I walk away from these events with two emotions generally prevalent. The first is a sense of gratitude for all of the faithful who continue to stand up for life after 43 years of repercussions from a horrendous U.S. Supreme Court decision which trampled upon the unalienable rights of the unborn child. The second emotion is a sense of sadness. Why do so few join us in being a witness to the sacred dignity and value of each human life?
Cheyenne is not a large city and Wyoming is the least populated state in the country. However, getting less than 300 people to attend an event like this is truly disheartening. The fear that takes abode in my heart is that we have become a church that is complacent and apathetic to the plight of the unborn. There were numerous Christian denominations present at the march, and I am grateful to each church that promoted the event and encouraged members of its congregation to get involved. I saw people from all four corners of the state and many towns in between as well, plus the few folks from out of state. Why do I mention this? It begs a simple question. Where were the people of Cheyenne?
I would estimate that there were a minimum of 100 people present from outlying areas. Thus, that would give an estimate of about 200 people from Cheyenne in attendance. The three Catholic parishes in Cheyenne average nearly 3,000 people each week that participate in the Sunday liturgy. That is not how many registered members there are. This is the actual number of people who actually show up on a weekly basis. It represents about 30% of the entire registered parishioners for the three parishes. Even if there were no participants at the march coming from different Christian denominations, one would think we would have greater attendance just based on the number of Catholics in the city. There was no great distance to travel, no snow, no ice, and no excuse for a significant portion of Christian believers.
Matthew Kelly has suggested from the research at Dynamic Catholic that about 7% of Catholics are actively involved in their faith. I was shocked when I took my calculator out and divided 200 by 3,000. The result is 7%. Some of these people at the march from Cheyenne were not Catholic. Thus, we had less than 7% of Catholics participate. Remember, this number reflects 7% of actual weekly church-goers. If we divided 200 by the total of all registered Catholic households it would be an even more dismal number. Are that few of registered Catholics in Cheyenne truly pro-life and willing to take a public stand and declare their pro-life position? Obviously, some people have health issues and other legitimate reasons for not marching. However, that is a small percentage of the group. My heart is grieved at the lack of response. There is a lot of work to be done in building a culture of life.