The last time I went to the March for Life, I forgot my camera. I’m happy to say that this year, I brought it.
On Friday morning, Curly and I rose early, bundled up in long underwear and double the socks and layer upon layer of clothing, and headed to our church to board the bus with the youth group for the hour-long trip.
Our first stop was the Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, where the Arlington Diocese hosted a youth rally and Mass.
Let me pause and be honest here for just a moment. I was slightly bummed that we weren’t going to THE Youth Rally, the one at the Verizon Center–where there would be priests and bishops and youth from ALL OVER the country. Father Leo Patalinghug–aka “The Cooking Priest”–was there in 2011. For two years I’ve had this fantasy of meeting him at this year’s youth rally, maybe having him hear my confession, and striking up a conversation with him about food. Heck, even Cardinal Timothy Dolan was supposed to be there this year, darn it!!
Of course, THAT rally didn’t have Steve Angrisano to emcee’ the event, Matt Maher to provide wonderful music, or Elizabeth McClung to give an awesome motivational talk. (I saw snippets of the Verizon Center rally over the weekend on EWTN, and guess what? OUR rally had much better music. Ha.)
The best part of the Life Is Very Good youth rally: The Mass.
During his homily, Bishop Loverde showed everyone a model of what a baby looks like at about 32 weeks (I’m not sure of the exact number), which was right around the age he was when he was born prematurely. He told the story about how his parents tried to conceive for years, and doctors had told them they would never have children. When his mother became pregnant, her doctor didn’t believe her at first. She had a difficult pregnancy and was put on bed rest, and she went into labor two months early. When he was born the doctors thought he wouldn’t survive, but miraculously, he did.
He also wanted to show the kids that while we work so hard to nurture children born prematurely like he was, and are joyful when these babies survive and thrive, babies like this are being killed every day by abortion.
Next we headed to the Mall in Washington, just as they were finishing up the rally there. Soon it was time to march!
(During our brief time on the Mall, we ran into our old friend Father Stefan!)
It was crowded. It was cold. It snowed. But just like the two other Marches for Life we have participated in, there was a spirit of prayer, unity, and even joy. We come from all over the country, from different faiths and traditions, and we all have different ways of expressing our support for Life. (Read Simcha Fisher’s article about how the March for Life is a mishmash of faiths and personalities and prolife groups, not particularly organized; and even though we sometimes disagree on how to stop abortion, we are all marching for one purpose: To stand up for the most vulnerable in our society, the unborn.)
January 22, 1973 was a dark day in America, but every time I go to a March I have hope that one day we will march to celebrate the day abortion was abolished.