Jan 22, 2014

Pro-lifers witness at home after winter storm cancels March for Life bus trips



Story and photos by Carolee McGrath

SPRINGFIELD – The winter storm that wreaked havoc in the Northeast forced hundreds of pro-lifers from the Diocese of Springfield to stay home this year from the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Seven buses from across western Massachusetts were scheduled to leave Tuesday evening, Jan. 21 for the nation’s capitol but didn’t go because of the storm.

Walter James organizes the trip for the buses that leave from St. Stanislaus Basilica in Chicopee.

“This is crazy. This is the first time in the 15 years that I’ve been doing this that they have cancelled a bus,” said James, who attends the March every year with his family. “They cancelled 20 years ago for an ice storm. I’m glad that Peter Pan made the decision because it was the safety of the kids and that comes first,” he said.

James said bus trips were cancelled in and around Boston and Worcester as well.

Discouraged but still determined, many pro-lifers decided to be a witness for life at home. Dozens attended the 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Holy Spirit Chapel at St. Michael’s Cathedral on State Street in Springfield. After Mass, a group went down to pray in front of Planned Parenthood on Wasson Avenue in Springfield.

Seventeen-year old Rebecca James helped organize the last minute prayer rally by spreading the word to her friends on Facebook.

“I was bawling. My brother and I were about to get on a train to go down to D.C., but my parents said it was too dangerous,” said Rebecca James. “We decided to do this instead.”

Thirteen-year-old Jack McGrath was looking forward to his first trip to the March for Life, with parishioners from St. Cecilia Parish in Wilbraham.

“Everybody deserves to have a life,” he said. He added many of his middle school friends are committed to the pro-life effort. “I try to influence my friends to believe what I believe. It helps,” he said.

Seventeen-year-old Mary Towsley said that while she was disappointed, she knows God has a plan.

“I’ve been going every year since I was 6 years old. It’s been quite a few years, so I’m disappointed, but I know that God had a reason for us being here,” she said. “I think us being here can do so much good and we’re in D.C. in spirit.”

For more on this story, tune into an upcoming edition of “Real to Reel,” the Diocese of Springfield’s television newsmagazine that airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22NEWS.