Somber procession marks 40 years of Roe v. Wade
By DAWNE LEIKER
Forty years after the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that granted women abortion rights, more than 100 locals reflected on the decision's impact during a memorial service and procession Saturday.
Church bells tolled as silent marchers spilled out of the doors of St. Joseph Catholic Church, bearing "Abortion Kills Children" signs. Little ones in strollers and toddling beside their mothers seemed to grasp the solemn air. Voices hushed, they followed along the path from the church to the Ellis County Courthouse then to Planned Parenthood.
For Liebenthal resident and "Prayer Warrior" Judy Hoffman, the opportunity to attend her first such march was significant.
"This year, by hook or by crook, I was going to be here," she said as the marchers began to disperse near St. Joseph following the procession. "It's time for us to stand up for the values we believe. Stand up for what we believe our country needs to do to make it a better country again."
Hoffman and other Liebenthal residents have, for three years, prayed for the U.S. government and its decisions each month. Her brother, Bob Pfeifer of Liebenthal, accompanied her Saturday.
She said she is passionate about her pro-life stance.
"If you don't respect life, what do you respect?" she asked. "You've lost a lot of values right there. Things like this mean a lot to our faith ... to our beliefs."
The morning began with a respect life service led by Father Felix Petrovsky, who told those gathered they are part of a larger gathering of like-minded people across the nation who will march this week in Washington.
Thomas More Prep-Marian High School students will be among those participating in the March for Life in Washington this week. A group of 39 students and 10 sponsors will leave Hays for the nation's capital Wednesday.
"Regrettably, in the current culture, even in parts of the world which are considered to be civilized, life is too often not protected as a precious gift, but is treated as something expendable," Petrovsky said during his homily. "If it is inconvenient, it can be destroyed."
Later, on the courthouse steps, Jerry Michaud of St. Joseph led participants in a prayer of thankfulness for life.
"We are ready to do our part in ending abortion," Michaud prayed. "Give us the strength to defend human life against every influence or action that threatens or weakens it, as well as the strength to make every life more human in all its aspects. Never let us stop defending life until all our brothers and sisters are protected."