Tuesday, February 03, 2009

March Madness

It was early, it was cold, it was just twenty three students from Malvern Prep. A day “off” from classes and away from campus, but this was in exchange for a thirteen hour day that began at 6:30am with Mass, a long drive to the nation’s capital, and ended with us pulling into Malvern Prep after 8:00pm. It was the March for Life in Washington, D.C. It was March Madness. We stood in lines, we stood in the cool shadows of the National Shrine Basilica, with mosaics and sculpted columns swirling up and over us, and before us nearly 4000 people spread out, filling pews and corridors, attending a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Rigali.

And everyone was there for Life; standing tall, young and old, babies in arms, swaying, hands clasped in prayer, hearts and minds wondering what this new presidency would bring. From the train to the trek to the National Mall we marched with a mass of humanity up Capitol Hill. Now the little streams of buses that came from all over the country joined and formed a great river of souls. Thousands upon thousands gathering for the 36th annual March for Life. There was singing, praying, and small talk as we shuffled along. Smiles between strangers from all over the country warmed us up a bit, strangers from every creed and color. But the great madness of this March was that such a strong and vibrant presence was at the same time, invisible. Once again, the secular media was silent when it came to this event, and our numbers were ignored.

We seemed just as hidden as the children in the womb we all wanted to protect and defend; as invisible as the deep pain and grief young mothers and fathers feel after they are pushed and pressured into clinics that promise to “erase” their problems and give them a new start. Climbing the hill flanking the Capitol building, I turned and looked back and saw an ocean of Americans who believed life is a gift always to be received, no matter what the wrappings and trappings that cover its beginning and end. Life is precious. For nearly 20 years in attending this Trail of Tears myself, I’ve looked down that hill, and hoped we could overturn by our presence and prayer the decree that has “sanctioned” the extermination of 50,000,000 unborn children; The law that continues to wound just as many women and men who were told it was their “right” to terminate a so-called unwanted pregnancy. I searched for an account of what we did in the news that evening, and the day after… Nothing.

I looked for an official count on just how many came to Washington D.C that day to speak their minds, to witness to the sacredness of human life from the womb to the tomb. Nothing. Nearly a week later, I discovered the statistic given by the Beltway Police (a neutral group to be sure, and not prone to overestimating): they reported a quarter of a million people in attendance for the March! Where was this fact earlier? Why did I have to find it on some obscure blog and not a major news service? Unbelievable… How is it that a crowd of 250,000 of such diversity in age, ethnicity, and religious belief could be right outside the windows of our nation’s capital and not be seen? Sadly, there was something else that occurred in a hidden way the following day, January 23. This action was also “unseen” by reporters, accomplished in the late afternoon once the presses had cooled.

Our newly elected President signed an order with no fanfare and with no news media in the room. This was a strong contrast to the signings of executive orders earlier in the week. It was an executive order reversing the ban first instituted by President Reagan in 1984, reversing the Mexico City policy, a move that clears the way for the federal government to provide aid to programs that promote or perform abortion overseas. With all that we are going through as a country right now, this is on the list of top priorities? “What a terrible way to begin a new administration, with an abortion business bailout that will exploit women in developing countries for political ends," said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life Action, the Washington-based organization. "We should not export the tragedy of abortion to other nations, and we certainly shouldn't do so via the hard-earned dollars of American taxpayers," she said. "We're concerned this can only be the tip of the iceberg for President Obama's abortion policy. This should strengthen our resolve," she said. In a letter addressing this move, Cardinal Rigali stated "An administration that wants to reduce abortions should not divert U.S. funds to groups that promote abortions.” 

Despite the frustration of having our voices silenced, our steps covered up and our presence ignored, our small band of brothers from Malvern took solace in the fact that we were there. We gave our witness. And we'll give it again, and again, and again. So let's get fired up, let's lift our heads high again...

  For "the victory of truth is certain!"
- August Rodin

  And we must "Yield thou not to adversity, but press on the more bravely."
- Virgil

This story shall the good man teach his son… From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered - We few, we happy few, we band of brothers… 
- Henry V, Shakespeare 

 Violence against even one human being is violence against all. 
- Pope Benedict XVI


 Thanks to the Blue Boar for finding this inspiring collection of clips.... this is one to play again and again when the world's got you down!
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