From staff reports
LEWISTOWN - More than 75 people marched through the streets of Lewistown to protest legalized abortion Sunday during the annual Pro Life March.
According to a press release from march organizers Citizens Concerned for Human Life of Mifflin-Juniata, the march started at Dorcas and Third streets in Lewistown at 1 p.m., and proceeded to the Bethel AME H.O.P.E. Center.
Photos submitted by FRANK CUNNINGHAM
The Rev. William Weary from Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church leads the Lewistown Pro Life March down Market Street Sunday.
Photo submitted by FRANK CUNNINGHAM
State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, speaks to a crowd of pro-life supporters Sunday at Bethel AME Church during the Lewistown Pro Life March.
The local march began three years ago when a member of the group decided to organize a rally for people who were unable to attend the national March for Life in Washington, D.C.
Events surrounding the 39th annual national march begin this weekend in Washington, D.C., with prayer vigils, banquets, youth rallies and other gatherings. The actual march will be held Monday, beginning at the National Mall.
The rally is held annually near the date of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion.
Groups from the Lewistown and Huntingdon areas have scheduled a bus trip to the march.
After the Lewistown march, the participants gathered to pray and listen to speeches.
The Rev. Michael Bailey opened the program stating how football player Tim Tebow had the opportunity to grow into a respected individual because his mother refused to have an abortion.
The Rev. Bernard Carpenter of Bethel AME Church introduced Cindy Mansberger, executive director of Crossroads Pregnancy Center.
Mansberger asked the audience "What does God want us to do?"
The answer to that question was strongly represented by all the speakers, the release states. The answer was to pray for the unborn and their parents and to vote pro-life, according to the release.
The Rev. William Weary spoke of God's forgiveness using St. Augustine of Hippo as an example. Augustine had a life of debauchery before his conversion with many seductions of women, the
licentiousness of other students, the theatres, the intoxication of his literary success, and a proud desire always to be first, even in evil.
Before long he was obliged to confess to St. Monica, his mother, that he had formed a sinful liaison with the woman who bore him a son, an entanglement from which he only delivered himself at Milan after 15 years of its thralldom. St. Monica prayed for her son for more than 30 years.
Michael Ciccocioppo, Pennsylvania Pro Life Federation director, discussed his organization's efforts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania emphasizing the need for families to promote pro-life and oust anti-family politicians. He said there are 33,000 abortions every day in the world.
Ciccocioppo said $60 billion in U.S. federal spending is given to the United Nations Population Fund, which works "to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted" in 150 countries.
Key note speaker for the event was state Rep. Kerry A. Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, of the 17th Legislative District.
Benninghoff emphasized voter's contact their representatives on the issues, otherwise the representatives just pass bills without any debate.
"If you don't act you get what you get," he said.
He continued: "God came as a baby, not an adult. If a baby is good with God a baby should be good with men and women."
Teaching children about pro-life is one of the most effective ways to eliminate abortion, Benninghoff said.
Citizens Concerned with Human Life is a 501 non-profit organization devoted to education about the sanctity of life.
To learn more or get involved in the group, call 667-9334 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.