Most were youth—high school and college age, as well as young adults, a fact not lost on Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the homilist for the Vigil Mass for the March and the Chair of the Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee. The Mass every year is celebrated in the vast expanse of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on the eve of the March. Thousands upon thousands participate, including clergy and laity, seminarians and religious. In his homily, Cardinal DiNardo made mention of the many organizers who needed to be thanked for their interest and assistance with the Vigil and the March. At the end of the list, he said that, like the Wedding of Cana, he had saved the best for last. He wanted to thank the youth present and added this statement addressed to them particularly: “To the astonishment of nature, of the chattering classes, and of the disinterested and jaded media, you have continuously come forward here and throughout the places where you live to be unflagging witnesses to the inestimable worth of each human being.” The presence of the youth added a hopeful dimension to the March and its accompanying activities.
A group from the Diocese of Lake Charles joined participants from the Diocese of Lafayette and the Diocese of Baton Rouge. They were a lively component to the March. The entire event, however, had the atmosphere of a pep rally, but with a major difference. During the March, that slowly made its way from the Capital Mall up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court, we prayed. We prayed the rosary and since it was the 3 o’clock hour, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Most of the groups I saw were Catholic. They were singing hymns and songs and joining Byzantine monks chanting their divine office, and devout Orthodox Jews raising their voices in prayer.
All of them braved the cold weather—and it was indeed cold and breezy with temperatures below freezing. Yet, you met sincere and interested people from all parts of the nation—from New England to the Deep South, the Mid-West to the Rocky Mountains. What joined them all together was to speak out in favor of the “culture of life” and to warn against the “culture of death.” We need that reminder, desperately and now more than ever.
To the many who witnessed to the value of human life, who took the time to travel from great distances, to both Washington and the numerous other marches held throughout the nation, we should be very grateful.