I’m back from my trip! In the six days I was gone I had a chance to pray, think, observe, draw, meet some wonderful people, and ultimately, take part in the March for Life (the gigantic Pro-Life demonstration that seems to mysteriously evade the media’s attention each year).
In the days leading up to the March, our group visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the Vietnam War Memorial. We tipped our hats to the Washington Monument in passing and gazed on the White House from afar. We were also able to visit the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Mount St. Mary’s University both in Emmitsburg, Maryland, as well as the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. I went with a few of our members to the National Gallery of Art where I got to see some Vermeers and Rembrandts.
Sunday Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception was amazing. I do not know quite how to describe it. Other than the fact that the processions took about 40 minutes each, and there were more seminarians, priests, deacons, monks, bishops and laity present than I have ever imagined in my life, it seemed just as familiar and natural as a normal Sunday Mass at my own parish.
Finally, Monday the 23rd arrived, the subject of much fundraising, planning, prayer and anticipation. We went to Mass at the Basilica once more, but this time we had the opportunity to visit the building’s many shrines and chapels. Exploring these filled me with the sensation that one finds in reading C.S. Lewis or G.K Chesterton: one of “glimpses of Heaven in the earthly landscape” and “the temporary touching the eternal.”
Our group had the honor of marching alongside The Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, Bishop of the Fargo Diocese.
The cold, wet, depressing and slushy nature of the weather accentuated the cheery optimism found in the marchers. The vexillum of the Fargo Diocese was hoisted gloriously alongside countless other banners, flags, pennants and signs. The band of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property played Salve Regina (on bagpipes, even), and everyone who knew the lyrics immediately joined in. What I’m trying to get at is this: the experience was uplifting, awesome, beautiful and, I daresay, epic.
It was wonderful to see the actual people who make up the Pro-Life movement. It reminded me that the our cause is a group of people, not just an abstract thing.
Hungry and tired, we took our dinner at Union Station, as did a great many of the other groups from the March. It was amazing being unable to walk 20 feet without passing someone in a cassock or a habit.
My thanks go to everyone who made the March possible through planning and support,Father G. for leading our group, The Franciscans at the Commissariat of the Holy Land for their hospitality and, last but not least, our group’s excellent chaperones.
That was a lot of words. If you’ve made it this far you deserve a robot. ;)
Here are some other folks’ accounts of the march: