Some 1,500 parishioners from the Diocese of Stockton joined the tens of thousands who participated in the recent West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco.
St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca was represented by more than 50 parishioners. Some of them drove to Pleasanton where they rode the BART to San Francisco. Others, like Odile Draa, St. Anthony’s Respect Life representative, drove by caravan to the City by the Bay.
“We saw upwards of 50,000 walkers peacefully carrying signs to defend life from conception to natural death,” Draa said.
The walkers from the Stockton Diocese included parishioners from St. Patrick Church in Ripon led by Father Peter Carota, church pastor, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Lathrop.
St. Anthony parishioner Jim Thompson, who has been attending the annual walk every year for the last eight years, said this year’s group of walkers was the largest he has ever seen.
After the walk, held on Saturday, Jan. 21, starting at the Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco, the parishioners from the Stockton Diocese and other parishes gathered at St. Mary’s Cathedral for a concelebrated Mass with 12 bishops, including Bishop Stephen Blaire, presiding.
The service culminated the day’s events which started with speeches by people from various denominations and groups at the Civic Center Plaza. The group then walked to the Justin Herman Plaza.