March For Life 2013

I was in the crypt church under the main sanctuary at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. All the deacons were putting on their albs and stoles on one side while the priests and seminarians were vesting on the other side. Basillica 21The beauty of the crypt church was breathtaking, but it was hard to move around due to the large number of people. The anticipation was building as the clock approached 6:30pm to begin the Vigil Mass. The massive organ started playing upstairs and instantly everyone in the crypt church went silent. 500 seminarians lead the procession up the stairs to the main sanctuary. The 80 deacons (myself included) slowly followed behind them but in front of the 395 priests, 42 bishops and 5 cardinals. We were lead up a dark, narrow staircase. I knew the main church would be full of people, but coming up from those stairs into the main sanctuary literally took my breath away. Wall to wall people…

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…all looking at us with smiles on their faces and many with tears in their eyes. As I ascended the steps up to the altar, it felt like I was walking straight up to heaven. The beauty of the high altar…

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…the gorgeous artwork on the walls…

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…and ceiling…

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…along with the 13,000 people singing in unison was a moment I’ll never forget. I couldn’t help but get a little emotional as I tried to take it all in and realized we were all there to show our support to the Gospel of Life.

The next day we started with a Youth Mass at George Mason University. 6,000 people (mostly young adults) packed the Patriot Center…

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…while my favorite musician Matt Maher sang the processional song…

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Although the procession wasn’t as long as the Vigil Mass, it was equally powerful. I’ve never seen so much excitement on the faces of all those young adults at a Mass before. It’s like they knew God had called them to be present at that moment in time to spread the joy of the Gospel to others.

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After Mass, we boarded the bus, got our Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and headed downtown for the March For Life. When the bus arrived downtown, we unloaded and immediately saw a sea of people and pro-life signs everywhere. It was a chaperone’s nightmare to realize I had to keep track of 18 people in a crowd of 650,000! Youth n41Once we got on the street and joined the March, all my fears went away. It was a true moment of joy to join together with so many people for the Pro-Life cause. We slowly, but cheerfully made our way up Capitol Hill to the steps of the Supreme Court with snow blowing in our faces. We then made it back to our bus, headed to the Youth Rally and ended the day with the most powerful Eucharistic Adoration I’ve ever experienced.

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After experiencing such a powerful March For Life pilgrimage, my prayer is that I’ll never have to do it again…because the entire country will catch the passion I shared with so many others on that pilgrimage and we will end abortion forever!

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