number of local observances this month to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. (Chronicle file photo)

Several groups have organized bus trips to the national rally and March for Life to the Supreme Court, which is Jan. 22. Hundreds of thousands of pro-life supporters gather in Washington annually for the peaceful demonstration.

More than 50 youth and adult leaders from eight different parishes are traveling to the march on a bus sponsored by the Diocese of Toledo’s Office of Youth Ministry. They are also to attend a rally sponsored by the Diocese of Arlington at George Mason University’s Patriot Center.

“It’s important for youth to understand that social justice is a larger issue than just within the walls of their own parish, and that abortion is a national problem,” says Richard Maume, youth ministry coordinator.

Attending the national march enables the youth to put their Catholic faith into action by standing up for something they believe in on a large scale with hundreds of thousands of others, he adds.

Peter Range, a campus minister for Bowling Green St. Thomas More, says he sees young people who attend the March for Life come back “on fire with creating a culture of life.”

Working with the diocesan Office of Young Adult & Campus Ministry, Mr. Range is helping to organize the first collegiate and young adult bus to the March for Life in Washington. About 70 people had already committed to the trip by mid-December, and Mr. Range said he would continue to sign people up until spots on two charter buses are full. The group is to travel overnight Jan. 21 and arrive in Washington in time to attend Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception followed by the march itself. They are to meet with U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) before returning home that evening.

“This is a crazy college trip,” Mr. Range laughs. The cost is $50 per student. Contact or 440-821- 1533 for more information.

Central Catholic

Groups are also headed to Washington from a number of other communities including Bucyrus, Paulding and Port Clinton.

This is the fifth year that Jeannie Jeckering has helped organize the bus sponsored by the Respect Life Ministry of Port Clinton Immaculate Conception and Marblehead St. Joseph, and she says she has seen more people returning and registering earlier each year.

“It’s really an individual spiritual journey,” she says of the march. “You see so many like-minded people of all ages.”

She is always particularly amazed to see the number of youth represented there. “It revitalizes for me the fight against
abortion,” Mrs. Jeckering says.

For those staying closer to home, local marches and prayer services are being planned in communities around the diocese. They include:

A candlelight pro-life walk is Jan. 19 beginning at 6 p.m. Marchers are to walk from Bascom SS. Patrick & Andrew, 6230 W. Tiffin St., to Bascom United Methodist Church, 5660 W. Tiffin St. Participants may park at Bascom United Methodist and transportation to SS. Patrick & Andrew is to be provided beginning at 5:30 p.m. A program is to begin at Bascom United Methodist at 6:30 p.m. with a presentation by Fonda Luersman, the sidewalk counseling coordinator for Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo. For more information, call Denice Daniel at 419-937-7655.

Mother Teresa Respect for Life sponsors the annual march for life in Defiance Jan. 22 beginning at noon, the same time as the national March for Life in Washington. The march begins at the Defiance County Courthouse and proceeds to the Monument of the Unborn at St. John Church, stopping for various pro-life speakers along the way.

For those who want to spend time in prayer for life, exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament is to be held throughout the day at St. John with benediction at 5 p.m. Father Randy Giesge is also to celebrate a Mass for life in the chapel of Holy Cross Catholic School in Defiance at 9:30 a.m.

Stations of the Cross for Victims of Abortion begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at Findlay St. Michael the Archangel’s downtown church, 617 W. Main Cross St.

Maumee St. Joseph hosts its ninth annual march for life Jan. 19. The event begins at 2 p.m. with a devotional followed by a 1-mile march to the parish cemetery for a brief ceremony at the memorial of the unborn.

Huron County Right to Life is sponsoring its annual march Jan. 19 with assembly beginning at 1:15 p.m. at Norwalk St. Paul Convocation Center. Joan Canning, Ohio regional coordinator for Silent No More, is to give a short presentation at 1:40 p.m. about the emotionally, physically and spiritually harmful effects that abortion has on women, men and families. A march to the courthouse begins at 2 p.m. with a short service to remember the victims of abortion.

The Putnam County march for life begins at 2 p.m. Jan. 19 on the steps of the courthouse on Main Street in Ottawa. The march proceeds to the American Legion for prayer and refreshments.

A memorial prayer vigil sponsored by the Respect Life and Project Rachel ministries of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Toledo is to take place Jan. 22 from 11 a.m. to noon on the sidewalk outside Capital Care abortion center, 1160 W. Sylvania Ave., Toledo. For more information, contact Fonda Luersman at or 972-916-0652.

Are you going to the March for Life in Washington or planning to attend other local pro-life events observing the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision? Share your photographs from the events on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the Catholic Chronicle by using the hashtag #marchforlifeTOL and view a gallery of images at

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