Last week, I was fortunate enough to travel to the March for Life in Washington D.C. with BC’s Pro Life Club. With hats, gloves, and pillows packed into our bags, we departed Wednesday evening for the overnight journey. Despite our excitement and anticipation for the March, we were miraculously able to sleep for a couple hours on the bus before our arrival at Union Station the following morning. (Note: Much coffee was consumed on this journey.) For those going on the March, it was more than just a journey; it was a pilgrimage. From the moment that I stepped onto the bus, I felt like I was surrounded by a group of people who genuinely cared about others and were passionate about their love for life. As Pope Francis said, “All of us must care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth…to be for life is to open our hearts, and to care for life is to give oneself in tenderness and warmth for others, to have concern in our hearts for others.”
Before the march began, we attended the Jesuit Mass at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church with students from other Jesuit universities such as Georgetown, Fairfield, and Holy Cross. Seeing the
solidarity within the pro-life movement, especially with other Jesuit universities, was refreshing and inspiring. Often times, it is easy to forget the size of the movement, especially among our
generation. At Mass, we listened to speakers discuss how Jesuit ideals are very much in agreement with pro-life ideology, that to be true “men and women for others,” we must protect all life,
from conception to natural death. The March itself had a large youth presence, which gives hope to the future. As one of my political science professors told me once, the pro-life issue is a
“zombie issue,” because it only seems to gain support. Forty years after Roe v Wade, the issue is still being debated. We are the leaders of tomorrow. The movements that we are
passionate about today will be the reality of the future, if we only have the conviction to challenge current injustices.
That being said, why do we bother to march? Isn’t it enough to support pro-life causes from home? Don’t I regret consuming that gallon of coffee in Union Station? While it is great to support pro-life ministries, the March for Life offers a unique outlet into the political world, where legal decisions regarding life are made. The March brings hundreds of thousands of people to Washington D.C. each year, many of whom are able to make office visits to their elected representatives. After the March, my friend, Kate, and I were able to explore the House of Representatives office building, where we met freshman Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. While it was a bit surreal to be hanging out in a congressional office eating chocolate chip cookies and juice, the situation allowed my friend and I to ask Congresswoman Stefanik about her pro-life activism and political career. That personal, up-close contact would not have happened if Kate and I had chosen to stay in our dorm rooms that day. It is important that our elected representatives are aware that we prioritize life-issues and will passionately make sure that our voices are heard.
As Catholics we are all called to love God and all he has created, especially all human life. We love life in all forms and conditions- from the unborn all the way to the sick and the elderly. Jesus came so that we may have life to the fullest extent, both heavenly and earthly; however, it is up to us to make sure justice is upheld. We can protect the vulnerable in our world through acts of political engagement, such as the March, or though everyday acts of mercy and kindness. Despite the sleep deprivation, coffee overdoses, and miles of walking, the March was quite possibly my favorite BC event of my sophomore year. The March for Life still matters because it is a visceral, joyful reminder that the culture of life is alive and well in America.