“THE 2 BUSES ARE FULL!!”
Thus proclaims the sign on the billboard in St. Joseph Commons, where Thomas Aquinas College students get their campus news and notices. The buses are the two large passenger coaches that will help bring some two-thirds of the College’s student body to San Francisco this weekend for the Walk for Life West Coast. Other students will take cars, or ride up with faculty and chaplains, as they have every year since the Walk first began in 2005.
The 550-mile, round-trip journey will begin Friday, after classes, when the various vehicles depart for the Bay Area. The students will arrive late in the night at Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco’s Little Italy, where the Salesian fathers have graciously offered them a place to sleep in the parish’s two gymnasia. The church will also serve as the students’ spiritual home, offering all-night Eucharistic adoration that will culminate in a Holy Hour in honor of the Unborn Child Jesus from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Later that morning, the students will head over to St. Mary’s Cathedral, where the Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone , Archbishop of San Francisco, will offer the Walk for Life Mass. Following the Mass will be the two-mile Walk itself, which begins in the Civic Center Plaza and ends in Justin Herman Plaza. The more than 200 Thomas Aquinas College students — typically the single largest student group at the Walk — will march, sing, and pray the rosary for the protection of human life, deterred by neither the inclement weather nor the hecklers they are likely to encounter.
The students’ involvement in the Walk is made possible largely through the support of some dear friends of the College and stalwarts of the pro-life cause, Germaine and Jim Wensley, chairman of the Thomas Aquinas College Board of Governors. As they have every year, the Mr. and Mrs. Wensley have contributed toward the cost of chartering the coaches that will bring so many of the students to San Francisco and back. The Wensleys are joined in their generosity by Beatrice and John Smalley of San Francisco, whose gift will cover the remainder of the bus expenses as well as gas for student drivers and coffee and donuts on the morning of the Walk.
As in years past, the Walk for Life’s organizers have given a delegation of Thomas Aquinas College women the honor of leading the marchers through the city, carrying a banner that proclaims “Abortion Hurts Women.” Organizers also have asked numerous students to take on leadership roles in the event, such as directing walkers, assisting with visiting dignitaries, and bolstering security along the route.
After the Walk, the students will enjoy the remainder of the day in San Francisco, before returning to Saints Peter and Paul Church for the night. The next morning, after Mass in the church, they will make the long trek back to Santa Paula, catching up on sleep and studies along the way.
Forty years after the passage of Roe v. Wade, Thomas Aquinas College’s students are as committed as ever to protecting life in all its stages.
Posted: January 21, 2013