Wednesday, January 23, 2013

“The young people are ecstatic about the walk”

Right from the the beginning of the Walk for Life West Coast, Saints Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco has opened its doors to young people from all over the western United States who needed a place to stay while attending the Walk for Life West Coast. Fr. Malloy started this hospitality, and the good current pastor of Saints Peter and Paul, Fr. John Itzaina, has continued it.

One of the groups that has been coming for years is the San Clemente Youth Ministry, led by Brenda Sais, from Los Lunas New Mexico. (That's them right behind the "Men Regret Lost Fatherhood" sign, I believe). We asked Brenda to share her thoughts. A slightly shorter version of the interview below appeared in today's California Catholic Daily.

“The young people are ecstatic about the walk”
Out-of-State Youth Ministers Share Thoughts About Walk for Life West Coast

This week California Daily had a chance to talk with Catholic youth ministers who have escorted young people to the Walk for Life West Coast. One was Brenda Sais, the Family Life coordinator and a youth minister from San Clemente Church in Los Lunas, New Mexico.

Tell us about the San Clemente Youth Ministry. How did you become involved with them?

SC Youth Ministry is at San Clemente Catholic Church in Los Lunas, NM. San Clemente has approximately 2000 families and is located 30 miles south of Albuquerque. I first became involved with youth ministry when my two younger children were involved with Life Teen at the parish. I have been involved ever since. My love for Christ, His Church and the youth is what set me on this path. The youth are our present and our future.

San Francisco is not exactly around the corner from New Mexico. How do you get here? What made you decide to attend the Walk for Life West Coast?

We fly from Albuquerque to Oakland, then we take BART from the Oakland airport and a San Francisco bus to our host church, Saints Peter and Paul. The teens feel it is vital to make a stand and be the voice for their littlest brothers and sisters in the womb on a larger scale. Our community and our teens are extremely pro-life. Prior to 2008, we would take our group to DC for the March for Life but one year, the parish we normally stayed at said they weren’t allowing pilgrims to stay at their parish any longer. Upon calling several other Churches and no one calling me back, I went online for a search of other rallies and/or walks we could attend and the first thing I saw was the WFL WC. After attending our first walk in SF, I asked the teens the following year, who had experienced both SF and DC where they thought we should go again, and their response every year has been ‘San Francisco… because we feel our voice is needed more there.’ We have attended the Walk for Life in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and now 2013.

How many youth are with you this year, and how many in previous years? What is the age range?

This year, we have 12 in our group. In 2011, there were 11, in 2010 – 15, in 2009, our largest group, 16 and in 2008 – 11. All between the ages of 15-17 and all from our home parish, San Clemente.

How do the young people react to the walk, and how does it affect them?

The young people are ecstatic about the walk. They love the rally, they love the crowds and they love their presence there. Many remain active praying at our local abortion clinics. Also, one older teen sends letters and emails to our local universities speaking on the dangers of contraception and how we are each called to live.

Bringing a large group of teens that far sounds challenging.

There are really no challenges getting us here. There is work and preparation that needs to be done but not really any challenges. The teens that attend the WFL each year raise the money themselves. We do one to two fundraisers at our parish; a parish community, who loves, supports and prays for our teens. For this, we are truly thankful.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

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