Archdiocese Local Parishes

On the march

Area Catholics stand up for life in the state capital

by Marc and Julie Anderson

TOPEKA — Some 2,000 Kansans braved chilly temperatures on Jan. 22 to participate in a walk sponsored by Kansans for Life to mark the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. The walk wound its way through downtown Topeka, stopping at the Kansas Judicial Center, headquarters of the state Supreme Court, where a rally took place.

The rally included prayers by various clergy members including David Epps, pastor of River of God Christian Fellowship in Topeka, and Father Robert Conroy, MC, currently associate pastor of Our Lady Guadalupe Parish in Topeka. Also featured were talks by members of both chambers of the Kansas Legislature, including Rep. Lance Kinzer and Sen. Tim Huelskamp.

In addition, Vickie Tiahrt, the wife of U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, made a brief appearance.

Kansans for Life’s executive director Mary Kay Culp and development director David Gittrich also addressed the crowd.

Near the end of the rally, crisis pregnancy workers from across the state were introduced, and donations of diapers, clothes and other items were accepted. Both Culp and Gittrich told the gathered youth to get to know the crisis pregnancy centers in their hometowns, so that if they or their friends ever found themselves in a crisis pregnancy, they would know where to obtain assistance.

Prior to the walk and rally, some 1,700 Catholics from across the state — including the entire 500-member student body of Hayden High School in Topeka and 150 eighth-graders from the capital city’s five Catholic grade schools — participated in a regional Mass to pray for an end to abortion.

Celebrated by Father Brian Schieber, pastor of Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka, the Mass was held at the Topeka Performing Arts Center and was concelebrated by 13 other priests from the region, other parts of the archdiocese and other Kansas dioceses.

Father Bill Bruning, pastor of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Topeka and a 15-year member of Priests for Life, gave the homily.

About the author

Marc & Julie Anderson

Freelancers Marc and Julie Anderson are long-time contributors to the Leaven. Married in 1996, for several years the high school sweethearts edited The Crown, the former newspaper of Christ the King Parish in Topeka which Julie has attended since its founding in 1977. In 2000, the Leaven offered the couple their first assignment. Since then, the Andersons’ work has also been featured in a variety of other Catholic and prolife media outlets. The couple has received numerous journalism awards from the Knights of Columbus, National Right to Life and the Catholic Press Association including three for their work on “Think It’s Not Happening Near You? Think Again,” a piece about human trafficking. A lifelong Catholic, Julie graduated from Most Pure Heart of Mary Grade School and Hayden Catholic High School in Topeka. Marc was received into the Catholic Church in 1993 at St. Paul Parish – Newman Center at Wichita State University. The two hold degrees from Washburn University in Topeka. Their only son, William James, was stillborn in 1997.

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