The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 18, 2013

March for Life drawing strong support locally

— It’s been 40 years since the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, but the pro-life movement to reverse the decision continues.

The annual March for Life will be held Friday in Washington, D.C. The event attracts hundreds of thousands of people who come out in force with hopes of seeing abortion laws changed.

The march usually is held Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling, but was rescheduled this year to better accommodate participants because the anniversary comes the day after public ceremonies for the presidential inauguration.

Local organizers plan to take 10 busloads of marchers from Cambria and Somerset counties.

The buses will depart between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. Boarding sites include Northern Cambria, St. Benedict, New Germany, Carrolltown, Lo­retto, Richland, West End, Windber, Hooversville and Somerset. Buses also will leave from Bishop McCort and Bishop Carroll Catholic high schools. For more information on bus sites, call Pat Mulcahy at 269-1470.

Mulcahy, of Windber, who has coordinated the bus trip for many years, said a big change he’s noticed is the increased number of younger people, high school and college age, who are participating in the march.

“I honestly think the pro-life message is starting to sink in and people are realizing what an atrocity this is,” Mulcahy said. “Once people attend, they want to go every year because they feel it’s important.”

Even though it’s been a slow process, Mulcahy believes strides are being made in the fight to end abortion.

“I’m not going to kid myself into thinking there will be a complete end to this, but education is the answer in changing people’s minds,” he said.

In preparation for the March for Life, the Most Rev. Mark L. Bartchak, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, will hold a prayer service at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona.

“This is a good opportunity for those going to gather together and have a blessing in advance, but also for people who can’t attend to be a part of praying for the sanctity of life,” said Tony DeGol, the diocese’s secretary of communications.

Bartchak plans to attend the march and will travel by bus with a group of Bishop McCort students.

“He loves being with the youth, so it’s a natural fit he’d travel with them,” DeGol said. “Youth from our schools come out in force for this, and it speaks volumes on how committed they are to their faith and speaks well for the future.”

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