On January 18th, the Academy of the Holy Names had 11 students and two chaperones attend the 46th Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. They joined over 300 students from the Diocese of St. Petersburg who also attend the event. The diocese made up part of the 600,000+ participants attending the largest pro-life event in the world.
The march is held each year aroundthe anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that guaranteed a woman's right to an abortion. The first march took place on the steps of the Capitol in January 1974. Since then, millions have gathered for the annual March for Life. This year’s theme was “Unique from Day One.”
Sophomore Grace C. says, “I thought the march was very impactful and inspiring. It was amazing to see people of all different religions, races, and political affiliations there. Some people were once even workers at abortion clinics or had had abortions themselves. Those strong women and men spoke out and it was just amazing. But what was the most truly inspiring was the amount of people who were there. Over 600,000 people marching for the cause.”
Academy teacher and trip chaperone Megan Dubee added, “It is important for our students to participate in the March and its associated events so that they are able to see the great number of people in the Church and in society who support life. In his homily at the Opening Mass of the Vigil for Life, Bishop Joseph Naumann told us, “The pro-life ethic challenges us to care about the sacredness of every human being throughout the life spectrum. We are called always and everywhere to promote the dignity of the human person. … We are concerned about the life and dignity of the human person wherever it is threatened or diminished. … Anyone whose life is threatened and anyone whose human dignity is disrespected have a claim on our hearts.”
Friday’s march featured a surprise appearance from Vice President Mike Pence along with second lady Karen Pence, and a video message from President Donald Trump. Once the crowd had marched to the Statehouse, a larger rally took place where they heard from several speakers including Senator Susan Wagle, State Treasurer Jake LaTurner, and U.S. Representative Ron Estes.
While in D.C., the group also had the opportunity to attend mass with other Florida pilgrims and visit the National Holocaust Museum. During one of the masses, the group met up with AHN alumnae Audrey D. A’18 and Caitlin W. A’18 who both live in Washington D.C as they attend the Catholic University of America. It was a special moment for students, both past and present, to unite and grow together in their faith.
Campus Minister Katie Holland says, “I loved the opportunity to witness how many people are a part of the pro-life movement. Also, attending Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and seeing the multitudes of young religious and priests was a very moving experience. The Church is alive and vibrant and it was awesome sharing that experience with our students at the Academy of the Holy Names.”
“It is my hope that, through this experience, our students grow in their awareness of where human life and the dignity of the human person are disrespected in the world and can proclaim the love and mercy of God to those areas of injustice,” says Dubee.