To provide ways for young people to voice their opinions, the Midwest March for Life has added a school trophy program to its event Saturday.
Local schools will participate in the pilot program, which is expected to be extended statewide next year. Points are earned for attendance at events, such as the Eucharistic Procession on Monday or the Midwest March for Life on Saturday.
The class with the highest percentage of points will receive a pizza party.
The annual event prayerfully commemorates the deaths of 56 million innocent babies in 41 years since the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision legalized abortion, said Kathy Forck, organizer for Columbia 40 Days for Life and St Andrew's Pro-Life Committee.
About 11 a.m. Monday, Father Joe Corel will lead a Eucharistic Procession from St. Peter Catholic Church to the Cathedral of St. Joseph for pilgrims going to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. A Traveler's Mass will follow at noon.
Several members of the local Vitae Foundation staff will be involved with national activities in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday and Wednesday, including Dr. Pat Castle, who will take over as Vitae president this summer, emceeing the Annual Law of Life Summit.
The theme this year is "For the Honor and Glory of Jesus Christ and in defense of human life."
The 4th annual Midwest March for Life Saturday will begin at 10 a.m. at the governor's mansion and will lead to the Capitol, where a rally will be held on the southside steps.
Participating schools and organizations are encouraged to design positive signs and banners.
A luncheon will follow the rally in the Selinger Center, 216 Broadway St.
Steve Karlen, director of the North American Outreach for 40 Days for Life, will be the guest speaker at both the rally and the luncheon.
When the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics agreed to perform late-term abortions, Karlen spearheaded a statewide response drawing thousands to participate in demonstrations, vigils and rallies.
Soon after, the late-term abortion plan was scrapped.
In addition to Karlen, guest speakers will include Carl Landwehr, Vitae Caring Foundation; Pam Fichter, Missouri Right to Life; Mike Hoey, executive director of Missouri Catholic Conference; Bridget VanMeans, ThriVe St. Louis; Brian Westbrook, Coalition for Life St. Louis; Bill Pauls, LIFE Runners; and Reagan Nielsen, Students for Life.
Call 571-403-2977 to reserve a free seat at the luncheon.
Organizations including LIFE Runners, Vitae, Columbia 40 Days for Life and the Coalition for Life-St. Louis will set up informational booths in the Selinger Center.
Prior to Saturday's rally, LIFE Runners will host a walk/run beginning at 8 a.m. at the Capitol steps.
"We will introduce a statewide initiative to show a quick and easy way for attendees to become more active in life-affirming activities that will lead to an abortion-free Missouri," Forck said. "We are just so excited that so many people have already pledged their support of this event and have registered for the pro-life luncheon."