PORT ANGELES – Before dawn on January 21, members of Queen of Angels Parish will board an Olympia-bound bus, joining thousands of pro-lifers at the state capital to pray for the end of abortion.
“There are people who believe life begins from conception and it needs to be protected,” said Patty Haas, a member of the Respect Life committee at the Port Angeles parish. The annual Mass for Life and March for Life are opportunities to pray with others who share that belief, she said.
After leaving Port Angeles at 6 a.m., the bus will pick up riders in Sequim, Port Townsend and Brinnon, headed for Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Lacey, Haas said.
Because the annual Mass for Life draws so many people, it is being held at two churches — Sacred Heart for participants traveling from the north, and St. Michael in Olympia for those coming from the south, according to Jennifer Day of the archdiocese’s liturgy office. Archbishop Paul D. Etienne will celebrate Mass at Sacred Heart Parish starting at 9:30 a.m.; Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo will celebrate a 10 a.m. Mass at St. Michael’s.
After Mass, participants will travel to the Capitol for the March for Life. Now in its 42nd year, the march will begin at noon no matter what the weather is like, according to Noreen McEntee Hobson, president of Washington State March for Life and a member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Tacoma.
Participants will gather at the Winged Victory Monument on the Capitol campus, then make the short march to the steps of the Capitol. The march, which begins and ends with a prayer, lasts about 45 minutes.
“We want to bring a message of hope,” McEntee Hobson said. “People find a lot of joy and hope in knowing they’re not alone” in their belief in the dignity of life.
The event is among marches happening across the country around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion in the U.S. The National March for Life will take place January 24 in Washington, D.C.
McEntee Hobson said there is a lot of enthusiasm in the pro-life movement, due to students organizing pro-life groups in schools.
“They’re extremely optimistic and that’s infectious,” she said. “They really understand the secular argument for being pro-life.”
After the march, participants are encouraged to meet with their local legislators to lobby for pro-life issues. Catholics will have another chance to lobby state legislators on pro-life, social justice and other issues of importance to Catholics during Catholic Advocacy Day at the Capitol on February 20.