Talk to anyone who went to the March for Life this year, and they will all tell you the same thing: "It was cold" is a
. It was
. Below freezing. The morning of the March, the wind was actually cold enough to warrant a frostbite warning from the weather service.
Nonetheless, at 11:15 AM, with about fifty youth and a dedicated group of clergy and chaperones, CEC For Life began the subzero trek from our hotel on Capitol Hill to the Supreme Court steps for our annual Liturgy for the Preborn at the Time of Death
, led by Fr. Terry Gensemer.
Huddled together before the building wherein nine Supreme Court justices stripped away the rights of the preborn, we joined in song and prayer for those who have died in the abortion holocaust, beseeching God to care for the preborn in death and to put an end to the horrific violence that is abortion.
Looking around on that sidewalk you would have seen and heard all sorts of things -- young people bowing their heads in prayer, words of encouragement from Bishop Mike Davidson and Bishop Greg Ortiz, mothers hugging their smallest children in an attempt to keep them warm. Brightly colored hats, thick scarves, and pieces of red duct tape on bags and jackets with "LIFE" written in black ink.
You would have seen the police officers pacing across the steps, the media gathering clips for future stories, and other pro-lifers gathered in prayer. One thing you would not have seen, however, is the usual group of hostile abortion advocates -- those champions for "choice" -- who have spent past years hanging around our vigil to chant and argue and wave signs that read nonsensical things like: "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries."
It would seem that a -2 degree wind chill reaches beyond such advocates' devotion -- that reproductive rights are only worth fighting for when conditions are agreeable. It makes sense, of course, as abortion focuses solely on serving the self, not sacrificing for others. However, abortion advocates should have thought twice before not showing up, because their absence spoke volumes to youth attending the March. (The same youth, by the way, that will grow into the men and women who will run this country in the years to come.)
One young man, Caleb Northwood of Church of the Reconciliation in Maryland, observed:
"This year really separated the passionate from the 'fair weather' protesters. Even though it was 5 degrees in DC, the prolife attendance was tremendous...This really shows how passionate we are to go out and be a voice for the voiceless, even when it is below freezing. I thought this was a powerful year for the March for Life, and that the record breaking cold happened for a reason."
The day before the March, these same youth also braved the cold, plus plenty of snowfall, to participate in a Memorial Die-In in front of the White House
. Youth lay on the cold, wet ground, while others covered them with red cloth, each representing a million preborn children killed by abortion. Not only did they lay down in solidarity to bring dignity to their preborn brothers and sisters, they did so without a single complaint.
Abortion advocates, I encourage you to take notice: these young people are exactly why you are going to lose. God hasn't just raised a generation that will abolish abortion; He has raised a generation that simply will. Young people like Caleb Northwood are called to fight, but, more to the heart of it, they are willing to fight. Willing to show up.Willing to sacrifice. Willing to ignore the difficult circumstances and push through. They are servants, and foot soldiers, and the tribulation brought on by 41 years of abortion's tyranny has only made them strong.
After the Liturgy on Tuesday, our group waited in the cold almost another two hours just to join in with the official March. One 15-yr-old girl from Alabama, Victoria Antonello of Church of the Reconciler, spoke later of what that experience meant for her:
"Despite the cold, I'm glad I stood out there waiting for the March for that long. I felt like I was making a difference as an advocate for life. Coming back, I feel so strengthened and more passionate about pro-life work. I can't wait until I can start doing more to expand the movement here in Alabama, and keep fighting to end abortion."
Victoria's brother, Dominick, also attended the March. He adds:
"The March for Life was amazing to me. I felt as if I was truly contributing to the pro-life movement by being there, and by standing strong in the freezing cold weather, and seeing everyone else doing it, I have truly seen that this is a war worth fighting and winning in the end."
The March for Life is so much more than a public demonstration; it's a springboard for young people like Dominick and Victoria. Youth from all over the nation come to D.C. and see thousands upon thousands of people -- mostly their age -- standing for life. Suddenly, they aren't alone
. They have comrades, battle buddies. They are given resources. They meet pro-life leaders. They stand in the freezing cold and leave thinking, "I was there for one of the coldest marches on the books, and I made it through
Then, most important of all, they go back home, carrying a new banner in their hearts and thirsting to change their city. That's why we march, even when it's freezing. We know the worth of being together and the momentum it brings to us all in helping carry the fight through 2014.
Aidan Nelson of Holy Trinity CEC in Pennsylvania experienced this very thing just one day after returning from the March. She says:
"I realized just how much is going on in the fight for Life, and I was excited to be a part of it all. I also discovered that small displays of pro-life activism can have results. Some of my friends at school saw our Die-In on the internet and were blown away that I was a part of the news story. God uses us to make a difference."
With courageous young people like Aidan, Victoria and Dominick, and Caleb running toward the front line, we know abortion doesn't stand a chance. This is the generation that WILL
-- no matter the cost, no matter the complication. And abortion advocates? They are the generation that haven't
. They haven't learned anything about their "enemy" (these young people are brilliant), and they won't sacrifice a single thing to win their so-called war. That's a perfect plan for losing.
May God continue to foil the plans of the true enemy, Satan, and to give favor to this generation as they come into their own, and take on the fight for a prevailing culture of LIFE. Amen & Amen!
Fr. Terry Gensemer
Check the buzz! Scroll down to see what other young pro-lifers say about the March for Life...
Romans 12:2, 'Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.' Just as being Pro-Life isn't only about being against abortion, the Pro-Life movement isn't just about overturning Roe v. Wade. We are called to speak up for the voiceless and overturn our culture of death into a culture of life by showing love and compassion to all on a daily basis. -Hayley Bifulco, NY (age 21)
I honestly loved realizing just how many people were on our side, abortion is a big deal to me and I despise the fact that people think it's remotely okay. It's really encouraging to know that a difference is being made. -Caleb Lynn, AL (age 17)
My favorite part of the March for Life was the March itself. I really liked the March because there were so many people, and most of them were pretty young. I thought it was great to see kids my age standing up for something so important to them. I hope that one day we will all make a huge change in our world and stop abortion, and that all abortion clinics will close down and never open again! -Grace Kelch, PA (age 13)
My favorite part was getting to hang out with everyone. Meeting new people who stand for the same thing was amazing. God has given me something to get more involved in, something that I am passionate about. -Kassia Mayo, AL (age 16)
My favorite part, and what meant the most to me, was doing something that I have seen on the news. Also, being able to stick up for something that means a lot to me. I felt like I was a part of something huge that I am not a part of usually. Abortion is something awful that needs to be put in people's heads. -Brooke Rubin, AL (age 13)
I really felt almost overwhelmed (in a good way) while we marched, all the people there all fighting for the same thing. It was amazing to see how many people were against abortion and willing to brave the cold to show it. I think God was really working on the hearts of all the youth there, myself included, since I feel even more like I have to do something to help, because there were so many of us and it seemed like everyone really was passionate about fighting abortion. -Laura Pridgen, NC (age 17)
I loved the Rally and it really got me pumped up to go to the March. I enjoyed being able to stand up for the rights of babies and to represent theloss of 56 million babies...Just be with all of my friends was wonderful too.Loved the trip and can't wait till the next one! -Chassity Mayo, AL (age 13)
The March for Life Youth Rally was amazing! Lots of the speakers were really cool, especially the Doctor who found a way to reverse the effects of the abortion pill RU-486. I thought he was incredible! It made me realize that there are lots of good people in the world. -Kage Colditz, PA (age 15)
The greatest part about the trip to D.C. was getting to see all the people who are backing us up in the fight for the lives of the unborn. Also meeting Star Parker was great because it was reassuring knowing that there are people who have influence and are devoted to helping the cause. -Nathaniel Rubin, AL (age 17)
Even though the weather was devastating, I still had a very good experience over there...When we went to the March, I expected them to come at least thirty minutes earlier. If they had, I might have gone all the way to the end. I had the most fun I had had in a long time. -Jotham Mayo, AL (age 15)
Ready to join us? Mark your calendars nowfor January 22nd, 2015!
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