Friday, January 23, 2015

Marching Orders



  1. The right to life is a moral principle based on the belief that a human being has the right to live and, in particular, should not to be unjustly killed by another human being.  ~National Right to Life

Yesterday marked the 42nd anniversary of the passage of Roe v. Wade:  the decision that made abortion legal in the United States.  Yesterday also marked the 42nd anniversary of the March for Life, a peaceful gathering of pro life individuals.  What began as a small protest has grown into a march of almost 500,000 people, from all across the United States and countries around the world.  What the secular media will try to label as "a few thousand gathered to protest abortion" is actually an amazing multitude of people from many religions and every walk of life, all marching together--not so much to protest as to proclaim that all life is precious.

Yesterday marked the first time I have been a participant.  I can say without hesitation that it was a life-changing event for me.

Our trip began around 10 p.m., where a group of 30 joined together for prayer and a blessing, before boarding a bus headed southeast to Washington, D.C.  We arrived around 4:30 or 5:00 a.m.

Our first stop was the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  We were able to spend quite some time walking throughout the entire building, visiting the many small chapels, and taking in the beauty of the worship space.  During that time, a nice surprise for myself and our younger son:  our older son, who was there with his college, was also at the basilica!

After Mass with the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, we headed to the Renaissance Hotel, where booths were set up for many different organizations that support the pro life cause.  A highlight for me was meeting Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who is now pro life.

Following a quick lunch, we began our walk to the National Mall for the opening rally.  As we drew closer to the site, the crowd was swelling.  Though we were unable to hear the speakers (all sound was pointed away from where we were standing), the enthusiasm of the thousands of people gathered was very infectious!  One group closest to us was the Catholic University of America.  Don't let anyone ever tell you that young people cannot be passionate about anything.  They were both passionate, and full of excitement to share the truth that all life matters!

At the end of the rally, the crowds began shifting out onto the street, and the march began.  From what I have been told, this was the largest gathering and the longest march to date.  Throughout our march, we saw people from Christian churches and schools (Lutheran, Catholic, and many others!), an Orthodox Jewish couple, Feminists for Life, and the list goes on and on.  There was the brass and bagpipe band from the Netherlands, playing American patriotic music as well as Christian-themed songs.  There were men and women from a variety of religious orders.  One order walking nearest to us was a group of young Dominicans.  In their flowing black cloaks, they reminded me of Jedi for life!  :o)  After the march, they gathered and sang beautifully in Latin.  (Singing Jedi knights?  Maybe!)

As we marched to our final destination, the steps of the Supreme Court building, and the crowd began to disperse, there was almost a sense of saying goodbye to over 400,000 of your new best friends.  All was quite silent as we cut through the area nearest the Capitol Building, where we were not allowed to carry our signs past the blockades.  A very kind police officer answered my question by saying there had been no permits issued for a protest by the Capitol, so the signs could not go into that area.  I was saddened that standing for life was consider such.



After returning to our bus, we embarked on the journey home.  We had very little sleep, but made some great memories!

It is my hope that one day, Roe v. Wade will be overturned.  It is my hope that one day our nation will come back to valuing all human beings, from conception to natural death.  Until then, we will march...for life.



For more information how you can participate in the pro life movement, check out the links below:

http://www.nrlc.org/

http://marchforlife.org/

http://www.all.org/

One of my favorite sites:  Priests for Life, has a listing of pro-life websites for the entire United States.


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