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Hope, solidarity, joy, strength were the central themes that greeted pilgrims at the March for Life

For The Register
Washington — Pilgrims ranging from age five to adults traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 46th annual March for Life. Among the pilgrims was also a mix of first time marchers and people who have gone on the march before. Hanover resident Carolyn Lickteig attended the march for the seventh time this year. “We love being with these young people because they’re energetic and we believe in the same things,” she said. This was the third time for her husband David, a retired school teacher, to attend. “It’s good for us because we see the students and the parents that allow them to go are committed, and they can see we’re committed to what we believe…it gives us hope,” he said.
Lindy Meyer of Concordia, organized the trip for the diocese. This was the ninth time she attended the March for Life. Memorable experiences include once while pregnant, and the following year with a 7-month-old baby. The 180 pilgrims departed the Chancery Jan. 16 and traveled via charter bus to Washington, D.C. Three diocesan priests, Father Brian Lager, Father Soosai Soosaimari, HGN, and Father Ryan McCandless accompanied the pilgrims and provided sacraments. The central activities were the March for Life and rally held Friday, Jan. 19. After beginning their day with Mass with Archbishop Joseph Nauman of Kansas City and other groups from across Kansas, the pilgrims gathered on the National Mall for the pre-march rally. Following a concert from Christian band Sidewalk Prophets were encouraging speeches from a wide range of presenters, both affirming their pro-life stance and reminding listeners how much work there is to do to end abortion Not only were the messages themselves empowering, the environment of the rally itself was edifying to participants. “Seeing the thousands of people pouring in from every side,” said Sarah Bergkamp, a junior at K-State. “When you’re standing there waiting for the rally to start you can feel the surge of energy from everyone cheering and chanting pro-life chants.” 
After the rally came the March for Life itself, where marchers peacefully walked down Constitution Avenue to the United States Capital building. The marchers spanned all ages and abilities. Young parents came with their newborn babies; adult children helped elderly parents through the crowds; caregivers carefully negotiated the wheelchairs and walkers of disabled marchers through the crowds. Groups sang hymns, shouted chants, or prayed aloud as they walked. “On the March itself it’s hard to describe the feeling you get,” Bergkamp said. “It’s a mix of so many emotions. You’re feeling sad because of the reason you’re marching but you’re also so excited and happy to see the turnout and that you’re not alone in this fight of abortion.” Although the trip was short — allowing 48 hours in Washington, D.C. — the group was also able to make time for some sightseeing. A small group was able to meet Congressman Roger Marshall where he thanked pilgrims for making the trip and gave them a personal tour of the Capital building. Others took tours of Washington landmarks such as the Vietnam and Korean War memorials, Arlington National Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum. All of the pilgrims were able to tour the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, where the diocesan priests on the pilgrimage concelebrated Mass. 

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Volunteers pack meals for more than 600 children

The Register
Salina —  More than 1,070 volunteers gathered Jan. 20-21 to help pack meals for children around the globe as part of the Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event. Volunteers ranged from age five to 92 years of age, said coordinator Linda Ourada, a parishioner at St. Mary, Queen of the Universe in Salina. “I am grateful to all the volunteers who spent their time and efforts to make this a great success on Martin Luther King weekend ... the “Day of Service” ... to assemble the MannaPack meals,” Ourada said. “Starving children will live because of their effects.” Workers gathered in five shifts over two days to pack more than 225,500 meals. The meals will help feed 618 children for a full year. Megan Nobert,  who is the director of religious education at St. John the Baptist Church in Clyde, said students attended the 2016 MobilePack in Salina and enjoyed the experience. “We couldn't wait to go back,” she said. “This was a great service project for our 9th/10th grade Confirmation candidates.” In all, almost 60 youth and adults from the parish attended the event on Jan. 21. “As a Confirmation class, we talk about community service and how to best use the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit,” Norbert said. “A day spent serving together is a powerful way to see the Holy Spirit in action. “It is often difficult to find an opportunity for parents to serve alongside their young children or locate an organization that can accommodate a large group project. FMSC allows us the chance to serve together, without much age or participation restrictions. An added bonus is the high-energy, face-paced environment. Everyone has a great time while reaching out to feed the hungry and serve in the spirit of Jesus.” In addition to assembling the meals, Norbert said students in religious education collected quarters from home, and donated $300 in advance of the event. In all, the event raised more than $57,000, which went toward the cost of the meals. 
Other volunteers included Salina Mayor Dr. Trent Davis, Bishop Jerry Vincke and volunteers from a multitude of churches and towns. 
“It was awesome that Bishop Vincke volunteered,” Ourada said. “Our community needs to see the involvement of our Catholic clergy as they show us the way, as shepherds of the Catholic faith. The bishop’s involvement showed leadership to the Catholic community and working with people all faiths.” She said volunteers came from Sylvan Grove, Lucas, Wilson, Minneapolis, Topeka, Russell, Bennington, Lindsborg, Assaria, Wakefield, Ellsworth, Solomon, Clyde and Wichita to participate in the event. MannaPack rice bags consist of dried soy protein powder, vitamins, dehydrated vegetables and fortified rice. The people receiving these meals place the ingredients in a large kettle of boiling water and cook for 20 minutes before eating. Each bag packed contains six meals. The Boxes of MannaPack rice bags are delivered in more than 70 countries around the world. Ourada said the meals will be delivered to Sierra Leone is in West Africa and Guatemala in South America.

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