Chicagoland

Thousands brave below-zero wind chills to March for Life

By Joyce Duriga
January 25, 2016

Thousands brave below-zero wind chills to March for Life

Thousands of participants braved below zero temperatures to rally at the March for Life Chicago at Federal Plaza on Jan. 17 to help defend and protect all human life. Speakers included Archbishop Cupich, Melissa Ohden, Abortion Survivor; Bishop Paul of Chicago, Orthodox Church of America; Pastor Wilfredo de Jesœs, New Life Covenant Church in Chicago.
Marchers in the front line carried a large March For Life sign. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Thousands of participants braved below zero temperatures to rally at the March for Life Chicago at Federal Plaza on Jan. 17 to help defend and protect all human life. Speakers included Archbishop Cupich, Melissa Ohden, Abortion Survivor; Bishop Paul of Chicago, Orthodox Church of America; Pastor Wilfredo de Jesœs, New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Thousands of participants braved below zero temperatures to rally at the March for Life Chicago at Federal Plaza on Jan. 17 to help defend and protect all human life. Speakers included Archbishop Cupich, Melissa Ohden, Abortion Survivor; Bishop Paul of Chicago, Orthodox Church of America; Pastor Wilfredo de Jesœs, New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Thousands of participants braved below zero temperatures to rally at the March for Life Chicago at Federal Plaza on Jan. 17 to help defend and protect all human life. Speakers included Archbishop Cupich, Melissa Ohden, Abortion Survivor; Bishop Paul of Chicago, Orthodox Church of America; Pastor Wilfredo de Jesœs, New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Thousands of participants braved below zero temperatures to rally at the March for Life Chicago at Federal Plaza on Jan. 17 to help defend and protect all human life. Speakers included Archbishop Cupich, Melissa Ohden, Abortion Survivor; Bishop Paul of Chicago, Orthodox Church of America; Pastor Wilfredo de Jesœs, New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
A woman held a sign that reads “Chicago is pro-life” as she shivers in the cold. Organizers shortened the march because of extreme temperatures. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Amber Brown, 14, danced before the start of the march. Many young people were in attendance. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Members of the Crusaders for Life from St. John Cantius Parish, 825 N. Carpenter St., readied their balloons before walking to the March for Life Chicago from St. Ignatius College Prep, 1076 W. Roosevelt Road. The group of young people are well-known at pro-life events for carrying their yellow “life” balloons and for wearing their yellow “life” Tshirts and sweatshirts. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Archbishop Cupich waved to the crowd of thousands before he addressed them. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Young women held signs and listened to speakers in Federal Plaza. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Young women held signs and listened to speakers in Federal Plaza. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Thousands of marchers make their way down LaSalle Street. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Thousands of participants braved below zero temperatures to rally at the March for Life Chicago at Federal Plaza on Jan. 17 to help defend and protect all human life. Speakers included Archbishop Cupich, Melissa Ohden, Abortion Survivor; Bishop Paul of Chicago, Orthodox Church of America; Pastor Wilfredo de Jesœs, New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Thousands of participants braved below zero temperatures to rally at the March for Life Chicago at Federal Plaza on Jan. 17 to help defend and protect all human life. Speakers included Archbishop Cupich, Melissa Ohden, Abortion Survivor; Bishop Paul of Chicago, Orthodox Church of America; Pastor Wilfredo de Jesœs, New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Thousands of participants braved below zero temperatures to rally at the March for Life Chicago at Federal Plaza on Jan. 17 to help defend and protect all human life. Speakers included Archbishop Cupich, Melissa Ohden, Abortion Survivor; Bishop Paul of Chicago, Orthodox Church of America; Pastor Wilfredo de Jesœs, New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Thousands of participants braved below zero temperatures to rally at the March for Life Chicago at Federal Plaza on Jan. 17 to help defend and protect all human life. Speakers included Archbishop Cupich, Melissa Ohden, Abortion Survivor; Bishop Paul of Chicago, Orthodox Church of America; Pastor Wilfredo de Jesœs, New Life Covenant Church in Chicago. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Members of the Polish community joined the march. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)

Dana Mentgen donned six layers of clothing and made the trek downtown to Federal Plaza on Jan. 17 because he felt it was important to witness for life against the “culture of death.”

“I think the majority of people are pro-life. It’s just that we’ve been silent too long. We have to speak out,” said Mentgen, a parishioner at St. Raphael the Archangel Parish in Old Mill Creek.

Mentgen was one of thousands of “pro-life popsicles,” as organizers called them, who came from around the Midwest and braved below-zero wind chills to participate in the 11th annual March for Life Chicago. Because of the extreme cold organizers condensed the speaker portion of the event.

Those who turned out for the march carried signs with pro-life messages in English, Polish and Spanish and listened to speakers including Archbishop Cupich (see his remarks); Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago; and abortion survivor Melissa Ohden.

Brooks called on the crowd to carry the prolife message to the African-American community, which he said is unfairly targeted by Planned Parenthood. The African-American community makes up 13 percent of the U.S. population yet receives a third of all abortions, he said.

Ohden shared how she was aborted and left to soak in a burning saline solution for five days — a process intended to kill her. Her mother was forced to undergo the abortion against her will. Ohden called for support for women who feel forced to have abortions and said pro-lifers aren’t just “pro-baby” but “pro-family” and “pro-women.”

Once again, youth from St. John Cantius’ Crusaders for Christ brought their trademark yellow “LIFE” balloons and drumline to the event. The noticeable group of young people wearing yellow sweatshirts with the word “life” printed on the back walked to Federal Plaza from St. Ignatius College Prep, 1076 W. Roosevelt Road, where they participated in a morning rally and Mass for youth sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Respect Life Office. About 200 young people attended the event.

A new addition to the Crusaders this year was a yellow Chevrolet Super Sport Roadster owned by Markie and Steven Works from St. Peter Parish in Volo. The truck matched the yellow balloons with black magnets spelling out “life” on the trunk and doors.

After hearing the speakers, participants marched through the Loop past City Hall and the James R. Thompson Center, which houses state offices. Organizers said the route was intended to represent the three levels of government being urged to restrict abortion: federal, state and municipal.

This was the first March for Life Chicago for Jane Wytaniec, who attends Mass at Marytown in Libertyville. She participated in a pre-march Mass and brunch benefiting Aid for Women, a non-profit that offers counseling and housing for pregnant women. That event was one of several Masses and events held around the city that day, which was associated with the march.

“All my life I wanted to be involved in this but for some reason it hadn’t occurred until now,” Wytaniec said. “I am more than elated to be here. It is humbling. I praise God that he brought me here.”

Topics:

  • cardinal cupich
  • abortion
  • prolife
  • st. john cantius
  • st. ignatius college prep
  • march for life
  • st. raphael the archangel
  • st. peter volo

Related Articles

Advertising