On the eve of the March for Life, the future marchers reminded themselves why they came.
In the ballroom of the Hyatt Hotel in Washington D.C., there was a “youth” rally, open to people of all ages. Apparently last year this rally was crashed by a group of pro-choice activists. But this year, to start the rally the organizers allowed for the opposition to make a protest. No one did anything. No shouting. No marching. No singing. Just silence.
The people in attendance laughed at the irony of the situation and the rally went on without interruption. The rally was packed with standing room only, but most of those who couldn’t get a seat, sat on the floor. In hindsight, seeing people sitting on the floor because the room was too packed would be a familiar sight to me as the day went on.
The rally, attended primarily by young adults, possibly in high school or college, listened to various speakers as they came to the podium. They shared stories about how the March for Life has evolved over the years. Even abortion survivors spoke.
I wish I could’ve stayed longer but I needed to meet up with the Pro-Life Wisconsinites attending the Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
We took the D.C. Metro and walked through the beautiful Catholic University of America campus.
When we arrived at the National Shrine, almost 2.5 hours before Mass, we realized we had arrived too late. Every pew in every viewing area was taken. Even the best places to sit along the walls were taken.
But nonetheless, I roamed the enormous building with my jaw on the floor. The amount of artwork and overall religious beauty was incredible. During the course of my roaming I was separated from the group. It didn’t bother me because I knew I would run into someone familiar eventually, and I did.
After exploring the upper church with the beautiful artwork, I moved onto the lower part of the building which contained a gift shop, book store and cafeteria. Seriously, it was that big.
When my explorations of that floor were concluded my new mission was to find an appropriate place to sit an hour before Mass was to begin. I found a small side chapel with marble benches across from a statue of Mary and baby Jesus surrounded by a pool of water. The Our Lady of Ireland Chapel honored Irish Catholics with several references to St. Patrick and a map of Ireland chiseled on the wall.
When the Mass finally began, it took all the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and deacons more than a half hour just to enter and be seated. But once the Mass began, it was all about the importance of being pro-life.
Archbishop of Boston Sean O’Malley, the celebrant, told a story about how the Massachusetts state legislature recently defeated a bill allowing for physician euthanasia. He related that point to the present with, possibly, the quote of the night.
“The society that allows parents to kill their children,” he said. “Will allow children to kill their parents.”