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Nearly 460 from area to attend March for Life in Washington

Each January, Catholics from around the archdiocese join thousands of others to voice their support for life and opposition to abortion at two major events.

This year, about 460 people from the Omaha archdiocese will make the annual excursion to Washington, D.C., as part of the March for Life pilgrimage Jan. 15-20.

The group, which includes high school students, clergy, religious and others, will join hundreds of thousands of people in Washington Jan. 18 to witness against abortion during the 46th annual event.

The pilgrimage is an opportunity for people to exercise their free speech rights as Americans by supporting the pro-life cause, said Whitney Bradley, coordinator of the Respect Life Apostolate of the archdiocese’s Center for Family Life Formation.

The archdiocesan group will travel in five buses leaving from Omaha, Norfolk and West Point. About 260 students, five priests, one sister and one seminarian will comprise that group, she said.

Other groups that arranged their own pilgrimages include about 50 pilgrims from St. Bonaventure Parish in Columbus, about 56 from St. Peter Parish in Omaha, and more than 100 from V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha. 

Last year about 400 people from the archdiocese made the pilgrimage.

While in Washington, many pilgrims will attend Masses together at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Cathedral of St. Matthew, as well as the Life is Very Good youth rally Jan. 17, Bradley said.

The archdiocesan group also will visit Washington sites and pray in front of a Planned Parenthood facility. They will visit the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg, Pa., during their return trip.

One week later, the annual Nebraska Walk for Life, set for Jan. 26, will draw about 5,000 pro-life proponents to Lincoln.

“This is an opportunity to give public witness to our faith and our values,” said Marion Miner, associate director for pro-life and family with the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC). 

“We are speaking in a very public way on the most pressing issue of our time, protection of life,” he said. “It’s so important to give witness, because others who don’t agree with us are doing it, and we can’t afford to abandon the playing field.”

Before the Nebraska walk, people are invited to attend a 9 a.m. Mass – organized by the NCC – at St. Mary Church across from the state capitol at 14th and K streets. Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt of Grand Island will celebrate the Mass.

The walk, sponsored by Nebraska Right to Life, begins with a 10 a.m. rally on the steps of the state capitol, followed by a seven-block walk to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln student union at 14th and R streets for a keynote address. 

This year’s speaker is Catherine Adair, a former Planned Parenthood employee, who herself had an abortion at age 19. 

Now married and a mother of five, she will share her story about turning away from the abortion industry, dedicating herself to the pro-life cause and spreading the truth about abortion.

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