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9th Annual Hike for Life

By SK H. Matthew Casey, Recorder Secretary, Photographer

Vol. 4, 2016-2017

“Love Saves Lives” was the theme for the 9th Annual “Hike for Life” fundraiser in Weatherford, TX held on Saturday January 27, 2018. Hundreds of people of all ages and from multiple organizations and churches showed to walk in Weatherford’s Hike for Life which was co-sponsored by local Knights of Columbus, the St. Stephen Catholic Church Youth Group and Grace House Ministries. The Weatherford Police and Weatherford Citizens Patrol provided security and traffic control for the hikers.

According to it’s website; “HIKE FOR LIFE” is Texas' oldest Pro Life event, is a pro-life walk held once a year in various locations around Texas that raises money for area Crisis Pregnancy Centers and raises awareness of the dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death. Of equal importance is the compassionate, caring support available to women suffering the painful emotional effects of past abortions. It is not about blame but rather about the forgiveness that is available to anybody and everybody whether they are seeking it or not. There are resources available for such women. Rachael’s Vineyard is one of them. According to it’s website “Rachel's Vineyard is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer you a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing.”

Father Mike O’Sullivan kicked off the event with the opening prayer; “For me the pro-life movement has always been Mother Theresa who she said those beautiful words ‘that we strive for peace, peace in our hearts, peace in our homes, and peace in our families. … the greatest violation of peace is the destruction of the pre-born in the womb.’ And that beautiful line from Mother Theresa where she says, ‘can there really be too many children? It’s like saying there’s too many flowers.’ Father Mike went on to pray that ‘Jesus would give us the courage to choose life and take a stand.’

In Rusty Gibson’s address, the event chairman, he made it a point to state that this movement is “born out of love, not politics, but is strictly born out of love.”

There were several speakers who addressed the crowds before the hike. One of which was Valerie Gritlenger who attended the national “45th Annual March for Life” held in Washington DC on 19 January 2018. She addressed the crowd by sharing her experience and some ideas she came away with. She says “It was unbelievable … As Christian’s, we are often told that we are a part of the “Body of Christ.” That each of us carries a special purpose. Something unique that only we can accomplish, and that God formed us with the ability to do. … Nevertheless, God formed us in his conscious before we were born. He knew our hearts, he knew our souls. He knows every detail of us, from the pads of our fingers… the curve of our lips… the rhythm of our breath. We were created for this specific time to preform our specific ability. We are not just called, though, to mindlessly perform these things. That isn’t what God wants. He has called us to do these things with great love.”

She continued, “That is what I witnessed in D.C. The Body of Christ coming together. All the hands working, feet marching, minds educating, eyes witnessing, mouths proclaiming together. Uniting together and using their gifts in the name of defending those little souls that are being lost before they can even take their first breath in this world. All those children lovingly and carefully formed in the mind of God, who will never see this earth and serve their purpose. The people I saw were warriors. Not one’s who carried guns, or blades, or fought with fists. Because the enemy they are fighting can’t be defeated with those things. Fighting hatred with hatred only causes more hate. As does anger with anger, and violence with violence. Those people were fighting hatred with love. Anger with compassion. And violence with mercy. Because in the wake of those weapons, hatred, anger, and violence can’t possibly stand against them.”

She poignantly describes “Hopelessness (as) the enemy of our times. It’s hopelessness that crushes a small child’s imagination and tells them their dreams are impossible. It is hopelessness that tells our youth that they are worthless… and death is the only solution. It is hopelessness that tells a woman that her child is an enemy and she is too weak to rise above her situation. It’s hopelessness that kills those unborn children and why I’m missing ONE-THIRD of my generation! Why one-third of our future doctors, teachers, politicians, artists, writers, brothers, sisters, friends, and family aren’t here. It’s not those women’s fault. Our society is brazenly against them, and going against society is painful. Many of those women feel guilt, anger, and depression. But God is good. For every bad thing that happens he gives us the opportunity to make something better. Those women now give their witness to the trauma of abortion. They stood on the steps of the Supreme Court and in front of hundreds of thousands of people and bravely gave their testimonies hoping to change one mind, to save one life. We are all human. We all make mistakes. We all deserve the opportunity of forgiveness. God calls us to love, and only He truly knows a person’s heart. We are called to forgive and be peaceful.”

“… it’s not enough to just think about those unborn children once a year and then forget about it. We MUST keep talking about it. Keep educating. Keep pressing the issue until abortion isn’t just illegal but unthinkable. That’s why it is so important to participate in these marches. To keep those children who have been aborted and those women who have had abortion’s in your prayers and minds. Why it’s crucial to volunteer, and help support pregnancy centers like Grace House. We are the frontline, and the only voices the children at risk of abortion have. Let’s go out today and make a difference.”

At the end of the hike the Knights of Columbus Holy Spirit Council 7264 of St. Stephen Catholic Church provided beverages, pizza, chili dogs and hot dogs and a place for hikers to warm up from the cold day.

Funds raised go to support pro-life causes including Grace House Ministries, a local non-profit, that strives to promote hope, life, and knowledge in the community through the Options Clinic, Grace House Pregnancy Center, and Pure Truth in-school training program.

Author’s editorial: The real tragedy is that there are several almost effortless ways to avoid unwanted pregnancies. By doing so thousands of dollars would be saved, negative health risks would be avoided, and affected parties would not have to endure the negative emotional trauma associated with unwanted pregnancies and potential abortions. When unwanted pregnancies can’t be avoided there are other solutions rather that killing the fetus. There are many families who can’t have children of their own and would cherish the gift of the ability to adopt. Though this takes more commitment on the part of the mother, it is a great gift the mother of an unwanted pregnancy can give to those who can’t conceive their own children. It is a very loving thing that the mother can do for herself, her unborn child, and for the family looking to adopt a child. The negative stigma must be removed from such situations. There are organizations that provide much support to mothers seeking to carry their baby to term for adoption. Fees can be covered, medical care provided, and post pregnancy support is provided. It really is a win, win, win for the long term. A win for the mother, a win for the unborn child, and a win for the family looking to adopt a child. The real question is why wouldn’t a mother in the situation of an unwanted pregnancy want to follow through with a post pregnancy adoption? She could hold her high for the rest of her life knowing she made the best decision for herself, her baby, and for a desperate, loving family. This would remove the cloud of guilt that often follows mothers for the rest of their lives, never really able to forgive themselves or forget about that child that should have been. Naturally there are cases where abortions may be necessary for medical reasons for the safety of the mother or the fetuses, or other reasons, but these discussions don’t apply to those special and difficult situations that need to be addressed on a case by case basis.

Note: the views stated in this article do not necessarily represent the official positions of Texas “Hike for Life”, or the nation “March for Life”, or other pro-life organizations.

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