It was a statement of life and passion for more than 30 people to brave sub-freezing temperatures Friday in Baker and walk about one mile to St. John’s Catholic Church from its downtown start next to the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad crossing.
Bundled against the cold, they marched along Main Street and Highway 7 until the group turned west and climbed the hill past Longfellow School to the church.
Fr. Paul Eberle of the St. Charles Catholic Church was there with people from the Bowman County communities of Rhame, Bowman and Marmarth. “Father Philip, who is the priest here (in Baker) is back home in India. So he wasn’t here today.
“This is the 20th year they have been doing it (the March for Life) here,” he added.
The march is generally held around the anniversary of the Roe versus Wade decision made by the United States Supreme Court in 1973, he added.
“It is a day of prayer for the protection of the unborn on Jan. 22 every year,” he added, noting that many of the parishioners from North Dakota come over to Baker each year to participate. “Some will go to Dickinson because Dickinson has one tonight (Friday). There will be a service and a vigil,” he said.
The march started about 11 a.m. and ended when they arrived at the church about 20 minutes later, pausing momentarily on the steps for pictures before going inside to get warm and pray.
Fr. Eberle said that he thought that cold and COVID might have kept the numbers of walkers down Friday.
“We are praying for the end of abortion and to help women who are expecting – to help them through their pregnancies. It is both to support the mothers and the unborn child,” he explained.
Along the route, some of the members prayed the rosary, Fr. Eberle said.
He said he has been coming to Baker for the march for the last four years, ever since he was assigned to Bowman. In addition, he said the march usually brings some people from Ekalaka.
He was appreciative of the unusual weather – sunny and a warm 20 degrees. This is not what he sees as normal Montana winter weather, Fr. Eberle said.
“We are all here to pray for respect... an end to abortion … and to respect life every moment from when life begins at the moment of conception … until natural death,” he explained.
According to Steve Zachmann, one of the walkers, it was good weather and perfect for the one-mile walk.
“We have had some really cold nasty days and we have had some warm ones,” he said. “This one was kind of in the middle, but it was sunny.
“That is not a bad walk, actually,” he added.
Zachmann said there was a few more people in 2020.
Some of the people on the march were reciting the Rosary along the way, he added.
Historically, the March for Life has been done on Jan. 22. “We do it on the anniversary of Roe versus Wade. We have done it on the same day every year for about 20 years now.
“On every one of them, we wish the Supreme Court had not made that decision,” he added. “There is lots of problems with that decision but it was kind of a forgone conclusion before they made that decision.”
He added that he and the others will keep marching every Jan. 22 until the decision is reversed.