COLUMBIA—An Arctic blast that hit much of South Carolina was not enough to freeze out several hundred pro-life supporters who bundled up and hit the streets on Jan. 6.
Temperatures were in the 20s when the annual Stand Up for Life March started, led as always by members of the Knights of Columbus in full regalia.
The march has become the most recognized pro-life event in the state since Roe v. Wade became law in 1973.
Over the years, marchers have braved snow, ice, rain and bitter winds for the event. This was the second year in a row that the march competed with unusually harsh conditions. In 2017, only about 200 people could attend as a winter storm blasted the state. This year the event drew more than 500 people.
Marchers of all ages representing churches and pro-life groups made their way to the Statehouse. There, they listened to keynote speaker Ryan Bomberger, an artist, author and co-founder of the Radiance Foundation, a nonprofit organization that deals with issues such as abortion, adoption, fatherlessness and character development.
Bomberger uses multimedia to make his point when he speaks around the country, and Columbia was no different. Through video, music, and the spoken word, he told his life story. His birth mother was a rape victim who gave him up for adoption, and at six weeks he was brought into a multiracial family with 13 children, most of them also adopted. One of his videos chronicled his accomplishments and showed his wife Bethany and their family.
He reminded the crowd that “all of this was because his birth mom said yes to life.” Bomberger said that there are no unwanted children because every created child is loved by God and special in His eyes.
After the Statehouse event, about 750 youth and adults attended the annual rally held at the Township Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the diocesan Office of Youth Ministry and the Family Life Office.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated Mass and the youth listened to inspirational Christian music from emcee and musician Steve Angrisano.
The keynote speaker was Sister Elizabeth Grace of the New York-based Sisters of Life, a contemplative and active order of sisters dedicated to protecting and enhancing the sacredness of all human life.
She told the youth stories about her experiences as a sister and described the significance of the rally taking place the day before the feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ child.
Bishop Guglielmone’s homily during the liturgy also used the Epiphany as a metaphor for the importance of the pro-life message, comparing the quest of the wise men to find Christ with our ongoing search for God’s truth.
Elizabeth Hudacko, youth leader at Our Lady of the Hills Church in Columbia, said the rally was important because it showed young people that they have an important role to play in spreading the Gospel and carrying on the pro-life cause in the future.
Mark Brown, 15, who attends St. Philip Neri Church in Fort Mill, said he was especially moved by a story that Sister Elizabeth Grace told about meeting a woman in an elevator who had decided to have an abortion. The sister talked her out of it and several years later met the same woman, who showed her pictures of the twin daughters she had chosen to keep.
The youth also collected donations for St. Clare’s Home for expectant mothers, which is being prepared for opening in the Upstate.
Top image, provided: A group of participants gather in front of the Statehouse in Columbia for the annual Stand Up for Life March and Rally on Jan. 6.