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‘Life is worth struggling for’

SFU hosts annual pro-life march

Pro-life supporters participate in the annual March on the Mountain at Saint Francis University on Wednesday, the 47th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Photo for the Mirror by Dom Cuzzolina

LORETTO — Nearly 200 people gathered Wednesday for the seventh annual pro-life March on the Mountain at Saint Francis University.

The event gives community members, students and clergy the opportunity to express their belief that “life is worth struggling for,” as Father James Puglis, director of Campus Ministry, said in his introductory remarks to the group.

“We pray and we hope that others should see the goodness in life, that others should see the goodness in existence,” he said to those gathered in the university’s Immaculate Conception Chapel before the march.

After his introduction and prayers, participants headed to the front doors, picking up buttons, signs and stickers with phrases like “Love Life: Choose Life” and “I am the pro-life generation” from a table.

Mary Kate Elenchin managed the table.

Elenchin is a leader of the Students for Life group, which co-organized the march with the Campus Ministry. A member since her freshman year, she said a common misconception of the pro-life movement is that it is not pro-women.

“We know that there are so many challenges that pregnant women face,” the Saint Francis junior said. “If they’re contemplating abortion, it’s probably for reasons that are understandable.

“I think there needs to be more help for these women so that they can have their babies and they’re not just expected to do it on their own.”

Patrick McCauley is a colleague of Elenchin in the Students for Life group. A fellow junior at Saint Francis, he coordinated the event with Father Puglis and Denise Farabaugh, administrative assistant for Campus Ministry.

McCauley said his Catholic background, specifically his experience with the Knights of Columbus on campus, and the Franciscan values taught at the university, inspired him to act.

“Saint Francis of Assisi is known for cherishing all forms of life — he’s often pictured with animals and plants,” he said. “That trans­fers into valuing human life as well, which is what the march is all about.”

The march began at

11 a.m. Students of Saint Francis, juniors and seniors of local Catholic high schools, clergy and other pro-life allies walked the rectangular mall at the center of the university for an hour in the sunny, 20-degree weather.

Karen Mincek of Central City in Somerset County was one of those allies.

She is a pro-life representative of her church, Our Lady Queen of Angels, and, in the past, has taken her fellow community members to the national March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Mincek said she has been unable to attend the national rally the last two years and now participates in the March on the Mountain, this year bringing her niece and other students from the Shade-Central City School District.

“It’s important to come and remember the day,” she said, referring to the 47th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

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