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Pro-life walk aims to be ‘visible presence’ in Boston

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BOSTON — The annual Respect Life Walk to Aid Mothers and Children on Oct. 2 is a “family event” where participants of all ages can show support for mothers and their unborn children, said Stephen Fielding, director of development for the Massachusetts Citizens for Life, which organizes the event.

“You’ll find many families, and you’ll find many young people there,” he said. “They’re pro-life. They’re pro-family. They’re there because they believe that women and their children need help.”

“It’s also a great opportunity for pro-life people to make a visible presence in a public arena like at the Boston Common,” he added.

Participants can also show their support financially by garnering sponsors for the walk. A quarter of the amount raised covers the cost of the event, but 75 percent will go straight to 47 beneficiary organizations, including A Woman’s Concern, Friends of the Unborn, Project Rachel, and the Massachusetts Family Insititute. These groups provide help to women “at a time in their lives when they most need it,” when they are facing a crisis pregnancy, by providing them with counseling, housing, medical care, and material as well as financial aid, he said.

“The message here is no matter what the circumstance that led to a woman’s pregnancy, every woman should have the opportunity to know all of the information prior to making that decision about keeping the child or not, and they are encouraged to choose life, obviously,” he said.

Prior to the walk, a Respect Life Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. The walk, now in its 19th year, will begin with a rally on Boston Common at the corner of Beacon and Charles Streets at 1 p.m. This year’s emcee will be Don Feder, a former editorial writer for the Boston Herald and syndicated columnist from June 1983 to June 2002. Dr. Mildred Jefferson, who helped found the National Right to Life Committee, and Archbishop O’Malley will also address the participants and attendees. The featured speaker will be Gary Cangemi, creator of the pro-life comic strip “Umbert the Unborn.”

The Immanual Gospel Choir, a Baptist women’s choir, will provide music for the rally.

“They’re a very talented group of women who have beautiful voices and are very dedicated to their faith, and they express that by their singing,” said Fielding.

“We don’t want this to be a Catholic-only event. This is open to all faiths,” he added.

The walk, which will begin at 2 p.m., is a five kilometer, circular route that has attracted between 1,500 and 2,000 participants in past years.

Fielding said he hopes the presence of many pro-life people in downtown Boston will have a positive effect on others.

“We want to bring awareness that a human being is a human being whether they’re in or outside of the womb, and we all have human rights, and the right to life is the fundamental human right,” he said.

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