The somewhat cool evening air did nothing to dampen the spirits of the faithful who descended upon Annapolis Monday for the annual March for Life activities.
The evening began with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Lori at St. Mary’s, at which I was privileged to assist by reading the Gospel and General Intercessions as Deacon of the Word. The faithful filled the every seat there was to be had in the pews. They packed in as they stood along the walls and filled all the seating in the choir loft. People stood in back of the church as well as nearly every possible open space was filled with those who had come to support the pro-life message and pray for an end to pain and death that is abortion.
Then, several hundred, perhaps more than a thousand, pro-life enthusiasts (and I write enthusiasts because the crowd was spirited and vocal!) gathered in the St. Mary’s high school parking lot before proceeding to march the streets of downtown Annapolis to Lawyer’s Mall. Once there, several quality speakers triumphantly witnessed in one form or another to the pain, lies and death of abortion, while simultaneously sharing the truths of our faith and support for life from conception until natural death.
As I marched – for the first time – I was most struck by the number of young people. High school and middle schoolers made up a large and vocal percentage of the marchers. They carried balloons, held signs, wore pro-life T-shirts and chanted songs such as “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go!”
Having lived as a nation for 40 years and nearly two generations with legalized abortion being the law of the land, the representation of teens and young adults at the March breathed a spirit of hope into me for the next 40 years of our abortion battle. In Maryland, hearts are being changed one person at a time. We can take comfort and encouragement in the fact that the majority of Americans support life.
As I watched the young people marching, I thought about my own children, who are too young at this point to participate. But, in my heart, I know that the time is soon coming for them, especially my oldest daughters, to fully understand the abortion issue and to embrace the pro-life message that already lives in their hearts because of the grace of God.
After the March and rally, supporters returned to St. Mary’s for supper, including Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, at St. Mary’s high school. Finally, several pro-life organizations sponsored exhibit tables for those who wanted to learn more about and get involved in the pro-life movement.
All in all, it was a special and grace-filled evening and one in which I was happy to participate. If you haven’t attended March for Life, plan to do so next year. It’s an experience you will never forget.
And, if you have teenagers, bring them, too. They definitely won’t be alone!