Two weeks ago I boarded a bus with members of my parish to travel to Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life, which commemorates the awful decision of our nation’s Supreme Court in 1973 to legalize abortion in our country. Each year on January 22nd people young and old (though the crowd is looking predominantly younger each year) participate in a peaceful march on our nation’s capital ending at the Supreme Court to voice our opposition to the “Roe vs Wade” decision and also to give a voice to the MOST vulnerable in society, those who do not have a voice of their own, the unborn!
You may or may not remember, but that was the same day that the East Coast was being hit by yet another snowstorm. We were about half way through CT when we heard that the Diocese had made the decision to call back all of the buses from the 5 High Schools that were heading down to DC. Disappointment overcame the people on the bus when I told them that we might have to turn around and head home! After considering the options, talking with the bus driver (and his boss) and looking at the forecast, we decided to press on and continue to Washington! The clear feeling of excitement and determination was truly present on the bus!
The normally 8-hour bus ride from MA to Washington, D.C. last 13 hours, but there was not a single complaint about the extra long ride or the freezing cold! The bus full of people truly understood that this was a “Pilgrimage” and accepted the challenges with a joyful heart! The young people on the bus led us in the recitation of the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet! Providentially, we watched the movie, “Restless heart” on the life and conversion of St. Augustine (one of the best movies on a the life of a saint that I have seen). The movie shows Augustine’s search for truth and meaning in his life – what a great inspiration for those of us preparing to March for Life.
Despite the FREEZING cold and snowy streets, there were still tens of thousands who gathered at the National Mall for the rally and March! Perhaps the cold and long bus ride were the reasons this was such a powerful experience for me personally. I have been going to the March since I was in high school, but this year, it just seemed so much more powerful! There was an obvious enthusiasm and sense of conviction in those present! If you have never been, think about joining us next year!
Now many probably don’t know much about the March for Life and that’s because the secular media doesn’t give it much coverage, probably because they are very much opposed to what we stand for and unlike St. Augustine, they aren’t really seeking truth themselves. But regardless of what the media shows or doesn’t, those present know the truth, that EVERY human life is SACRED and worth defending!
The March for Life is truly a great thing and one that I think most people should experience, if for no other reason than to witness so many young people united in positively standing up for what they believe! But the March for life is more than a trip to our nation’s capital, more than the rallies and speeches. It is also more than people being opposed to abortion, it is about being PROLIFE. It is a reunion of people who are committed to building the culture of life, coming together to remember a day and a court decision that is responsible for the death of over 55 MILLION PEOPLE!!! But the March is more than this too, it is an opportunity for those who are committed to defending life to recommit themselves to building a CULTURE OF LIFE!
You see, the work of the prolife community doesn’t culminate at the March for Life, but it is strengthened by it! Actually, the work of the prolife community really takes place when we get back from the March for Life! For us committed to building a culture of life as Blessed Pope John Paul II called us to is not just about changing laws, but about CHANGING HEARTS! It is our goal to convince people of the horrors of abortion, not just for the babies killed, but also for those mothers and fathers who lose their child in such a horrendous way, so that no one would ever again even consider such a thing.
For some of us, it is easy to call ourselves prolife, but it is much harder to actually work to bring about this culture of life. But there are practical ways in which we can (and MUST) do this. We can not just be against abortion, we must address the reasons why people would ever consider killing their child and work to help them in those crisis situations. What does being prolife require of us? For those who are afraid of bringing a child into the world, they need to know there are options other than abortion. Crisis pregnancy centers are an essential part of building this culture of life!
– We should know where they are and who to contact when someone is in a crisis pregnancy
– We should be donating time or money to crisis pregnancy centers
– We should be educating ourselves and our young people about the horrors of abortion
– We should be helping those who have had abortions with loving mercy and compassion.
If we are prolife, we must be committed to building a CULTURE OF LIFE!!! If we are prolife, we must always remember that the March for Life continues on after we leave Washington.