It was a cold five degrees today in Washington, D.C. for the 41st Annual March for Life, but that did not dampen the enthusiam for tens of thousands of people from across America advocating for the dignity of life from conception to natural death in this country. I was very moved at the fortitude of so many people coming out in harsh weather conditions to fight for a noble cause in saving innocent life. Life that is under constant threat regarding abortion, aging, healthcare, and developemental disability rights. It is sad to report that the count is now up to 55 million babies murdered since the passage of Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973.
The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
There were thousands of people who came to visit the National Shrine on Tuesday for many activities including, Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, and Confessions, and Prayer Vigil for Life that filled the many chapels and the Basilica with faithful from around the nation. It was so upilifitng to see the youth of today practicing their faith so devoutly.
Blessed John Paul II Shrine
I then went to visit the Blessed John Paul II Shrine which is just a few blocks away from the National Shrine. I was blessed to attend a Mass at the Shrine and the chaplain invited attendees to venerate a new relic that was a piece of the vestment that Pope John Paul II wore when he was shot. It was a moving experience for many, and especially this year when he will be officially canonized on April 27th (Divine Mercy Sunday) along with Pope John XXIII. During our Mass there was a lot of construction noise as the Knights of Columbus are busily getting the Shrine ready for events in April. There will be many events announced soon for the canonization including a Masses at the National Shrine and a procession of the Holy Eucharist up the road to the “Saint John Paul II Shrine.” There will be a new 400 seat chapel unveiled for the canonization that includes a new sacristy and confessionals where the sacrament of reconciliation will be offered every day. They are also remaking a 14,ooo square foot area in the basement featuring interactive displays on the life and teachings of Saint John Paul II, but unfortunately will not be ready until July.
March for Life 2014
I arrived early at 10am on the National Mall and was one of the first to see all the crews setting up the sound system. I was really psyched to meet Matt Maher as he arrived for his sound check in fridged tempertures to play an accoustic guitar. I have included a link to his last music album below from SoundCloud – definately worth a listen.
I was also priviledged to meet Gus Lloyd and Fr. Jonathan Morris from The Catholic Channel on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio. Great to see them in action providing wonderful Catholic radio programming accross the nation. I also met Teresa Tomeo, from EWTN, and seeing their camera teams in action offering live TV coverage interviewing many eager participants in the march.
Catholic New Media
The March for Life became more involved with using social media including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. The March for Life also unveiled a new logo for 2014. There were also two new Apps that became good resources for the March for Life this year.
- The March for Life App offered a list of events, maps, ticket links, news, video, take action, and education resources.
- Nine Days for Life App offering a nine day novena from January 18-26. It offered prayers, meditation, and suggested exercises of faith. I also like that it offered the time of day you could select to get a reminder text sent to you from the USCCB.
New Ways in Saving Lives
Save the Storks is a new program offering mobile vans that offer loving support to women thinking about abortions. The vans are equipped with a screen to watch supportive pro-life videos, and offer 3-D sonograms of their babies. Pregnancy resource centers are able to park these units outside abortion clinics to show Christ’s love and compassion to help women in making a lifesaving decision. Save the Storks is looking to grow this program to more communities, and has made a wonderful start in serving the Archdiocese of Boston over the past three years.
Lifeboat Coffee is a new coffee company that offers gourmet coffee in both ground and whole-bean. All the proceeeds from the sale of these coffees go to help for the cause of the pro-life movenent. You can find out more about their wonderful story and how to get their coffee at the link below.
The Supreme Court
The crowds from many walks of life marched up Capitol Hill to the Supreme Court. When I arrived with the other photographers before the crowd turned the corner, I was pleased to see my cousin, Monsignor Charles Pope there praying the rosary. He is a wonderful priest for the Diocese of Washington, and is the main writer for the diocesan blog which now has many readers. He recently rededicated the Ten Commandments monument which is just behind the Supreme Court which had been vandelized. I continue to pray for the end of legalized abortions and the protection of innocent life in our country and thankful for so many people who came out for the 2014 March for Life — God Bless you all.
I did have one other casualty on the March for Life — my iPhone battery. It was so cold that it drained much quicker than anticipated. I think the Holy Spirit intervened– while visiting a Starbucks, some very kind young people from Florida who were here for the March for Life, let me borrow their charger, which was a life-saver (God Bless you again).
March for Life App (iTunes)
March for Life App (Google Play)
9 Days for Life App (iTunes)
9Days for Life App (Google Play)