O’Connell students carry the names of others during March for Life

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In addition to the thousands of marchers at the Jan. 19 March for Life in Washington, more than 150 people were there in spirit after asking students at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington to “March for Me.”

“As far as we know, we are the only school involved in this type of campaign in the area,” said Mary Jane Spurlock, director of communications at O’Connell. “All the students have the opportunity to march for others. In the past, the club members have had up to six names each.”

There were 70 Knights of Life students, with a total of more than 150 students marching from O’Connell. The students received a sheet of paper with the names of people to pray for as they headed to the march.

Parishioners of St. Agnes Church and St. Ann Church in Arlington; St. John the Beloved Church in McLean; and St. James Church in Falls Church were invited to give their names and contact information to O’Connell students if they were unable to attend the march.

“The students were then responsible for remembering those parishioners as they pray and walk to the Supreme Court," said Allison Lattie, faculty moderator for the Knights for Life.

A group of parents in the PTO spiritual life committee at O’Connell began the initiative three years ago.

“They were taking into account how fortunate it was for O'Connell students to participate in the march every year, and how so many people in our diocese and across the country don't have that opportunity. So the question came up of how can we connect those people to this event and ‘March for Me’ was the answer,” said Lattie.

The group does not ask for donations, but any contributions they receive are allocated between the cost for attending the March for Life and the Knights for Life club to continue their pro-life efforts.

After the March for Life, students send thank-you letters to those whose names they carried and include a photo of them at the march.

Senior Caitlin Mea, who has carried names each year, said it was an honor to walk for others.

“It shows we really are the pro-life generation,” said Mea. “The older generation put their trust in us to march for them. It’s important to keep doing it because it allows us to keep bringing more people to the March for Life even if they aren’t physically there.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018