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March for Life gives voice to the unborn

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As March for Life 2019 swept through the streets of downtown Washington, groups of students, clergy, teachers and their supporters from the Diocese of Arlington mingled with fellow marchers from across the United States and the globe to demonstrate their shared belief in life amid the city’s snow and slush.


Dominic Mosley, a student at Christendom College in Front Royal, was attending the march for the third time in his life. “I’m here to support the pro-life movement and give voice to all the unborn babies who have no voice,” said Mosley. “It’s important for people to do this because lives are at stake and this shows that we want abortion to end.”

Joseph Connor of Blessed Sacrament Church Alexandria and a diocesan seminarian studying at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., called the march an opportunity to show “love for the bishop, the diocese and the children.” 

“It’s a real sign of hope that even in dark times this many people are trying to turn the tide of our culture,” said Connor.

Among the many student groups from Arlington Diocese participating in the march was a group of 390 students from Saint John Paul the Great High School in Dumfries. “The reason why I’m here is that I believe all people have dignity and should be respected as a child of God,” said Madeline Cassidy, a freshman, who was taking part in the march for the third time. 

The march swelled the busy city streets with thousands of Catholics, Christians and pro-life supporters. One Capitol police officer, who has been supervising the March for Life for more than 20 years, told the Catholic Herald that the march is the second-largest event for the Capitol Police to cover aside from the presidential inauguration. 

See more photos from the 2019 March for Life

The atmosphere of the march was buoyant despite the thick snow and sludge that covered the cold streets. Many students took advantage of the dense snow in grassy areas surrounding the Capitol and Supreme Court buildings to build snowmen and enjoy snowball fights, although the police quickly quashed both pastimes. 

Katrina Oteyza, associate campus minister at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, marching amid a group of 35 students, said one of the most inspiring moments in the march was when she and some of the students were personally greeted by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, who marched with them. “It was a wonderful experience and a joy to walk alongside the bishop,” said Oteyza, who said she believed his example spurred the students’ enthusiasm.

One of the international participants was Jack McCrae, 26, a civil engineer from Sydney, Australia, on his way to World Youth Day in Panama. McCrae said he wanted to gain a firsthand view of the US pro-life movement, as it was his first time attending the March for Life event in America. 

“The number of people is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it before,” said McCrae, who described the Australian pro-life movement as “in its infancy.” He also remarked that the overall peaceful mood of the protest was unlike the general atmosphere of demonstrations in Australia. 

McCrae said he hoped witnessing the march would provide him and fellow travelers with some ideas for the development of the pro-life movement in Australia. 

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019