Thousands of teens kick off March for Life at Life is VERY Good

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The EagleBank Arena in Fairfax was teeming with nearly 7,300 young people from across the country who believe Life is VERY Good. The Jan. 18 rally, sponsored by the diocesan office of Youth, Campus and Young Adult Ministries, kicked off the annual March for Life events.

Cheers rang out many times during the evening. The band Hawk Nelson opened the evening with high energy. Ennie Hickman, president of the missionary organization Adore Ministries, welcomed everyone.

See more photos from Life is VERY Good and the March for Life. 

“Human beings caused God to say it is very good,” said Hickman. “You and I are very good and that is something to celebrate. We’re all created good. That’s what this night is about.”

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge gave opening remarks and used the letters of the word rally to reflect on the evening.

“What unites us tonight is reverence for the sacredness of all human life. I hope it reminds you of the sense of awe that you must have on a personal level, that God created you uniquely, a God who loves you and never gives up on you,” said Bishop Burbidge. “Listen to what God wants to say to your heart this evening.”

He told the young people to be a light in the world and say yes. “Be faithful to God’s command,” he said. “Please say, ‘yes, Lord, I come to do your will.’ We are filled with reverence for life. I am so proud of you. God bless you and watch over you always.”

 

Attendees heard from Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Sister Miriam James Heidland who gave the keynote address.

Using “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” as a backdrop to her message on the march theme “Love Saves Lives,” Sister Heidland talked about the deepest ache of humans when they want to be “seen, known and loved.”

“The deepest ache you and I have that our life is a gift,” she said. “That’s what I love about God is that God makes every person’s life a gift … a complete and total gift.”

Following Sister Heidland’s address was exposition and a Eucharistic procession. As Bishop Burbidge carried the monstrance and processed through the arena, many knelt on the concrete floor, heads bowed in prayer.

The evening concluded with songs led by the Ben Walther Band and Hawk Nelson.

Rett Hillman of Warsaw, who attended with his youth group, said his peers are the “new generation to fight the good fight and raise awareness.”

 

“This is probably the most important political and spiritual mission of our times,” said Hillman. “It’s impossible to ignore the slaughter of the unborn.” 

Toni Papp, director of youth ministry at Holy Family Church in Dale City, brought 32 youths with her for the evening rally and plans to bring 39 for the morning rally. “I always think it’s good to have our young people introduced to being active in the community, to stand up for something they believe in,” she said. “If they’re not sure what it is, (it’s important) to give an opportunity to learn about it with more people.”

Bishop Burbidge will celebrate Mass in the arena Jan. 19 at 10 a.m. before youths make their way to Washington for the March for Life.

 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018

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