Unity is the second principle of the Knights of Columbus. In unity there is strength. Existing in an environment that was openly hostile to Catholics, the founders of the Order relied on the strength of unity to remain steadfast in the Faith while claiming their rightful place in society. Today the Order uses that strength to speak out for religiously-grounded moral values in a culture that has forsaken them. (for instance.....)

In late January each year hundreds of people gathered for a solemn cause: To stand up against the evil that is abortion.

In Port Charlotte and Sarasota Masses were celebrated and Prayer Walks for Life were held to mark the tragic 38th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in the U.S.

On a dreary Friday morning (Jan. 21) about 700 people gathered for Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Port Charlotte. There they were told by Bishop Frank J. Dewane that the reason for the walk was not just to put an end to the evil of abortion, but to end the Culture of Death in the United States and remind others that each and every life is a unique gift from God.

“Be conscious of the gift of life,” Bishop Dewane continued. “We gather here because we are dedicated to a single cause. I challenge everyone to recommit themselves to ensure that we are all doing everything we can to respect life from conception to natural death.”

Following the Mass at St. Charles Borromeo Parish, in a light rain, hundreds proceeded to walk about a mile to pray in front of a doctor’s office where surgical abortions are performed.

The group was lead by Bishop Dewane and middle school students from St. Charles Borromeo School. As the group gathered around to pray the rosary, the rain came to an end. Eighth Grade Students from St. Charles Borromeo School lead the prayer.

On Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, another large group gathered, first for Mass at St. Martha Parish in Sarasota and then in front of the regional Planned Parenthood abortion facility in downtown Sarasota.

There, a silent vigil took place all day as people slowly walked around the massive building including a group of 25 Knights of Columbus from the area.

“The marches provide an opportunity for people from all faiths and all dimensions of life to join together in the common cause of praying for an end to abortion,” said Marina Kopko, assistant director of the Diocese of Venice Respect Life Department and one of the event coordinators. “It is important that we remember to pray for both victims of abortion: the unborn child and the mother who often suffers from post-abortion trauma.”

Those who were unable to walk had the opportunity to remain at the churches during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Nationally, more than 52,500,000 babies have been aborted in the U.S. alone since the 1973 decision or one every 24 seconds. In that same period in Southwest Florida, more than 144,000 surgical abortions have been performed.

For more information on the Prayer Walk contact the Respect Life Department of the Diocese of Venice at 941-441-1112.