March for Life Chronicle
Dear Friends from the Newman Center,
We write to all of you after having participated in the Pro-Life activities here in DC. It was the first time for all of us and it was a very powerful experience of the growing desire in our country to protect all lives.
It began with a completely packed vigil mass for life at 5:30 pm on Thursday at the National Shrine. Cardinal Dolan presided and celebrated the mass with more than a hundred priests, 50 bishops, cardinals, and people from all over the country. We got there over an hour before the mass and it was already completely full. They were sending people down to the crypt where they had set up screens to watch the mass. We ended up squeezing in a standing room only place next to a column near the front, but it was well worth the squeeze. The amazing thing was to see that the majority of the people there were high school and college students who had traveled by bus for 10, 15, and sometimes more than 20 hours to get there. Cardinal Dolan preached with power! He finished the homily saying that above all else, we must pray because Satan exists and it is he who is behind all the evil of abortion. We are weak, but we are like David who put his trust in the Lord and it was the Lord who gave him the victory.
The next day, we went to the mass in the Capital One Arena (the stadium of the Washington Wizards). Once more, the place was packed with students from all over, and an entire section of the stadium was for seminarians and religious. All in all, there were about 15,000 people present for the mass. Cardinal Wuerl of DC celebrated and a young priest from the DC area gave the homily which really impacted all of us there. He focused on the first reading from Jeremiah, in which the Lord says to him, “before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” Each person is created out of love and chosen for life by God from the moment of conception. Each one, from that first moment, is created for a unique purpose. It was a powerful message and having the mass just before the march was the best possible way to prepare ourselves to go out and bear witness.
The march is something truly incredible to behold. More than 500,000 people gathered, marching, praying, singing...Before the march, Sister Bethany, one of the superiors of the Sisters for Life spoke and then prayed for the march. She is truly an inspiring person. She invoked the Holy Spirit with faith and conviction, and we could feel His presence among us. After that, for the first time in history, the president, vice president, and speaker of the house all spoke in favor of the march. What was surprising is that all of them spoke of God, the need to pray, and the sanctity of human life.
It was striking to see that the majority of the people at the march were Catholics. Many big groups from different diocese and also Catholic schools marched, praying rosaries, singing the Salve Regina or Immaculate Mary, and whole drum lines and marching bands were motivating the crowd. It was a strong sign to all present of the unity of the Church.
Lastly, on Saturday we finished the Pro-Life activities with the Students for Life National conference. More than 2,000 students from all parts of the country had come to participate. They brought great speakers like Trent Horn from Catholic Answers, medical professionals, and people completely dedicated to the cause. One such person is Jason Scott Jones, who is an author, boxer, and the producer of the film Bella, who surprisingly gave a talk directed to men, explaining how being pro-life is the option of a real man because it implies commitment and true love.
What called our attention the most was their insistence on focusing on the goal: to end abortion in this country. Throughout the whole conference, we chanted, “We are the pro-life generation,” and they repeatedly said that if we work hard at this, we can be sure that we will see the end of abortion in our generation. It was a motivating series of events and we recommend it to whomever has the possibility to go.
Aaron, John, Keefe, and Juan Maria
Aaron, John, Keefe, and Juan Maria are all studying towards the priesthood at the Catholic University of America. They are living together with Fr. Ivan Pertine in a newly-founded House of Studies in Washington, DC.