March for Life
On January 24, the day of the March for Life in Washington D.C., Fraternal Outreach Coordinator Kaitlynrose Bicek and I started our morning with Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic church in North America. It was the first of many times we would encounter the vast amount of people who flooded our nation’s capital for the March – an abortion protest from the Washington Monument to the United States Supreme Court Building usually held on or around the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
With 10,000 attendees at the basilica, a structure comparable to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, it was the largest Mass I have ever attended. Priests, seminarians, religious brothers and sisters, and the laity filled every inch of the church. Afterward, we made our way to the March for Life rally, and just in case our trip wasn’t Catholic enough, we gave a Nigerian nun named Sister Judy a ride back to her hotel after she lost her group.
As we left Sister Judy and approached the March, Kaitlynrose and I were confused about where to enter the crowd. Then, almost by chance, we saw the friendly and familiar faces of General Agent Tom Kaelin and his daughter Helena. At that point, after finding them, we only had half of our planned group together and we needed to find the others – a youth group from St. Barbara 2513 in Erlanger, Kentucky, comprised of young COF members and non-members alike.
Kaitlynrose and I held each other’s coat sleeves as we inched our way through the sea of marchers toward where we thought St. Barbara’s youth group was waiting. After what seemed like an eternity of navigating through the crowd, we finally saw an energetic and smiling John Kidwell, Youth Director of St. Barbara 2513, jumping under a flagpole, waving his arms up and down at us. Once we united with St. Barbara 2513, we began marching. I watched the smiles on the teenagers’ faces as they donned COF hats and proudly held the COF banners we provided. Seeing all the young members of St. Barbara 2513 excited to be a part of this demonstration was rewarding. There were people ahead of us as far as the eye could see and people behind us as far as the eye could see. I couldn’t tell if we were at the beginning or the end of the crowd! Shoulder to shoulder, we went along with the strong current of marchers, praying, cheering, and defending the sanctity of life.
After arriving at the Supreme Court Building, all the marchers hugged each other and dispersed. There was something different about this crowd, something comforting. I felt at ease even though there were 500,000 marchers that day.
As my eyes scanned the crowd in the street, I tried to make sense of the magnitude of what was going on around me. To be just a drop in that ocean of marchers was truly an inspiring moment I will never forget. This inspiration was the March for Life – a day in which I witnessed the power of Catholic values come to life on a cold January day in our nation’s capital.
Article by Michael Cesario.