March for Life shows 'The Power of One’

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“Life is winning again in America,” said U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, the first vice president in history to address a cheering crowd of hundreds of thousands at the March for Life, held Jan. 27 in Washington, which marked its 44th anniversary. It drew more than 4,000 people from the Arlington Diocese, according to Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist Clare Hunter, director of the diocesan Respect Life Office. 

The march was delayed a week because of the inauguration of President Donald Trump, although it didn’t deter those in attendance from demanding an end to abortion. The theme of the event, “The Power of One,” referenced J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring” — “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” 

Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said in a statement prior to the event, “It is always imperative for us to be reminded that as each and every human life is unique and unrepeatable, it also takes each and every one of us to make a difference. Of course it is in the power of the One, Triune God that human life exists.”

Speakers included Pence; New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan; Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director and founder of And Then There Were None, a nonprofit organization that helps abortion clinic workers leave the abortion industry; Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to President Trump, and Benjamin Watson, tight end for the Baltimore Ravens. There were also senators and representatives from Iowa, Utah and New Jersey, along with Karyme Lozano, a Mexican telenovela star.

CONNOR BERGERON  |  CATHOLIC HERALDRep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, told the crowd, “The most dangerous place in America today for an unborn baby girl or boy is in a Planned Parenthood facility. Someday future generations of Americans will look back and wonder how and why such a seemingly enlightened society could have permitted over 60 million to be exterminated by abortion, a number that equates with the entire population of England.”

People attended the march for different reasons, including in gratitude for their adopted children with special needs. 

Ellen Storey and her husband came from Upper Marlboro, Md., with a sign that read, “To the mothers of our four adopted children, ‘Thank you,' and a photo of her family. 

“It seemed selfish to keep having children if there were children already born who needed a home,” she said, saying they had two biological children. “A couple of them have come to the march with signs that say ‘to my birthmother, thank you for life.’ We have always taught them that their birth mothers gave them the one thing no one else could have ever given them and that is life.”

 

 

Emmet Dooley, director of education and outreach for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in Scotland, brought 50 students to the march. 

Daniel Jost, a sophomore at Christendom College in Front Royal, said he supports the March for Life because, “I value life from the moment of conception to natural death. I have more hope in the cause with this administration.”

He wasn’t alone. “The movement is making huge progress and hopefully there will be an end to abortion so there will be no need to march,” said Kathryn Wesel, of Marietta, Ohio. “I think the administration will do everything they can to defund Planned Parenthood.”

CONNOR BERGERON  |  CATHOLIC HERALDJames Geyer, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, said, “I have more hope for the pro-life movement. Trump is the best hope since (former U.S. President Ronald Reagan) for this movement.”

Melanie Allen, of Frederick, Md., attended her first march because she wanted to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. “I have faith the president will do as he promised and defund Planned Parenthood. More people have spoken out against (the Supreme Court’s) Roe v. Wade (decision) since he was elected president.”

Dave Lucas, a parishioner of All Saints Church in Manassas, has coordinated his parish sign-up for the march since 2000. 

"I see new names every year signing up for the march, including many more Hispanic newcomers," he said. The parish usually fills five buses, more than 220 people, while others drive or take the Metro. Lucas and his family have marched most years since 1992. He said another family from All Saints has attended the march since the 1980s.

Richard Hayden, Culture of Life program director for the Knights of Columbus Council No. 5998 and a parishioner of Good Shepherd Church in Alexandria, said close to 160 people from the parish travel to the march on buses sponsored by the parish. High school students from Indianapolis, being hosted at the parish, add another 100 people to the count. 

Robin Urheim, an adoptive mother and resident of Washington, attended with her four children. 

“I feel like we need to get the record straight that all women don’t support the Women’s March,” she said. “(The March for Life) was more inclusive and protects the rights of the innocent.”

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017

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