Monday, January 17, 2011
FIL-AMS TO JOIN "MARCH FOR LIFE" IN NATION'S CAPITAL
The Fil-Am community, predominantly Catholic, is again lending its voice in the anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia March for Life rallies in Washington DC on Jan. 24.
Hundreds of Fil-Ams from as far away as California, Florida and Illinois are expected to join what organizers believe will be the biggest March for Life event yet.
Ado Paglinawan, northeast regional coordinator for the Couples for Christ Foundation for Family & Life, revealed they are helping arrange bus transportation for Fil-Ams from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia Beach, VA joining the march.
“The March for Life swelled last year as many life issues have become part of the social environment of Catholics,” he said.
He said about 250,000 joined the March for Life last year, double that in 2009, and they expect to top that number again next week with half a million participants.
The March for Life had been held in Washington DC since 1974 on the anniversary of Roe vs Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that paved the way for legalized abortion.
According to a 2008 Guttmacher Institute report, about 1.2 million abortions were performed in the US in 2005, the lowest level since 1976.
Paglinawan admitted the current pro-life debate has been flavored by politics because of President Obama’s liberal policies.
Next week's pro-life focus is expected to again test the call for greater civility in political discourse after the House vote on the President's health care law because of the highly emotional debate on legalized abortion.
“A day after he was sworn into office, President Obama signed an executive order that reversed the Bush-era doctrine that no federal funds be used to finance abortions abroad,” he averred.
He opined the implications of President Obama’s order has weighed as far away as the Philippine’s controversial Reproductive Health bill debate, which Paglinawan said, could get substantial US funding if approved.
“There’s a socio-political flavor because the executive order has worked up Catholics to stand up for life and stop remaining in the peripheries,” he averred.
Tea party leader Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who's one of the loudest voices against abortion on Capitol Hill, will deliver the keynote address at the 2011 Rose Dinner that usually caps the yearly event.
In addition, Pope Benedict XVI created last year a pontifical office for the re-evangelization of “areas previously Christian that may have entered a post-Christian era” that include Europe and North America.
Paglinawan said Catholics see greater vigor in the pro-life movement as part of this increased papal emphasis on re-evangelization of the US.
The March for Life is organized by the non-sectarian March for Life Education and Defense Fund, but is backed by the American Catholic Bishops Conference.
Paglinawan said Fil-Ams will be joining two youth rallies starting at 7:00 AM at the Verizon Center and the DC Armory that together can seat up to 35,000 people.
Washington DC’s recently-ordained Donald Cardinal Wuerl will officiate mass at the Verizon Center.
Paglinawan revealed that he will be joining the adult event at the St. Matthews Cathedral in downtown DC where Dr. Tony Bruchalski, who runs the Teteyac pre-natal clinic in Maryland.
Catholic churches in DC, Virginia and Maryland are also holding morning masses and offer buses to ferry parishioners to the March for Life.
The march itself begins at noon and will pass by Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court.