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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Runners from across the world participate in annual pro-life marathon

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

PENSACOLA, Florida, November 30, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life runners wearing "Remember the Unborn" shirts gathered in Pensacola for the largest-ever LIFE Runners team, speaking the truth to both abortion-minded and post-abortion grieving women.

“Run/walk as a prayer until we cross the finish line that ends abortion" is the LIFE Runners' team mission.

Joining the largest-ever 5K team was Catholic Bishop Bill Wack of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, who offered a pre-run blessing. The national anthem was followed by an opening prayer, and then the runners were off.

Each year, LIFE Runners do "missionary" run/jog/walks wearing a reference to a scripture in Jeremiah: "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."

In the fall, LIFE Runners do a Half/Full Marathon and 5K, and in the spring during Lent, the organization sponsors a major "Relay across America."  

The organization website counts "over 100 LIFE Runners from across America, Canada, and Fiji" participated in the Pensacola event.

Catholic leaders have participated in LIFE runs in the past, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Bishop Gregory Parkes, Bishop Dwayne Gruss, and more than 100 priests, deacons, and seminarians.

LIFE Runners has attracted pro-lifers worldwide, including Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, England, Fiji, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Poland, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Tanzania, Trinidad/Tobago, Tonga, and Turkey.

Registration is open for LIFE Runners' 2018 A-Cross America Relay, which will take place during Lent, here.

"These annual race weekend retreats strengthen our faith and resolve to live out our mission," LIFE Runners founder and coach Dr. Pat Castle said. "These prayerful times are the most important to face the reality of the battlefield that is abortion."

Participants visited the Alpha pregnancy help center and prayed at a local abortion facility. "This beautiful center was clearly a sanctuary of hope and love for women facing unplanned pregnancy," Castle added. "They continue their relationship with women after pregnancy and offer counseling for those who chose abortion."

Fifty LIFE Runners prayed fervently in front of the abortion facility. "We poured our hearts out to God concerning this place," Castle said. "Father Adam generously offered the Sacrament of Reconciliation across the street while many prayed ... for an end to abortion."  

Catholic runners began the event with a Mass "in thanksgiving for life." Afterward, the Knights of Columbus served a pre-race banquet.

"People were obviously moved by our presence based on comments" received, Castle noted. "We impacted hearts and minds for saving lives. ... These race retreat weekends build friendships."

More pictures may be viewed here.

 

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