Catholic Free Press

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  • Jan
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March for Life grows with youthful energy

Posted By January 30, 2015 | 11:58 am | Featured Article #4
A group from St. Mary's High School in Worcester poses at the 2015 March for Life with the Capitol in the background.
A group from St. Mary's High School in Worcester poses at the 2015 March for Life with the Capitol in the background.

By Nate Madden
And CFP staff

WASHINGTON (CNS) – At this year’s March for Life Jan. 22, the things to notice about the crowd in attendance were its youth, its growth and the sense that these young people are bringing about a cultural renewal.
Groups from all over the United States came in droves and the majority of people in those groups were young, energetic, bright-eyed and hopeful.
The Diocese of Worcester was well-represented with three busloads of people including high school students and another bus carrying Students for Life from the College of the Holy Cross and Assumption College Advocates for Life.
Assumption’s director of campus ministry, Paul Covino, reported that the students from both campuses became acquainted on the bus ride to the March for Life. They arrived in Virginia the day before the march “then joined several thousand pilgrims in an evening of prayer entitled ‘Life Is Very Good’ sponsored by the Diocese of Arlington at the George Mason University Patriot Center.  The evening featured several high energy musical performances, prayer, reflections, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,” Mr. Covino said.
“The next morning, we joined the group from Holy Cross at a Mass and rally for March for Life participants from Jesuit high schools, colleges and universities at St. Aloysius Church in Washington, D.C. before heading to the National Mall where the March for Life began,” Mr. Covino said.
“There, we were literally surrounded by hundreds of thousands of marchers, many from colleges and universities all across the country.  The students from Assumption were able to see that they were in solidarity with thousands of other young people,” he said.
Julia Gilberto, student leader of Assumption’s  Advocates for Life, said, “It seems that there has been a new wave of support for the pro-life movement in the past few years. In my opinion, this support is because people have realized that the pro-life movement is a direct response to a genuine concern for the well being of every human being.”
Assumption students Katelin Riley of Bellingham and Shaun Bradley of Methuen we first-timers at the March.     “This trip made me realize that we are the generation that truly can end abortion,” Ms. Riley said.
Shaun Bradley said, “I attended my first March for Life this year because I have realized how much being pro-life means for me. Abortions don’t just kill clumps of cells, they kill human beings who need to be defended and stood up for; life is a human right.”
Others from the Assumption group have been to the March several times. Kevin Flaherty of Providence has attended five times and feels it is important to be there as a show of unity.
“I have seen that young people are sympathetic to the movement, but there is one giant road block in the way of gaining a wider active support from young people. That problem is apathy,” Mr. Flaherty said.
“The attitude needs to shift to a sense of gratefulness because my generation is a survivor generation. All of us could have been killed legally through abortion up until the day before our birth,” he said.

At a coffee and doughnuts breakfast at St. Peter’s Church on Capitol Hill, offered in the parish hall below and filled with March for Life pilgrims, one group that stood out was the one from St. Agnes Church in Hillsboro, Illinois.
According to the group’s leaders, not only had the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, had to add an extra bus this year to transport its delegation, the delegation itself was heavily composed of the parish’s youth.
“The kids are aware of the truth of the life issue,” said Angie Mizera, a group leader. “The lies created by the opposition have been proven false over and over again, and thanks to the technology and transparency resulting from it, the truth has been made apparent to this generation.”
Accompanied by banners, balloons and drums, Crusaders for Life brought in youth and adults from all over the Detroit metro area. One of the marchers with them, Joe Jaczkowski of SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Sterling Heights, Mich., stated, “I’ve been coming for the past eight years and it’s been amazing to see how its grown. … For every one more adult you see come, you see five more teenagers.”
Before the march, Ashley Accardo, a 16-year-old from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, told Catholic News Service that pro-life youth are important because “we are the nation’s future … and since we don’t have as many in our generation as we should, we must defend those who cannot defend themselves.” She added that the pro-life movement “isn’t about hate or control, but about creating a dialogue of compassion and understanding.”
When asked about his perspective on the youth of the movement, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, told CNS: “I have come to the march for years, regardless of who came or what it was like, but now I come not only to march, but also to see so many young people doing the same.”
In a statement from the congressional delegation issued for the Roe anniversary, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, said that “Tom Brokaw wrote about the greatest generation, and the WWII generation was indeed great, but yours will be the pro-life generation.”
In an interview with CNS, former U.S. senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum said that “the thing to notice about this march is that it’s young, it’s energetic and it is disproportionately women, which is not something the media would ever portray (about) the pro-life movement, but it is.
“And that’s encouraging,” he said. “It’s really encouraging to see this kind of dedication every year. I think it’s growing and the energy is definitely palpable.”