Local students reflect on March for Life pilgrimage

A group of Catholic high school students joined the archdiocese’s first Pilgrimage for Life sponsored by the Pro-Life and Vocations Offices to attend March for Life Jan. 22-24 in Washington, D.C. Several students and one of the organizers have been kind enough to share their reflections on some of the most poignant moments of that experience.

This walk encouraged me and motivated me and gave me hope that our country can be saved. This pilgrimage helped me see the wrong in my country and let me know I am not alone in my beliefs. I want to keep my country free to make right choices! JenniferPresentation of Mary Academy

While marching I noticed looking around at different banners of churches and organizations that not everyone was Catholic. It was great to see delegations from Lutheran, Episcopal and Baptist churches and even a group of Atheists for Life. Just the fact that people were able to breech the barriers that separate our respective religions to unite for one cause is truly moving. As Cardinal McCarrick put it in the rally Mass before the walk, “It is not a Catholic issue; it is a life issue.” The powerful truth of those words still live in my mind today, and will forever be a reminder of what it is that I am fighting for. Chris Xavieran Brothers High School

Monday was my favorite day! Monday was the day that my being there meant the world to the unborn that died because of Roe vs. Wade. I was the voice for the future unborn, the innocents who can’t speak for themselves. I never truly understood the influence of life until Monday. The thought that I could have an impact on a person, gave me chills. I never felt so important in my life…To be part of something with this power and magnitude makes this fight much easier because you know you’re not doing it alone. Lauren Presentation of Mary Academy

For the first time in my life I was able to join in and participate in a cause that I feel deeply about. This cause is the right to life. I feel it is the biggest cause worth fighting for in our society today and my experience on the Walk for Life Pilgrimage was one that I’ll never forget…

It was really inspiring to see how many young adults and teens came together for this cause. This sight was truly inspiring and made me realize that no matter what, you are not alone.

During the walk, I was extremely distressed to see many graphic images. Even though we were warned that we could possibly see these posters, it was a really sad thing to see. These posters were meant to have a message, but I think they were very disrespectful. I know we discussed this issue in the chapel after the walk, but I feel strongly about this matter. The whole point of the Respect for Life Walk was to show just that, our respect for life. These graphic images were very disrespectful. They made me realize that there is a clear and distinct way to fight for pro-life that does not include something as dramatic as that. Ashley Presentation of Mary Academy

Once we arrived in D.C., we went straight to the Basilica to hear an amazing sermon reminding us why so many people gathered. It was the most influential Church experience of my life. Those two hours changed my outlook on life. Before this trip, I didn’t know where I stood on life issues, and the Mass at the Basilica is what changed it all.

I truly began to see what being pro-life was all about. It’s not just about being against abortions, but also about being for all life…The most powerful experience for me was not only the amount of people present, but how all these people were indeed for choice, they were just for the right choice. Melanie Presentation of Mary Academy

The most powerful experience for me during the Pilgrimage for Life would be during the Youth Rally and Mass at the MCI Center on the day of the March. When the archbishop of Washington asked for those to stand up, if they felt they have received a calling from God to service in the Church as a priest or religious, I did. I felt such a warm, calming, awesome feeling. I believe I was in the presence of God. Matthew Xavieran Brothers High School

The most powerful experience during the Pilgrimage for Life was at the MCI Center. The amount of people involved was shocking. Most were young teenagers. The MCI Center holds 25,000 and yet they had to reject 2,000 people because there were no seats left. I never realized that there were so many other people that felt the same way about pro-life as I did. It was an eye-opener. ...I could feel the power everyone was sending each other about being pro-life… Melanie Presentation of Mary Academy

The most powerful experience for me was to be able to concelebrate Mass at the MCI Center filled with over 25,000 youth from all around the country. At the end of Mass, Cardinal McCarrick asked any young man thinking about the priesthood and any young woman thinking about religious life to please stand. Hundreds of the youth stood. What a sign of both the life of the Church today and the hope of the Church for the future. Father Daniel Hennessey, director Vocations Office

The most inspiring part for me was when I saw a woman with a pin that said, “I regret my abortion.” I instantly got chills and it was then I remembered why I was here, to speak for those who do not have a voice. Jessica Presentation of Mary Academy

The most powerful experience I had during the Walk for Life is before the walk I really didn’t have a whole lot of faith. But now I have got so much faith and belief because of this trip.

When we were at Sunday’s Mass at the Basilica, it was the most amazing thing to see that many people crammed in this huge building and believed in this one cause. Ashley Presentation of Mary Academy

The most powerful experience of this Pilgrimage for Life was the youth Mass at the MCI Center… My group and I proceeded to sit in the upper-most level. Many people may say that being “up close and personal” is the best place to be, but I beg to differ. Looking down from where we sat and seeing that enormous mass of people completely blew me away. I had never expected such a turnout… In the course of three days, I have been touched for a lifetime. Alexandra Presentation of Mary Academy