March for Life 2009
Many Catholic Daughters from across the country traveled to this year’s March for Life in Washington, DC, on Thursday, January 22. Catholic Daughters, ardently Pro-Life, have been consistently attending the March for about twenty years.
Among those coming together for the March this year were national officers National Regent Libby Ramirez, National Regent-Elect Joanne Tomassi, First Vice National Regent Anne Nelson, Second Vice National Regent Shirley Seyfried, National Secretary-Treasurer Theresa Kocer and National Executive-Director Peggy O’Brien. Others included Past National Regent M. Joan McKenna and National Board members Letty Calvetti, Evelyn Saxton and Helene Shepard.
The March was the main event but there were other activities surrounding it. On Wednesday, some members of the National Board attended a Leadership Mass at the chapel of Trinity University and later joined other board members at the Opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life. The Opening Mass is celebrated each year at the majestic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Catholic Daughters are proud to have donated to the Basilica.
In his homily during the Vigil Mass, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Principal Celebrant and Homilist, stated the purpose of the March, “We come here to protest the infamous 1973 Roe v. Wade decision” and then exhorted the worshipers in the Basilica to “exercise your duties as Catholic citizens by standing up for those who cannot speak.”
Before the Vigil Mass began, the national leaders enjoyed running into Loretta Schneider, Vermont State Regent, who made the trip from Vermont. They were also glad to chat with Kayla Lorsung before Mass began. Kayla is current secretary and former regent of Court St. Gianna in Fargo, North Dakota. Kayla is four months pregnant with her first child. Praying and walking while carrying a child added special meaning as she marched for Life.
Kayla and the officers joined an estimated 200,000 marchers on Thursday. The weather was comparatively warm and it was a treat not to be tromping through inclement weather as in years past. The gathering walked down Constitution Avenue, around and away from the State Capitol and ended on the steps of the United States Supreme Court where the Roe v. Wade decision was made over 30 years ago.
Before the March began, the national leaders met up with a contingent from New York State that included State Regent Mary Impellizeri; her sister Theresa Durant, Chairman of the Nominating Committee for the 2010 Convention; Second Vice Regent Pat Gavin; Secretary Mary Zeisig; and Mary Zeisig’s sister. The New York group, like many March-for-Lifers, rose very early in the morning to board a bus and returned later that night. Truly, it was a very long day.
During the March, the entourage met Jeannette Kitch, from Court Columbia #2, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Court Columbia #2 is currently the oldest Catholic Daughter court. Jeannette is currently Recording Secretary and Past Regent of her Court, and also holds the position of District Deputy. Though we didn’t meet her at the March, we heard from Eileen Peterson, the Recording Secretary for Court Joan of Arc #604 in Rockland County New York, who wrote “We and our families rode three buses from Rockland County to the March for Life among hundreds of thousands of young people! Wow, what an incredible turnout of love and determination.”
Doubtless many other Catholic Daughters of whom we are unaware journeyed to Washington. We apologize to you for not being able to mention your participation. Your contribution meant the world to those who are Pro Life and to your fellow Catholic Daughters. Please send stories and photos about your March for Life to Tom Panas at Headquarters and you will be included in a story I am writing about the March for the next issue of SHARE Magazine. Please send them by the end of the month.
As announced earlier on this website, National Regent Libby Ramirez and National Regent-Elect Joanne Tomassi were interviewed live right before the March on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network). They were very relaxed “on the air” speaking comfortably and with pride about the Catholic Daughters and their reason for being at the March.
“It was tiring at times — but it was worth it!” said National Regent Libby Ramirez, who traveled from her home in Victoria, Texas, “How inspiring to be part of such a wonderful and meaningful celebration of life.”
EWTN Interview in Process
Five National Officers
Helene Marching for Life
Libby and Young Mom
Marching Past the Capitol
Shirley waits for the March to begin
Photos may be downloaded by left clicking on the photo to enlarge it. Then, right clicking on the enlarged photo and selecting save image.