Taking It to the Streets

"Hey hey, ho ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go!"

That was one of several chants of enthusiastic young people at the 2008 March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Jan. 22. People from various parts of the country, mostly from the east coast, flocked to our nation's capital to protest the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. This year marked the 35th anniversary of that devastating decision. Several Marian seminarians, brothers, and priests were on hand for the day's events and shared some of their reflections.

"It was a great sign of solidarity," said Br. Jim McCormack, MIC, a second-year theology student. "There were people from very different walks of life all united for a great cause - the defense of the unborn."

Although the march draws people from different denominations, Catholics seemed to be the majority. During the march, cardinals and bishops walked at the front of the line. Priests and seminarians wearing Roman collars were a common sight, as were sisters and brothers in a variety of religious habits.

The route took marchers up Constitution Avenue past the Congressional offices to the steps of the Supreme Court. There, on the steps, several women and men who had chosen abortion, gave their testimony of the psychological trauma they had suffered following the decision to kill their children. Fortunately, they also witnessed to the healing that is possible.

"For those who have had abortions, The Divine Mercy is an essential part of that healing process," noted Br. Andy Davy, MIC, a student in his third year of theology. "No matter how serious the sin, God's mercy is always greater. There is always forgiveness."

It seems that many marchers recognize the power of The Divine Mercy to touch hearts and to bring healing. Several people held posters with the image of The Divine Mercy. One was easily 20-feet tall.

In addition to the march itself, there were several other events throughout the day, including a morning youth rally and Mass at the Verizon Center downtown. Several Marians attended and were quite impressed.

"It was very powerful," noted Br. Angelo Casimiro, MIC, a first-year seminarian living in Washington. "There were at least 25,000 people there," added Br. Ken Dos Santos, MIC, a seminarian in his second year of theology studies, "and [the papal nuncio] Archbishop Pietro Sambi read a statement from the Pope."

Brother Ken also found that attending Mass with so many people, all singing together, was especially moving.

For Br. Andy, the event at the Verizon Center was especially important because of the impact that the talks, homily and music have on the young people. "What [the youth rally and Mass] is doing is forming the youth to be pro-life. While changing the laws of our country is certainly a goal, the real battle is about changing hearts."

Brother Jim agreed. "It was very encouraging to see so many high school and college students."

He added, "So often, we pray for a culture of life as if it's not yet here, but the presence of all these young people is a very clear statement that the culture of life is alive and growing. It is a great cause for hope."

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