As you all know, a group of youth and adults traveled in the darkness of the early morning to attend the 35th annual March for Life event in Washington D.C. this past Tuesday, January 22nd (the anniversary of Roe v Wade). A caravan of at least 8 buses left from the Diocese of Raleigh to march with thousands of others from around the country to march against the destruction of life at any age or stage. There were many amazing things that I saw and heard that day which will stay with me forever, but there were a couple of things which surprised me that I would like to share with you.
Bishop Burbidge addresses the North Carolina contingency of marchers on the front steps of the National Shrine.
1. It was so Catholic! In my years at the University of Texas during the early 90’s, my husband and I were active in organizing the Austin Right to Life Rallies at the state capital. In those days, there were many religious faiths represented: Lutherans, Muslims, Evangelicals, Catholics, and the list goes on. What I was struck by 20 years later was that Catholics are seemingly the only ones left keeping this issue at the front of today’s political and social landscape. Now I am sure that there were more than just Catholics marching on Tuesday, but I did not see any evidence of it. I did see hundreds of nuns, priests, seminarians, catholic school kids, catholic college groups,groups praying the rosary, Knights of Columbus members…and the list goes on, and on. It was a great big Catholic gathering! It made me proud to be part of such a caring, socially active group.
2. It was so YOUNG! Again, back in Austin, the participants marching were of a variety of ages. But what I saw in Washington D.C. were our YOUTH! Youth groups were everywhere; holding banners from many schools and colleges from around the country as well as from local schools. I read that the entire student and staff population of Christendom College came to march.
Nicholas holds his sign. Enough said.
10:30am North Carolinian Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Over 1000 North Carolinian Catholics posing for a picture on the steps of the National Shrine. (Rebecca can be found on the far right in black sweatshirt and red jacket. Do you see her?)
As I marched down Pennsylvania avenue with my group, I thought of past marches and protests. Whereas the youth of the 60’s marched for civil rights, and the youth of the 70’s marched against the Vietnam war. Both groups were arguably successful in their efforts. In the same light, it seems as if the cause of today’s youth is: Life. And the respecting of it. I have great hopes that THIS generation of youth…the ones most hurt by abortion (having 1 out of every 4 peers lost to abortion)…will be the generation that will change hearts and minds of others to eradicate what Pope John Paul calls “The culture of death”. Whether through marching, helping an unwed mother, eliminating poverty, prayer, or counseling; all of it makes a difference in someone’s LIFE.