Nineteen students and three teachers represented Marist's pro-life club at the March for Life in Washington, DC. on January 19.
The group stayed busy during its time there, combining historical site seeing and prayerful protest on behalf of the unborn. The group joined in a solemn vigil praying the rosary near an abortion clinic, went to Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church next to Ford’s Theatre, and attended a youth rally and Mass directly before going to the March. They then joined upwards of 300,000 people in the March itself, which is a peaceful demonstration that has taken place annually since 1973, and is the largest pro-life event in the world. Marist students have been participating in the march for more than a decade.
Senior David Leonhardt said his understanding of the vast differences of opinion on the topic of abortion has grown and he was happy to join Marist's Pro-Life/Pro-Love club that plans activities that protect the sanctity of all life. "I thought the D.C. trip would be a great experience to both give a voice to the voiceless and see the extent of the pro-life community that I never realized was so large," Leonhardt explained.
The March and overall weekend are often very meaningful for participants as they meet up with other high school groups and realize the vastness of the pro-life movement. "This is possibly my most unforgettable experience from high school," Leonhardt explained. "Between seeing my peers and classmates and teachers rally for a common cause and growing closer to them, and joining a massive crowd of people for a belief I had originally thought I was alone in having, I was able to see what it means to be a part of this community, a community full of love and support for people in all walks of life and one full of compassion and understanding for these struggles that women across the world go through. I was able to see just how misrepresented it is in the media as a community of condemnation and hate and fanaticism, when it is quite the opposite."
On their downtime, the group visited the Smithsonian, the National World War II Memorial, and walked past the other major war memorials. They also saw the Lincoln Memorial, spent time at Arlington National Cemetery, and witnessed the changing of the guard ceremony at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They also went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception as well as the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, the Holocaust Museum, and other government landmarks.
Students pose in front of the White House. David is on the left.