This post may be slightly overdue by a couple of days; nevertheless, I still think it bears relevance. Well, I finally did it! I finally attended the March for Life in Washington D.C. It was an awesome experience! Alas, 8 days later and some of the excitement “of the moment” has worn off. Yet, no length of time will be able to completely erase the indelible impact this experience has left upon me. In this post I am going to talk about two events that occurred on the March for Life – namely the Vigil Mass for Life in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception and the actual March itself – and how these experiences are still exerting their influence on me today.
Let’s start with the Vigil Mass for Life.
Having never been to Washington D.C. before, I was totally unprepared for just how “big” everything was. I will forever remember when I first saw the Washington Monument from my bus window. It was huge! I had of course seen it in pictures, but gazing upon it in all of it’s towering glory was an awe-inspiring experience. The same feeling of awe pervaded me when I first looked upon the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception. It too was “huge” (for lack of a better word).
What was equally amazing was the size of the crowd in attendance for the Mass. To give you an idea of it’s size, consider that we arrived there almost two hours before the Mass began and already the crypts, and all of the alcoves and aisles of the Main Church were packed. During the two-hour wait, even more people somehow managed to find a place to stand.
The Mass itself was unspeakably beautiful! The entrance procession alone took over 45 minutes, there were so many clergy (5 Cardinals, 42 Bishops, 395 priests, 80 deacons and 520 seminarians). I joked, seeing so many seminarians, that it was hard to imagine that we had a clergy shortage! On a more serious note, it really was a heartening experience to see and be a part of the Mystical Body of Christ in action, full force, worshiping Him who created all “Life.” It was better than being a part of any other crowd or “movement.” I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would have rather been that night.
Despite the fact the I was tired and my feet were numb, I was in jubilation. No matter how long I live, I’ll never forget that Mass.
One of the moments that left the greatest impact on me was during the Homily, delivered by the Main Celebrant, His Eminence Cardinal Sean O’Malley. One particular quote of his really stuck out: “The society that allows parents to kill their children will allow children to kill their parents.” Over the past week, I’ve been reflecting on the frightening truth of this statement. How many thought that abortion on demand in this nation would be impossible? How many think that Euthanasia on demand is still impossible? Don’t be deceived! The Culture of Death is a vicious cycle, what goes around comes around again.
Now on to the March for Life.
One word pervaded the entire event – “solidarity!” Roman Catholics, Eastern Rite Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Baptists, numerous other denominations and even those with no religion whatsoever – 650,000 total persons took to Constitution Avenue to protest this Nation’s legal protection of the Culture of Death. Yet this was far more than “just another demonstration” or protest. This was a procession and we were martyrs in the truest sense of the word – we were witnesses to the Sanctity of Life. We told the President, Congress, the Justices of the Supreme Court, the Nation and indeed the whole world that “Life” begins at conception and ends with natural death. We demanded an end to that the illegitimate “legal” protection given everything done to tamper with, inhibit or destroy the lives of both the pre-born, the born and most especially the most vulnerable citizens of these United States.
Wow! You think this is amazing! Equally amazing is that such a unique event – the largest Civil Rights “demonstration” anywhere – is deemed not news worthy by the public media. Sad, so sad to see how fast this country is loosing our footing. We call ourselves the “Land of the free and the Home of the Brave.” Yet, it is home to so many “cowardly slaves” who apathetically comply with the status quo of the Culture of Death and by their complacency advance this Culture’s aggressive agenda.
The “take home moment” from the March occurred for me, though, when we wound our way with the crowd onto Constitution Ave. As we turned a corner, there was a large projector screen flashing some of the most graphic pictures of abortions. It reminded me of the pictures of the concentration camps and the Nazi Holocaust. I only lingered there for 30 seconds at most, but that was all the time necessary. Inwardly, I promised myself and God that anything that I could do to save any of His littlest ones, I would do!
So, a week and a day later, what have I done to make good on my promise? Well, in the eyes of the world, and even in the eyes of someone solely concerned with activity, I’ve really done nothing – except for educating myself a little. Yet, God sees deeper and I know that my ever-increasing prayers to end these evils will not go unheard.
So next year, if the unjust laws of this country remain, and we have to return (which we most likely will have to do), please consider joining us. For while the March for Life is indeed a protest against abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and other Culture of Death-promoting practices, it is even more fundamentally a celebration of the intrinsic value and Sanctity of each and every human LIFE. Let’s send a million people down Constitution Ave., and see if the world can ignore that! God Bless You!