About 100 pro life advocates gathered in front of St. Phillip Neri Roman Catholic Church in Linthicum, Maryland late Friday morning, January 29. Before marching off the property and heading together through the community, organizers addressed those gathered.
The crowd stood, mostly silently, in frigid temperatures, and enduring a biting wind, to listen.
“From the begging to the end, we choose life. We choose love—even when its hard,” the parish’s priest, Rev. Michael De Ascanis told those assembled.
"Today we’re speaking up for life from conception to death, and everywhere in between. Now they’re pushing assisted suicide around our country. When we have a problem we choose death as a solution.”
Dr. Shirley Reddoch , president of the Baltimore Guild of the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), also addressed the crowd. Reddoch is an instructor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“Today we make the invisible, visible together--the unborn, (and) those who may feel they are at the end their lives, who otherwise are encourage and supported in their distress to end their lives.,” Reddoch sad. “This is physician-assisted suicide. It has come to pass in at least nine states. in our country.”
On its website, the CMA states its mission as to “live and promote the principles of the Catholic faith in the science and practice of medicine.
Pro life supporters and organizations from around the country have not gathered in Washington D.C. this year for their annual protest on the anniversary of the Roe Vs Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the United States. That ruling took place on January 22, 1973, 47 years ago. The annual protest march started one year later.
The national march was canceled due to the current pandemic and the storming of the U.S. Capital on January 6, 2021. Many smaller marches and observances around the county have occurred in reaction to the cancellation. There is also a virtual March for Life.
For some, the effort to support their cause occurs year-round.
Barry Katterton, a trustee with St. Phillip Neri’s local council of the Knights of Columbus, spoke before Friday’s Linthicum march. He noted the organization was involved in helping create the original national March for Life event in 1974.
The local chapter, also helps a local emergency pregnancy center, by contributing to fund an ultra sound machine, he said.
“One of our main programs is the life fundraisers,” said. “We’ve also funded buses to D.C. for the parish in the past.”
Multiple catholic medical workers were present at the event. Reddoch criticized a current trend of legalizing the killing of medical patients that has occurred around the United States.
“There’s a movement that uses euphemisms that appeal to us everyday--that tug at our heart,” the doctor said. Euphemisms like “compassionate choice”, “death with dignity” “medical aid and dying”. Let us make that clear—that is physician-assisted suicide.
Bills have come before the Maryland legislature in recent years that would legalize the killing of terminally ill patients, but have not passed. More bills are expected in support of the measure. Reddoch’s organization iopposes those bills.
“It was a lack of a majority that kept it from becoming (law), not a majority opposed,” she said
regarding a 2019 proposal. “Right now there are a flurry of bills. The voice that matters most is your voice—your voice to the legislature. We ask you please remember of all the invisible. That includes all those who are struggling with ending their lives.”
Father Joshua Burnett, from Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Linthicum attended too. He offered a prayer for God’s blessing in what he called a “sacred battle” to preserve human life from conception to natural death.
Before they started the march, an organizer persuaded those gathered to say a decade from a joyful mysteries of the catholic rosary. The prayers encouraged those gathered to meditate on the birth of Jesus Christ, and his mother Mary’s acceptance of her unexpected pregnancy.
The group then headed out Schulamar Road to Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard where the long line of participants took a left on East Maple Road, and another on Camp Meade Road.
The march was uneventful, with the exception of a few honks of drivers in support and one who heckled them as they passed. Participants headed back to church grounds off Benton Ave., and had completed the procession within an hour, by 11:15 a.m.