Approximately 160 young people from five area Catholic high schools and eight parish youth groups traveled with an archdiocesan group to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life, which was held Jan. 19 to 24. Katie Ray, a sophomore at Totino-Grace High School in Fridley and membner of St. Rose of Lima parish in Roseville offered this reflection on the experience.
I experienced my first March for Life in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, and I will remember the trip for the rest of my life. As I left Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul before the trip, I had great expectations for the march, but what I experienced blew me away.
Our group from Totino-Grace High School in Fridley traveled with the Convent of the Visitation School group from Mendota Heights.
The Students For Life of America National Conference on Jan. 22 was amazing. We heard from Stephanie Gray of the Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. On the bus ride home, everyone decided that she was our favorite speaker. She talked about how we can defend our beliefs, and every one of us left that room knowing exactly what to say to someone who is pro-abortion.
She proved that an unborn baby is a person, countering the original arguments that they are not a person based on their environment, development, size and intelligence. She talked about how aborting a baby who was conceived through rape adds to the trauma.
The conference was very motivating and showed that young people can make a difference. From volunteering at pro-life agencies and sidewalk counseling to supporting a pregnant friend or helping a couple heal after the abortion of their baby, each one of us can make a difference!
Speakers said if each one of us were to help just one person, 2,000 babies would be saved.
Mary Kellett, a Minnesota mother, and Dr. John Bruchalski said that a shocking 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, and yet these children bring joy to all those around them because, like all children, they are created in the image and likeness of God.
We are the future
Every college and high school student left that conference knowing that we are the future of the pro-life movement and we can make a difference. We need to bring hope and support to those who think they have no other option and bring healing to those who’ve had abortions.
On Jan. 23, we got up early and went to the Verizon Center for the Youth Rally and Mass for Life with more than 17,000 other teens.
I had never experienced a Mass quite like this before. No one in that stadium could have doubted that this Mass was truly a celebration and that the Holy Spirit was present.
‘Here I Am, Lord’
Mass began with Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington and hundreds of bishops, priests and deacons processing in while the entire stadium sang the opening song, “Here I Am, Lord.” At the beginning, each bishop’s name was called. It was awesome to see and hear.
Perhaps one of the neatest parts of the trip for me was running into two friends of mine who live in Maryland. I had not seen them in three years, and yet there we were, all gathered at Mass in our support of life. In a stadium filled with 17,000 youth, who would imagine that we would run into each other!
The march itself was awesome. Although it was a rainy and cold day, more than half a million people joined us in the march. As we walked, we listened to many pro-life politicians and their strong beliefs that Roe v. Wade will be overturned soon because of all the people across the country who believe that life is precious and must be protected. We left Washington filled with hope and the will to make it happen.