To change hearts
When Bishop David Konderla took to the steps of Holy Family Cathedral amid muffled claps of hundreds of tightly gloved hands on Sunday afternoon, he had reassuring words. “It's colder today in Washington.” Konderla and hundreds of others gathered in heavy coats and jackets at Holy Family Cathedral on Sunday for the 10th Annual Tulsa March for Life, a pro-life rally hosted by the Diocese of Tulsa.
It was one of many marches nationwide taking place on or around the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
Konderla, who spoke at both a Mass before the march and on stage at Centennial Green at Sixth and Main streets, said it's part of the diocese's mission in Tulsa to educate people and provide options in crisis pregnancies.
“It's our desire to make it known in our community and in our culture that abortion is not necessary,” Konderla said. “We have all kinds of ministries throughout this community to care for people who are in a crisis pregnancy.
“A woman never chooses an abortion, it's something she's forced into by circumstances. It's not a sign of freedom or empowerment.”
The Christian community exists to support
those in crisis and to embrace those grieving who have had an abortion, Konderla said.
The March for Life wound through the Cathedral District to the soundtrack of a hundred Hail Marys and gathered at Centennial Green. Several speakers, including the Rev. Matt Gerlach of St. Anne Catholic Church in Broken Arrow, spoke to the crowd.
Sunday was Gerlach's first March for Life in Tulsa, though he has attended the national march in Washington, D.C., multiple times. Despite the cold, he said it was by far the best weather he's seen for a March for Life compared to marching in six inches of snow on the National Mall.
Gerlach said Sunday's turnout impressed him with the number of young people and children in the march.
“It's going to take a new generation I think to understand the preciousness of life,” Gerlach said. “To see the young people begin to support it and believe in it, that's where it's going to start turning; new generations, turning hearts and changing minds.”
U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern also attended the march and was recognized on stage. The newly elected congressman for Oklahoma's 1st Congressional District joined the congressional pro-life caucus last week.
Hern said he signed a bill Thursday as a co-sponsor to recognize life at conception. Tulsa's turnout shows how passionate the community is about prolife issues, Hern said, and he echoed Konderla's feelings of how cold it is in the capital.
“Last year was very cold as well and it really shows the dedication to the people here,” Hern said. “It will be very cold in Washington, D.C., this week, it's snowing up there right now . ... I wish we could write a bill and fix this once and for all, but that will not happen.
“It will be a changing of the hearts of Americans that will fix this, and ultimately at the end of the day, that's what it's going to take.”
Several hundred people took part in the 2019 Tulsa March for Life on Sunday. The annual event is held each year close to the anniversary date of the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.
Zoe Davis clutches her “Stop Abortion Now” sign while listening to speeches at the March for Life rally Sunday in Tulsa.
People listen to speakers during the March for Life Sunday at Centennial Square in downtown Tulsa.
Several hundred people take part in the 2019 Tulsa March for Life at Centennial Green on Sunday. The annual event is held close to the anniversary date of the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.