First Time Walk Draws Hundreds
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 28, 2021
ROCKFORD—The first Rockford Walk for Life, held the morning of Jan. 23 in western downtown, felt at times like the Chicago March for Life.
Yes, Rockford’s gathering square was much more open and its streets less canyon-like when compared to the big city march — which this year was reconfigured into decorated caravans and rallies held in several states. (See box, far right.)
But, as in Chicago, the young men and women of the Crusaders for Life were present, dressed in yellow hoodies, bearing yellow balloons and a yellow banner that said “Life is Beautiful.” 
They provided music behind rally speakers and led the walk itself with upbeat cheers and chants and drums.
Familiar also to those who have attended the Chicago March were two members of the Joe Scheidler family. His wife, Ann, provided words of encouragement and blessing right before the walk itself began. 
The Scheidler’s granddaughter, Hope Miller, shared a couple of stories about “my wonderful grandfather” along with suggestions for young and old to simply “educate yourself” and share the pro-life message with kindness and love.
Joe Scheidler, active for 50 years in the pro-life movement and a founder of the Pro-Life Action League, had planned to speak at the Rockford rally, but he died unexpectedly on Jan. 18. He was remembered by rally organizers with words of praise and a large photograph that flanked the rally stage.
The Rockford walk was, of course, a crowd of several hundred rather than the thousands that typically pack the Federal Plaza in Chicago for that march. But without having an exact count, those hundreds in Rockford had at least some marchers wondering if the crowd may have reached 1,000, agreeing that it sure felt like it.
People at the Walk hailed from in and beyond the Rockford area, with master of ceremonies Peter Scordato receiving cheers as he gave shout-outs to groups from Wisconsin, Elgin, Rochelle and Chicago as well as Rockford-area parishes and at least one Protestant church.
While heavily Catholic, the pro-life movement includes many non-Catholics. After all, as speaker Chris Iverson testified, anyone can become pro-life. He was an atheist when he became convinced of the humanity of an unborn child when challenged to think more deeply about the situation by a pro-lifer.
The Walk for Life, which was organized and sponsored by the Rockford Family Initiative, began at the Federal Courthouse, representing the Roe v Wade decision, and proceeded past the State of Illinois building and the Winnebago County Justice Center, pointing to Illinois’ pro-abortion state legislators and the lack of justice for the unborn. 
Organizers asked walkers to call their legislators to let them know they are praying for them.
In one prayerful way, the Rockford Walk for Life showed itself to be truly unique. As the many-blocks-long line of walkers passed by St. Mary Oratory downtown, Canon Luke Zignego stood up high on a church fire escape platform and blessed them.


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