January 12, 2018

Johnson will speak at inaugural Indiana March for Life on Jan. 22

Participants pray the rosary as they walk along North Meridian Street in Indianapolis during the Jan. 22, 2017, solemn observance of the legalization of abortion that occurred on Jan. 22, 1973. This year’s inaugural Indiana March for Life, hosted by the archdiocese, the Diocese of Lafayette and Right to Life of Indianapolis, will be open to all and will process around the Statehouse in Indianapolis. (File photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Participants pray the rosary as they walk along North Meridian Street in Indianapolis during the Jan. 22, 2017, solemn observance of the legalization of abortion that occurred on Jan. 22, 1973. This year’s inaugural Indiana March for Life, hosted by the archdiocese, the Diocese of Lafayette and Right to Life of Indianapolis, will be open to all and will process around the Statehouse in Indianapolis. (File photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the Diocese of Lafayette, Ind., and Right to Life of Indianapolis are teaming up to offer the inaugural Indiana March for Life on Jan. 22 in Indianapolis, with multiple events taking place during the day.

The event—which is open to all—solemnly recalls the legalization of abortion in the United States 45 years ago through the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions on Jan. 22, 1973.

Below is the schedule of events:
 

  • Noon: Mass concelebrated by Archbishop Charles C. Thompson and Lafayette Bishop Timothy L. Doherty at St. John the Evangelist Church, 126 W. Georgia St., in Indianapolis.
  • 1:30 p.m.: March for Life starting at the Indiana Convention Center on Capital Avenue across from St. John Church, and processing around the statehouse (approximately one-half mile).
  • 2:30-4 p.m.: Pro-life rally on the south steps of the Statehouse building. Among the speakers will be Archbishop Thompson; Brian Bosma, House Speaker and state representative; Sue Swayze-Leibel, coordinator of the Susan B. Anthony List’s National Women’s Pro-Life Caucus; Anna Allgaier, Great Lakes Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America; and a representative of the office of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.
  • 4 p.m.: Rose Memorial Service in memory of lives lost to abortion, held in the Statehouse or on the south steps of the Statehouse, with a keynote address from internationally acclaimed pro-life advocate Abby Johnson. Johnson is a former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. She later realized the truth about abortion and is now a Catholic and an outspoken advocate for the pro-life cause.
  • 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Youth Rally and Holy Hour at St. John the Evangelist Church, with a talk by Johnson, plus eucharistic exposition and Benediction, music, Scripture and quiet time.

Special parking for buses will be available along the west and south sides of Victory Field baseball stadium’s parking lot, accessible from West Street and Schumacher Way, just off of West Washington Street.

‘A local and state-based movement’

The idea for the new event took root early last spring when officials in the Diocese of Lafayette—which had no Roe v. Wade commemoration—approached archdiocesan leaders about a combined event.

Even prior to the north central Indiana diocese approaching the archdiocese, “there had been conversations for years about how different pro-life organizations were each doing their own thing for [Jan. 22],” says Scott Seibert, director of the archdiocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life. “With opportunities like this, we should be coming together and sharing our voice in solidarity and unity with one another.”

Seifert notes that the event will “bring the state together across dioceses and across churches, as the Rose Memorial Service is an ecumenical prayer service.”

Plus, he adds, “We also wanted to give those who couldn’t make it all the way to Washington, D.C. [for the annual national March for Life] “a little local taste of” a larger event.

Not only is a central Indiana event closer than the national event in Washington held each year on Jan. 22, but “the pro-life movement is becoming more and more a local and state‑based movement and less of a national movement,” notes Marc Tuttle, president of Right to Life of Indianapolis. “It’s important to have that Indiana statement that we Hoosiers support life.”

Susan Hoefer, Natural Family Planning coordinator for the Diocese of Lafayette, agrees.

While she notes that the March for Life in Washington “is an awesome experience, this [Indiana March for Life] is a good way to recognize that it’s not just Washington, D.C., that makes laws that affect pro-life issues—it’s our state as well that makes laws that can affect what Planned Parenthood does and around life and death issues.

“This Indiana March for Life is an important reminder that we should be working on a statewide level to make sure that even here [in Indiana] we take steps to protect all human life.”
 

(For more information, go to rtlindy.org/upcoming-events/indiana-march-for-life.)

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