From today’s edition of California Catholic Daily:
But as the Saturday sun rose, the winds drove the clouds out of San Francisco and the 8th Annual Walk for Life West Coast began under sunny, clear skies.
The 2012 Walk and Rally for Life began, for the first time, in the heart of San Francisco: the Civic Center Plaza. The new location, larger than the former rally site of Justin Herman Plaza, accommodated the Walk’s ever increasing numbers. The plaza also contains fenced-in playgrounds — a great convenience to the many parents who bring their children to the rally and walk. The playgrounds were being well used by the little ones.
Tens of thousands of dedicated pro-lifers, including bishops from all over California, reverently listened to the invocation given by Greek Orthodox Fr. Aris Metrakos, protopresbyter of San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, and a longtime champion of life.
Lori Hoye, wife of pro-life hero, the Rev. Walter Hoye, followed Fr. Metrakos. She shared her story, and her special concern for the devastation abortion has caused in the African-American community. Mrs. Hoye was joined on stage by the Sisters of Life.
Mrs. Hoye was followed by OB-GYN Dr. Vansen Wong. Dr. Wong, in his surgical scrubs, was joined on stage by other pro-life doctors and health professionals. He opened by asking the crowd, “If you have taken the life of another human being, raise your hand.” He then revealed that he had previously worked as an abortionist, ending the lives of hundreds of unborn babies over a seven-year span.
“What changed is that God got a hold of me… I now regret the loss of every single precious life,” he said. Dr. Wong described his current work as a pro-life physician, and closed by saying, “Abortion is intolerable, irrational, and it has no place in civilized society.”
Serious estimates of how many walkers participated vary from 40,000 to 55,000. Videotape made at the end of the Walk showed tightly packed marchers on Market Street passing for one hour and 10 minutes.
As always, the hallmark of the walk for Life West Coast was the presence of the young — from Thomas Aquinas College, John Paul the Great University, St. Mary’s High school in Phoenix, from the University of California at Santa Barbara, from Stanford University, from USF, and from other schools and churches all over the western United States and beyond.
The Walk for Life West Coast blog has dozens of posts and great photos of the event.