Our nation recently saw the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in all fifty states. Alongside this sinister anniversary, however, stood another; for the fortieth consecutive year hundreds of thousands marched for life through the streets of Washington, DC. The students of the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts were among them.
“The March is a long-standing tradition at the College,” said freshman Isabelle Anderson. “Professors even go as far as excusing protesting students from classes—a practically unheard of happening at TMC. In this support of the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life, the College’s strong fidelity to the Magisterium is reiterated”
Upperclassmen who regularly participate in the March for Life, as well as many first time freshmen, were in attendance. The available spots on the bus travelling to D.C. filled up over a month prior to the event; the remaining students, rather than miss one year, put their faith into action, filled their gas tanks, and drove the eight-hour trip.
At 6am the bus arrived at Union Station. Students were given the opportunity, thanks to board member Mr. Patrick Monaghan, to attend a Congressional breakfast hosted by the Kentucky Right to Life society at the Rayburn Building. Along with President Dr. Fahey, students listened to sobering yet inspiring speeches. In fact, one was given by Mr. Monaghan himself who encouraged young women present to assist the pro-life cause by supporting the culture of family life.
The breakfast was one of many opportunities that morning. Students attended Mass in the Extraordinary Form, some visited the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and still others explored the famous sites and museums of America’s capitol.
Junior Jonathon Wanner, who visited the Holocaust Museum, reflected, “Both abortion and the Holocaust are examples of massive destruction of human life. I thought the sections in the museum devoted to the memory of suffering children very fitting to the day and our cause.”
Reuniting on the Mall before the protest, Thomas More students proceeded to march proudly, young men carrying the College’s banner high, and all singing joyfully in spite of the cold weather and falling snow.
While students were enthused and positive during the trip, their generosity and penance is not to be undermined: besides poor weather and sleep deprivation, students also withstood poor treatment in the D.C. Metro at the hands of irritated residents and transportation workers. All this was followed by yet another ten-hour, red eye bus trip back to campus.
The earlier words from Father Kelly, College Chaplain, who had reminded the students that the March for Life is a pilgrimage, with both crosses and joys, resonated true.
Reportedly, attendance at the March for Life was at a record high this year, some sources stating numbers upwards of 500,000-650,000 people; the D.C. metro was packed, as was traffic leaving D.C. after the March.
To the number of protesters was added the number of those hard at prayer for the prolife cause including many at Thomas More College. Those who were unable to be physically present in DC journeyed there in spirit as they devoted the afternoon to prayer. The Most Holy Eucharist was exposed, and students, staff, and faculty gathered in thanksgiving for the brave souls at the forefront of the culture war, and to pray for their safety, an end to abortion, and respect for the dignity of human life.