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The joy of marching

First slide

I attended the first Life is VERY Good in 2009 when I was in high school. I went all during college. After graduating, I went as an adult volunteer with All Saints Church Youth Ministry in Manassas.

I have now gone the last three years as a seminarian. Most, if not all, of my family goes each year. Not going would be like missing a holiday with my family. This event has been an annual celebration that truly prepares me for the March for Life. I don’t know what the march is like without an evening of prayer, music and community beforehand. It always has a profound impact on me, as it centers why we do this on the Giver of Life Himself. Every year, this tradition gives me the same feeling: joy.

One of my favorite aspects of the rally and the march is running into people from various parts of my life. This year was no different. The older sister of a family I am close with smiling as she held her younger sister with Down syndrome. Kneeling next to one of my best friends from college during the Eucharistic procession.

A group of teens from my home parish waiting for the rest of their friends to finish their confessions. A Youth Apostles dad from my community pushing a stroller with two of his kids. A teen I met at a Quo Vadis paintball event a couple years ago. A man who used to go to seminary with me and is now a priest. The youth minister from my summer parish assignment with a group of teens. A mom offering sandwiches and snacks to her grown kids and myself.

I even passed Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and president at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, on the sidewalk and talked to him for a split second. And all these people had the same disposition despite the cold and being on their feet all day: joy.

Joy is the reason I love these two days so much. God has given us life, and this is cause for rejoicing. He has given us Himself through His Son Jesus and this is cause for rejoicing. He has given us family and friends, and this is cause for rejoicing. This joy is what will turn the tide in the battle against the culture of death. The joy of the Gospel proclaimed. The joy of receiving the Eucharist. The joy of praise and worship. The joy of hearing testimonies. The joy of reuniting with old friends. The joy of marching for life. The joy of knowing that life is very good.

Clem, who is from All Saints Church in Manassas, is in his first year of theology studies at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., and is a member of the Youth Apostles.

 

 

 

 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019