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Arlington Diocese is well represented at March for Life

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Bishop Michael F. Burbidge greeted Arlington parishioners in the Jan. 24 March for Life in Washington, the largest pro-life event in the world. Each year, Bishop Burbidge meets up with participants from most of the diocese’s 70 parishes.

“It is an incredible experience to join thousands of pro-lifers from around the country in taking a stand for the sacredness of all human life,” said Bishop Burbidge. “Each year, I am moved by the dedication and zeal of people from all walks of life traveling, often through the night, to ensure that their voices are heard and that the dignity of every human person is upheld. I hope that today’s peaceful gathering renews their enthusiasm to protect the unborn.”

At the pre-march rally, President Donald Trump addressed the crowds in person, the first president ever to attend the March for Life. Pro-lifers also heard from Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.; Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.; Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List; and Catalina Galinanes, a student at Oakcrest School in Vienna.

Read more about President Trump's speech. 

Mild weather greeted the busloads of students, families, religious orders and pro-life organizations that congregated on the National Mall and spilled over into neighboring streets. There was a constant hum of friends greeting one another, people praying the rosary and youths chanting, “We love babies, yes we do, we love babies, how about you?”

Churches, campus ministries and schools carried banners while individuals displayed homemade signs. Some read, “I’m here speaking for those whose voices were silenced before they got the chance to speak” and “I was conceived in rape and my birth mom left her appointment at Planned Parenthood. 61+ million babies never left.” Others invoked popular culture, such as one that read “Protect the little guys” alongside a drawing of Baby Yoda.

More than 100 parishioners from Precious Blood Church in Culpeper traveled by bus to the march. Helping carry their banner was Sandy Minihan, who leads the parish pro-life ministry and runs the nearby pregnancy resource center, ThriVe Women’s Healthcare. She’s attended the march for some 20 years. 

“Changing laws is important, but we (also need to) change hearts, to the point where people realize that abortion is unthinkable,” she said. “Women are strong creatures and we need to empower them and give them the help they need to choose life.”

 Read more about Oakcrest student Catalina Galinanes' speech. 

Caitlin Mea, a sophomore at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville who grew up attending St. John the Beloved Church in McLean, came with some 50 other students from Hoos for Life. It’s her sixth time attending, and she’s grateful to see so many people united in a cause that she feels is frequently overlooked by the media. 

“This is the most important civil rights issue of our generation and I think it’s important that we show that we’re still here and we care and this needs to be changed,” she said.

Seeing the thousands of young people is what inspires Tom Granahan most during the march. He and his wife, Joanne, parishioners of St. Philip Church in Falls Church, have attended since the first March for Life in 1974. He loves seeing how vibrant and peaceful the protest is. And he hopes it ends soon. “I join with the prayer that this might be the last,” he said. 

 This article has been updated .

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020