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BOSTON -- Hundreds of pro-life supporters stopped traffic around the Boston Common as they marched, sang, and prayed during the 2017 Massachusetts March for Life on Oct. 1.
Hosted by Massachusetts Citizens for Life, the event began at 1 p.m. with a rally at the Parkman Bandstand in Boston Common. The rally included live praise and worship music and a series of pro-life speakers.
"We are not marching for blobs of tissue, we are marching for people with beating hearts," said Helen Cross, editor of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life Magazine.
According to Anne Fox, president of MCFL, the goal of the march is to educate people about pro-life issues and revitalize those who are already active in the pro-life community.
Speakers at the rally included representatives from 40 Days for Life and the Archdiocese of Boston's Pro-Life Office. Marchers were encouraged to visit information booths for pregnancy help centers and other pro-life organizations that were present at the event.
Massachusetts State Rep. Jim Lyons, R-Andover, addressed the crowd about his initiative to stop tax money from being used for abortions.
"Can anyone here rationally tell us why our state tax dollars should be used for what Massachusetts General Law describes as the intentional and willful destruction of an unborn child?" Lyons asked the crowd.
Lyons quoted the law, which says that abortion is "the knowing destruction of the life of an unborn child or the intentional expulsion or removal of an unborn child from the womb."
He urged attendees to sign the petition to eliminate tax-funded abortions.
David Franks, chairman of the Board of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life, reminded the crowd that it is our duty as Americans to protect the right to life and to cry out against the injustice of abortion and euthanasia.
"This is what we were all made for; a communion that excludes no human being no matter how powerless," Franks said. "Sing gently into each heart that hates us for hating abortion, sing on and on in greatness of heart and mind until every fellow citizen, every human, has joined the chorus."
The march began around 2:30 p.m., after Father Matt Williams led the attendees in a send-off prayer. High school students brandishing an MCFL banner led the procession out of the Common and onto the street, where they chanted, sang, and prayed as they marched.
Cardinal Seán O'Malley, joining the March following the Public Safety Mass in West Roxbury, took his place among the young people at the front of the march. They stopped in front of the State House, where the cardinal spoke about creating a world in which people are more important than money.
"We want to witness to the sense of community that is going to be the antidote for the individualism and the isolation that leads people to make terrible decisions about life, whether at the beginning of life or at the end of life," Cardinal O'Malley said.
He gave the crowd a final blessing and led them in a Hail Mary before they headed back to the Bandstand.
Leah Kelley, a parishioner at Sacred Heart in Weymouth, attended the march with her four young sons.
"I need to make sure that (my sons) grow up to be strong, Catholic men that believe in life."
Other marchers included members of the Harvard Law Students for Life.
"I think that this is the most important social justice issue of our time," said Steven Obiajulu, a Harvard Law student and member of the group.