Rockford Marchers Rally for Life
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 20, 2022
ROCKFORD—It was a smaller-but-still-mighty group of some hundreds who participated in the 2022 Rockford Walk for Life on Jan. 15.
The crowd at this second annual event braved upper-teen temperatures, wind and the always-present COVID-19 virus threat to listen to several speakers and walk together for life in downtown Rockford.
The event began with a rally in front of the Federal Courthouse. Master of ceremonies Danniel Pribble of the Rockford Family Initiative introduced the speakers. Canon John O’Connor, rector of St. Mary Oratory, led the opening prayer. 
Speakers included Pastor Charlie Heffelfinger of Calvary Chapel; Mary Kate Knorr, president of Feminae Vero; Jeanna Desideri, executive director of the prolife Corbella Clinic in Elgin; Dr. Steve Jacobs, program director of Illinois Right to Life, Esther Joy King, congressional candidate; and last-minute addition Illinois State Representative Avery Bourne whose schedule opened after her prior commitment was cancelled. 
Marching songs and bright yellow balloons from the Crusaders for Life helped lead the march. Farther back in the line bagpipe musicians kept the beat going. The marchers walked a loop of blocks downtown that went past the State of Illinois building, St. Mary Oratory, and the Winnebago County Justice Center before returning to its starting point. There, Kevin Rilott of the Rockford Family Initiative provided the closing prayer.
Marchers included all ages, from seniors to babies in arms. Many held a variety of signs, some singing or chanting their support of life. Participants included some who traveled many miles, such as groups from St. Patrick Parish in St. Charles and from St. Mary Parish in Huntley. Deacons and priests, mothers and fathers, Knights of Columbus, grade school, high school and college age youths along with area parishioners all came together for this second annual Rockford Walk for Life.
Kevin Rilott, an instrumental voice for many years in the Rockford area for the defense of all human life, noted just before the rally that it was great to see all the young people, and that he was happy to see “all the smiles” on participants’ faces.
“In the coming months, Roe v. Wade may fall, but Illinois will still be the most pro-abortion state in America,” Rilott said in an earlier email. “Planned Parenthood has targeted Illinois to be the ‘abortion center’ of the Midwest. We cannot and will not accept this.”
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