Thousands turn out for 10th Chicago March for Life

By Joyce Duriga | Editor Photos by Karen Callaway | Photo Editor
Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thousands turn out for 10th Chicago March for Life

Archbishop Cupich speaks at Federal Plaza during the opening rally of the Chicago March for Life on Jan. 18. Thousands rallied there before marching through downtown to the James R. Thompson Center for a closing rally. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)
Maggie Dietz, Bridget Michalowski and Nathalie Carol, members of the "Crusaders for Life" from St. John Cantius Parish, cheer as thousands rallied at Federal Plaza before marching through downtown to the James R. Thompson Center during the Chicago March for Life on Jan. 18. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)
Marchers listen to speakers at the Thompson Center. This was the 10th anniversary of the Chicago March for Life. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)
Elaine Perez, from Aurora, Illinois, holds her daughter and stands with her husband while listening to speakers at the Thompson Center at the conclusion of the march. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)
A woman holds a sign as she walks through downtown Chicago. (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)
A member of the "Crusaders for Life" from St. John Cantius Parish, holds onto ballons displaying the word "life." (Karen Callaway / Catholic New World)

For the 10th year in a row, pro-lifers took to the streets of downtown Chicago to share the message that life begins at conception and is sacred at all stages.

The Jan. 18 march was a local version of the national March for Life held annually in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 22 which marks the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Roe v Wade legalizing abortion.

The crowd carried signs with messages such as “Illinois [hearts] life,” “Defend life” and “Women Deserve Better than Abortion” and cheered on speakers, including U.S. Reps. Dan Lipinski and Peter Roskam, Chicago Bears’ co-owner Pat McCaskey and pro-life leaders Eric Scheidler and Abby Johnson.

More than 4,000 people gathered for the march’s opening rally in Federal Plaza, including Archbishop Cupich.

“We are here to do everything possible to make sure their right to life is preserved,” the archbishop said of the unborn. “We can’t sit still. We have to march.”

But marchers also are sending the message that they want to accompany others on the journey of life, such as mothers who are afraid or who are poor.

“It’s not about criticizing or judging or condemning it’s about accompanying one another,” he told the crowd.

“Today we’re here to march. Marching means we can’t sit still. Marching means we are shoulder to shoulder accompanying. And marching means a witness to invite other people to join us. That’s why we march today.”

Participants marched from Federal Plaza, 50 W. Adams St., to the state of Illinois’ James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., where they held another rally.

Many of those in attendance were veterans of the national March for Life in Washington, D.C. Elaine Perez of St. Irene Parish in Warrenville, Illinois, attended the national rally 10 years ago but she’s had three children since then and hasn’t been able to return. She said she was excited to be able to attend a march closer to home.

“It’s good weather so I could bring out my whole family today,” Perez said.

The experience is something she wanted to pass on to her young children.

“I think that it’s really critical to show my children that we need to be supportive of life at all stages. This is really a learning opportunity for them,” she said.

Pro-life youth from St. John Cantius Parish turned out again with their yellow balloons with the word “LIFE” printed across them. Prior to the march, the group rented double decker buses and rode around the city with their balloons and signs.

This year the group brought its drum group “The Lifelines” to the rally.

Many young people attended the march including Katie Duda, a recent doctoral graduate at the University of Chicago. She also attended the Chicago march last year and said it’s important to come out and witness for life.

“Without the foundation of an inherent respect for life in this country, I think that we’re going to continue to make mistakes when we seek out the good in one another in all justice issues,” Duda said.

The local march is growing noticeably, from a few hundred a couple of years ago to a few thousand this year.

“I think this is a Chicago phenomena but it’s also a phenomena across the country that people used to just go to the big march in D.C.,” said Duda, who attends St. Hedwig Parish.

“But now I think that everybody is realizing that a local representation in cities across the country is really a way to bring recognition to the issue at home.”


  • cardinal cupich
  • abortion
  • prolife
  • march for life

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