March for Life: A Pilgrimage

March for Life: A Pilgrimage

On a sleeting Thursday night, the Spartans left Mass at St. Clement and boarded a bus headed to the nation's capital. The group of 48 students, spanning freshman through seniors and 5 adult chaperones left town for a quick three day adventure. But this quick three day adventure, consisted of joining thousands of other high schoolers from around the country to walk down Constitution Avenue with the same idea in mind -- to March for Life.

They talked about what they were really going to be protesting, yes, Roe v. Wade, but also what it means to be Pro-Life. What is dignity? How is dignity given? To respect life is more than protesting abortion. Pro-Life touches on issues such as: healthcare, foster care, immigration, torture, bullying, every ethic of life and how we treat one another.

Their foundation of beliefs were mirrored when they arrived Friday morning and headed to Eucharist. An overwhelming amount of youth and adults were at Mass, where the homily focused on a child who just wanted to be embraced; the amazing vulnerability of a child, who just wants to be loved. After praising God, the Spartans gathered on the National Mall, near the Museum of African American History and Culture to start their trek to the Supreme Court. While walking, the Spartans were in awe of how many others were there and the wonderful right Americans' have to protest. Nolan Tebbe '20 said, "How amazing is it that we can protest in our country. That the police are there to protect us as we march protesting a law that we don't agree with by our own country."

Fr. Roger Lopez, OFM, who serves as the Director of Community Outreach, said that the goal of this trip was to refocus the students. "We wanted the students to think of this as a pilgrimage, not just a march or sightseeing in Washington D.C." After the march, the students gathered at the hotel for pizza and reflection. The Spartans talked about their experience that day, their amazement with the amount of people there and how they saw themselves as a part of a larger church.

On their last day, the Spartans explored some of the monuments that in the past may have been the highlight of the trip, but this year were just a piece of the pilgrimage. They ended their day once again with celebrating the Eucharist at the Franciscan Monastery before heading back to Cincinnati.

The goal of this entire pilgrimage was to remind ourselves that we are stewards of God's great gift of human life. We are grateful for the beauty of living, something not to be overlooked. That we are compassionate with those who struggle to see the solemn dignity of the human person; never judging, but call to reflect the majesty of our Lord's Grace. Finally, this pilgrimage was to serve as a solid reminder that we are catholic - those who profess that faith demands action, invites change. We marched to reinforce these goals within us - stewardship, gratitude, compassion, and catholic. All of which are our Franciscan values.