Youth, Sacrifices, and the March

It’s 5:50am on a cold and damp Monday morning. Monday, January 23rd to be precise. Seven busloads of students from Franciscan University of Steubenville, along with throngs of high schoolers and young adults, are waiting outside the Verizon Center in D.C. for the Catholic Youth rally before the March for Life. The doors don’t open until 7, but even though I’m huddled in a group trying to stay warm and asking myself how much, if any, sleep I got on the six-hour bus ride from Steubenville, the general atmosphere on this wet morning is one of enthusiasm and energy. Teens shout out Pro-Life chants and cheers, and a yellow balloon imprinted with ‘LIFE’ is bounced back and forth like a beach ball. The presence of the pro-life youth was remarkable. Not only was the Verizon Center, with a capacity of 20,000, teeming with pro-lifers, but another 10,000 teens and young adults attended the rally at a second venue, the DC Armory. Concelebrating the Mass which followed the rally were roughly a dozen bishops and 180 priests, including the Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio, who spoke to the youth on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI. Furthermore, what I found to be encouraging was the vast number of seminarians present at the Verizon Center Mass, as well as those attending the newly inaugurated Blessed John Paul II seminary in D.C. Following the youth rally, rosary, and Mass, I took off for the National Mall with the goal of meeting up with friends from back in Chicago. I got “adopted” into the group of students from UIC’s Catholic community, and marched and prayed the rosary with them. But the March for Life is more than just the ‘march’. It’s the sacrifice that comes with it. It’s sleeping on a bus, then rolling into DC before 6am. It’s standing around, and then marching through the rainy and cold January weather. It’s also the spiritual aspect of praying the rosary, and going to Mass, and praying the rosary, and then praying another rosary! Both the sacrifices of making the trip to the March, and the public witness it bears are keys to turning the tide and ending abortion. Already, the youth of our generation are more pro-life, and the tide is turning in our favor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl7FCwMxpLA&feature=player_embedded

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