March for Life 2017
February 2, 2017
Every year Jesuit’s Pro-Life Club brings more than 40 students to Washington D.C. for the March for Life to protest abortion and related issues. Typically, the March takes place on January 22nd, the anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade supreme court case decision. This year, it was moved back a week due to Trump’s inauguration and took place on Friday the 27th.
Jesuit arrived in D.C. on Wednesday and after checking into the hotel, we grabbed lunch and headed to the Holocaust museum as a lesson on the consequences of dehumanizing people. The museum was dense and had lots of informational reading along with powerful quotes, displays, pictures, and videos. The museum started with telling the story of how Jews and other groups were discriminated and how Hitler rose to power and turned this discrimination into the holocaust. The experience was very powerful and interesting to see and I recommend this museum for anyone who’s interested. Later that day, we walked across the Potomac River by bridge and made our way to Georgetown University to tour the campus and have dinner. After that, we made our way back to D.C. to see the white house. Sadly, there were still fences and obstacles everywhere from the inauguration so we couldn’t get very close, but we did get a good view of the presidential palace. We headed back to the hotel to have mass, then small groups and prayer and lights out.
On Thursday we woke up, head breakfast, and took the metro to the beautiful St. Matthew’s Cathedral, otherwise known as the place where JFK’s funeral took place. There, we met with 5 members from the Ethics and Public Policy Center Scholars think tank who spoke to us about Pro-Life issues regarding constitutional law, women’s rights, stem cell research, and cultural indifference. We stayed at St. Matthew’s a little while longer for silent prayer and then departed to a planned parenthood clinic where we prayed a rosary. We hopped back on the metro to Union Station where we ate lunch and prepared for the largest mass of the year in the biggest church in North America, the Mass for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (its as big as it sounds). The basilica was enormous and filled to the brim with pro-life activist from all over the country. We had to sit next to the pews in a side aisle in order to have a place to sit during the mass. After mass was over we were all starving, so we headed across the street to the Dominican House of Studies where the Dominican brothers treated us to some pizza. We headed back to the hotel or small groups and prayer once again and went to sleep.
The next day we went to early mass at Gonzaga College High School where many other Jesuit schools around the country also attended. Next we went straight to the National Mall where the Rally for the Unborn was taking place right behind the Washington Monument. Vice President Mike Pence spoke at this rally but sadly we showed up too late to see him speak. Soon after, the actual march began and we started the long trek from the Mall to the Supreme Court, shouting chants and praying rosaries the whole way. The entire Mall and walk to the Supreme Court was packed with hundreds of thousands of people, most young people my age, all devoted to the pro-life cause. When we finally made it to the Supreme Court, we listened to the “Silent No More” testimonies which were women telling their stories of their abortions and why they regretted them. This part is typically identified as the most powerful and impactful part of the trip for Jesuit students. next we headed to St. Joseph’s Church for some silent prayer, and then to Union Station for a buffet dinner at Uno’s Pizza. There, Jesuit students stood among their brothers and spot about their experience on the trip along with a testimony to the pro-life cause. By then everyone was beyond tired so we once again retreated back to the hotel for small groups, prayer, and lights out.
On our final day we woke up before the crack of dawn at 5:30AM, packed up our stuff, and got aboard a charter bus that took us to Gettysburg National Military Park. There we watched a film on the civil war and the battle at Gettysburg that was narrated by Morgan Freeman. Once the film ended we got back on the bus for a tour all around the battlefield of Gettysburg where a tour guide told the story of the three day battle to us from the important vantage points of both sides. Next we went to Mount St. Mary’s where we had lunch and mass, and then we headed to the airport and finally arrived back in Tampa. By that time, everyone was happy to be home and glad they missed 3 days a school for a fun and impactful pilgrimage.