A native Texan, Bishop John Yanta was born on a farm in Runge on October 2, 1931.  He passed away in his San Antonio home on August 6, 2022. Most everyone knows that Bishop Yanta was Polish and embraced his ancestry.  So much so that he was instrumental in establishing the Polish Heritage Center in Panna Maria. He so loved this small Polish town that he made Panna Maria his bodily resting place. 

Yanta was named Bishop of the Amarillo Diocese on January 21, 1997 by Pope John Paul II. Installed on March 17, 1997, he held this position until his retirement on March 3, 2008. He moved back to San Antonio where he made his residence.

While serving as the Bishop of the Amarillo Diocese, he learned that there were 19 Planned Parenthood facilities killing the unborn there. He immediately went into action.  He worked with Rita Diller, Respect for Life Director, to oust this conglomerate out of his diocese.  It took ten years of hard work, but in 2007 the last two abortion facilities separated from PP and PP was gone from the diocese.

After his return to San Antonio, Bishop Yanta was part of the STOPppSA effort regarding the creation of the 2140 Babcock Road facility.  He actively worked to prevent the opening of this abortion mega-facility by testifying before the SA City Council and protesting with prayer in front of the PP facility.   Bishop Yanta used Matthew 25: 31-34 when he testified in front of the SA City Council. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."The spirited Bishop told them plain and simple, “the sheep will go to heaven and the goats will go to hell.”

I began photographing the annual Life Chain event in October 2010. It was then that I was fortunate to meet Bishop Yanta as he took his place in the Life Chain on San Pedro Ave in San Antonio, Texas. Because of his prolife stance, I have focused on his legacy as a tenacious and courageous advocate.

Life Chain is an annual event in San Antonio and elsewhere in the USA.  It began in 1987 in Yuba City, California. It has been a popular event for prolife advocates in San Antonio for over two decades.  

A longtime friend of Bishop Yanta, Al Notzon, told me that, “He was always staunchly pro-life, and in 1993, Msgr. Yanta was arrested and jailed for blocking the entrance to the New Women’s Clinic abortion center on the 20th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling. John Walter Yanta lived his convictions no matter the personal costs.”

Weston Martinez who sponsored the Life Chain until 2013 told me that, “Bishop Yanta was always extremely kind and respectful to me even though I am not a Catholic.”

The San Antonio Family Association has sponsored the Life Chain for the last nine years.  Patrick Von Dohlen said that, “Bishop John W. Yanta was a remarkable man. He was a cheerful disciple of Jesus, a devoted son of his mom and dad, a lover of The Truth, and a tireless doer of The Word.  He was an indefatigable defender of human life, a consummate encourager of God’s children who led a life of heroic virtue, persevering through many difficulties and hardships for love of God and His Church.   He was an exemplary role model for us ordinary individuals.  He knew the blessing of virtue and the benefit of a family hunting together as he himself was an outdoorsman. He understood and advocated that marriage was the bedrock of society and that the family was the building block of society.”  

This Sunday, October 2, marks 35 years that the Life Chain has been held in San Antonio. A reminder that just because Roe has been reversed does not mean that the abortion industry is going away. They are not! This ‘business’ makes too much money by preforming abortions and selling baby’s body parts for them to fade away.  It is obvious that the biden administration is working very hard with the Department of Justice to stifle the prolife movement.  Prolife advocates are being threatened, injured and jailed for their beliefs.  The Pregnancy Crisis Centers are being targeted for vandalism and destruction.  Yet nothing from the biden administration to stop these atrocities.

Be ready to stand for the unborn on Sunday, October 2 in San Antonio starting at 12:30 pm with the March to Unite for Life. Other activities include speakers and the Hero Award will be presented before the actual Life Chain from 2-3pm.

Hope to SEE as many of you there: LIFE is our First Inalienable Right!  





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