Everyone is invited to celebrate life Jan. 25 in Austin
By Michele Chan Santos
Thousands of Catholics from around the state will come to Austin for Texas Catholic Pro-Life Day on Jan. 25. A prayer vigil, rosary, Mass, a march to the Capitol and a party at the University Catholic Center will combine for a full day of events open to anyone who would like to attend.
James Esquivel and his wife, Corina Esquivel, make a point of bringing their four children –– three teenagers and their younger sibling –– to Texas Catholic Pro-Life Day each year.
The Esquivels are members of St. Anthony Marie de Claret Parish in Kyle, and James is the pro-life coordinator at the parish. He is also on the planning committee for this year’s Texas Catholic Pro-Life Day.
The Esquivels don’t just bring their own children to Pro-Life Day. They bring many members of the St. Anthony Marie de Claret youth group as well, both middle school and high school students.
“This is a full day of Catholic education and experiences,” James Esquivel said. “We pray the rosary, attend Mass, go to the march and the party afterward. The entire event demonstrates the unity of Catholics. We meet people from all across the state of Texas.”
A highlight of the day is the Mass at San José Parish in Austin, which will begin at 10:30 a.m. and is con-celebrated by Bishop Joe Vásquez and Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey. Bishop Mulvey lived and worked in the Diocese of Austin prior to being named bishop of Corpus Christi in 2010.
“Every year, Bishop Mulvey brings busloads of people from his diocese,” Esquivel said. “There are lots of other priests, deacons and seminarians at the Mass,” in addition to hundreds of people attending. “If you go, get there at least an hour early if you want to get a seat,” he advised.
Asked what he would say to Catholics who are interested in going but have never attended Pro-Life Day before, Esquivel said, “Don’t be afraid to attend anything that says Pro-Life. We are radical in our love and in our faith. Even just the Mass, to come and pray; that is the most important part.”
The Texas Rally for Life will be held from 1 to 3 p.m.; it will feature pro-life leaders and speakers from across the state. Marchers will meet at 1600 North Congress Avenue at 1 p.m., march to the Capitol at 1:30 p.m. and rally on the south steps of the Capitol building from 2 to 3 p.m.
After the march and rally, there will be a “Party for Life” from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the University Catholic Center on the University of Texas campus in Austin. About 1,000 people are expected to attend the party, said Dorothy Harper, campus minister at the center. Harper is on the planning committee for Texas Catholic Pro-Life Day.
Harper recommended parking at St. Austin Parish’s parking garage, at MLK and San Antonio; the charge is $1 an hour. Another parking option is the Dobie garage.
The party is free; food and drink will be served. The family-friendly event is meant as a fun end to a full day. “The events start early in the morning, the party is a way for people to socialize and relax,” Harper said. “I think it will be a great day.”
The schedule for Texas Catholic Pro-Life Day
7 a.m. Prayer Vigil: Meet at San José Parish in Austin
9:45 a.m. Rosary for Life at San José Parish in Austin
10:30 a.m. Pro-Life Mass at San José Parish in Austin
Lunch will be available for $5 a plate at the Parish Activity Center immediately after Mass.
1-3 p.m. Texas Rally for Life at the Capitol, visit www.texasrallyforlife.org.
3:30-5:30 p.m. Party for Life at UT Catholic Center, University of Texas campus
For more information, visit www.CentralTexasProLife.org or call (512) 949-2486.