Cardinal DiNardo leads death row procession

November 24, 2008 4:28:31 PM PST
Saying they want to promote the sanctity of life, several hundred people traveled to Huntsville Monday morning. The group was made up mostly of Catholics, including one very prominent one - Cardinal Daniel DiNardo. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

They said their protest was to call attention to the value of life, whether unborn or condemned, which is why the group ended their procession at TDCJ's death row.

The prayers were as constant as the step. The procession moved forward at a steady clip as over 300 people walked quietly through the heart of Huntsville from the Planned Parenthood offices traveling north of the Walls Unit. It was a chance, many say, to protest against abortion and state executions of convicted criminals.

"It is a total day of prayer and on days of prayer, we are in solidarity with all and anything that would even resemble we're doing anything political, we cast aside today," said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo with the Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston.

"Jesus brought life," said Debbie Lazarou, who participated in the march. "We are here to preserve and protect it, and even those who are judged, it is his right to judge, not ours."

The procession was as much about what you didn't see. There were no signs, no shouting. Organizers were very clear about what they did not want to happen today.

"We are promoting it in a way that is prayerful, that is thoughtful, that is reflective so that way, we can have people think about why the church promotes a culture of life, not necessarily to shout at people, not necessarily to yell at people to make our point," said Andy Rivas with the Texas Catholic Conference.

The procession is part of an event called Pilgrimage for Life, sponsored by the Texas Catholic Conference. During the peaceful procession, participants prayed and sang. Despite the subdued tone, Planned Parenthood officials increased their security and warned their clients about the large group.

"When you have large groups like this, it's hard to control a crowd," said Rochelle Tafolla with Planned Parenthood. "It's hard to know what every persons' intention is. We're mostly concerned our our clients' safety."

The procession lasted less than an hour. The group says their prayer spoke louder than any harsh words.

Despite the large gathering, there were no counter protests and no interaction with the public. Meanwhile, the Walls Unit remains active. At least 10 Texas inmates are scheduled to be executed next year. nwhile, the Walls Unit remains active. At least 10 Texas inmates are scheduled to be executed next year.

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