For many East Bay participants in the Walk for Life West Coast, the trip across the Bay is also part of the day's experience.
For Maria Silmaro, whose parish, St. Edward in Newark, is about 15 minutes from a BART station, the bus experience beats mass transit.
"I really like the bus," said Silmaro, who will travel with her husband and seven of her children. "We get to travel with our priests and deacons. We pray the rosary and then the divine mercy."
Silmaro said she had arranged a total of seven buses for East Bay parishes — three for St. Edward, two for St. Lawrence O'Toole in Oakland and one each for St. Felicitas in San Leandro and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Fremont.
A dozen members of the Knights of Columbus will be aboard the St. Edward buses, she said.
"When we started, only four came," she said. Now, the Knights and men's group help sponsor the bus ride for the youth of the parish.
The importance of the young people is not minimized by Silmaro.
"Our young people are our future," she said. "They will continue this fight for life, marriage and religious freedom."
At the other end of the diocese, in Brentwood, more than 50 miles from the rallying point, at least two busloads of parishioners from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish will travel to the rally. Others will drive to the nearest BART station — that's about 20 miles.
With the rally near one BART station (Civic Center) and the walk ending near another (Embarcadero), the BART ride becomes a more attractive transit alternative than when the walk ended at Marina Green.
Bob and Ethel Reber coordinate the Respect For Life ministry at Immaculate Heart of Mary, where life issues are remembered at each Mass. A prayer for the end to abortion, for the protection of life from conception to natural death, for religious freedom and for marriage is offered. After the prayer, parishioners kneel and say a "Hail Mary."
The Rebers encourage parishioners, and the many groups, to attend the walk. Signups for the bus are being taken in the parish office this year.
Walk for Life West Coast
Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, Jan. 26
10:45 a.m. Silent No More rally, featuring actress Jennifer O'Neill
11 a.m. Info Faire
12:30 p.m. Rally Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco
Speakers include Lacey Buchanan, Elaine Riddick and the Rev. Clenard Childress Jr. Among the church leaders will be Archbishop Alex J. Brunett, apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Oakland, and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, archbishop of San Francisco. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Holy Father's Ambassador to the United States, will attend and is expected to read a letter from the Holy Father.
1:30 p.m. Walk to Justin Herman Plaza begins
Oakland, Jan. 25
A series of events sponsored by the Issues4Life Foundation is scheduled for Jan. 25 in the East Bay. Rev. Walter Hoye's, right, sixth-annual rally in Oakland will include speakers Lacey Buchanan, Elaine Riddick and the Rev. Clenard Childress Jr., who will also appear at the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco the following day. The 10 a.m. start time is a change for the rally this year.
10 a.m. Stand Up 4 Life Rally & Walk, Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland
12:30 p.m. Conversations 4 Life Benefit Luncheon, St. Margaret Mary Parish Hall, 1219 Excelsior Ave., Oakland
(RSVP and ticket required; www.issues4life.org/conversations4life.html)
7 p.m. Prayer 4 Life Vigil, Rehoboth Christian Fellowship, 710 Haight Ave., Alameda
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