That was the message that was sent to the new president, three days in office, by the annual huge March for Life in Washington, DC. This sign, captured on video by one of the marchers, made it pretty specific. It’s not enough to save the born children, you have to work to save them all.
Estimates by some people there tallied the usual over 100,000 marchers, some marchers estimated over 200,000. Accounts in local newspapers, if they covered the event at all, normally state “in the tens of thousands” of marchers.
As he has each year, President Bush had declared the previous Sunday to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day. We thank him for his faithful public support of this very public event each year. President Obama apparently acknowledged the March, in that he delayed to the following day the signing of the reversal of the Mexico City Policy, which will now allow funding of abortions overseas with American tax dollars.
Marchers Marjorie and Herb Martin, of Avon, NY, rode to Washington on the bus from St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit. Not Catholics, they found themselves with the rest of the bus riders at the Mass in the Basilica and were impressed by the majesty of the service and the respect for Life. Walking around the Capitol area and at the March they noticed the dedication of the bedrock of the movement in the people who have been coming to the March for many years, 26 years for one of the marchers near Marjorie and Herb.
The old guard was bountifully supplemented, perhaps even supplanted, by the number of young people, a positive indication of the future of the pro-life movement.
Maria Miles was another first-time participant. Her cell phone pictures are the ones you see on this page. She and her husband Doug arrived on the Irondequoit bus, too.
She was just blown away by the impact of the March. She said she almost cried. She had expected to enjoy the March and be with a lot of other pro-life people and do something good for the cause. But she never expected what she saw. Here are her (reconstructed) comments. “I expected a bunch of women. But there were as many men as women. And the kids! Somehow I didn’t think kids were much into this these days. But there were buses of kids. One bus of kids from Texas that had paid their own way. When we were at Mass, there were kids who had slept of the floor of the church the night before. It was really inspiring.”
“The weather was perfect, sunny, crisp but not cold. If it had been any warmer, we’d have been carrying our coats. When we arrived before the march, there were certainly a lot of people around. But then buses kept arriving. By the time the March started, we were shoulder to shoulder. Somebody said later we had 250,000 people there.”
So will she go again?
“I’m going back! Definitely, I’m going again next year. And if there’s no bus, I’ll drive. It was just amazing, amazing, amazing.”
The Catholic Courier, in the Rochester Diocese, caught a particularly telling sign, carried, they say, by a small boy from Florham Park, NJ. It sums up the reason for marchers to be there. It said:
Kills a Child.
Cancels a Father.
Cripples a Mother.
Corrupts a Nation.”
Reason enough to be in Washington.
Meanwhile, back in Rochester at the Cathedral on Flower City Park …
If you had walked into the Cathedral that Thursday night you might have seen people sitting, not whispering, not moving around. And they continued to sit there for an hour.
In the evening on the day of the March in Washington, the Cathedral hosted a Silent Prayer Vigil from 7 – 8 PM. From 7 – 8 PM, worshipers were there praying, for a greater awareness of the dignity of human life and its protection. It was a wonderful opportunity for those who were unable to go to Washington.
It was a lovely, silent, prayerful hour. To close the Vigil, the pastor, Fr. Kevin McKenna, stepped to the microphone and invited those present to pray with him the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.
It was a privilege to be present. Many of us are hoping for the same privilege again next year.
Updated on RARTL February, 2009