Voices of Youth from the Rally for Life

2014 Youth Rally and Mass for Life – CNS photo by Leslie Kossoff

One of the most inspiring scenes I witness each year happens on or around January 22 as I, together with many of my fellow bishops and usually hundreds of priests, process into the Verizon Center for the Mass for Life attended by thousands of enthusiastic young people from across the Archdiocese of Washington and throughout the country.  That scene unfolded again today at the Verizon Center, and at another massive Rally and Mass for Life at the nearby DC Armory, as the next generation of pro-life disciples rallied, prayed and then marched for the dignity of all human life.  As disciples who walk with Jesus today, they help answer the call that Blessed John Paul II made so powerfully in his encyclical, The Gospel of Life – to build a civilization of life and love to counteract the culture of death that darkens our world.

Pope Francis spoke out strongly about the God-given dignity of all human life in his recent apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, when he wrote, “A human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development.” He also noted that the “defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right.”

How fitting it is that Pope Francis expressed this in a papal document where he repeated his call for Catholics to go out and share the Gospel with joy. That is just what the teenagers and young adults do each year at the Rally, Mass and March for Life.  Their witness renews our conviction that with God’s grace and our good works, we can change the world.  The faith, love and witness of so many young people are a reminder that in the end, truth, goodness, life and love will win out.

Following are some insights from young Catholics who joined me at today’s rally, which I hope you will find as inspiring as I do:

“My name is William, and I am a 17-year-old home school student from Silver Spring, Maryland. I am marching for life because I believe our culture of death is the number one threat to our future generation and the number one evil that our country faces.  I plead with the youth of our country to take action, to stay strong, and to pray.  In this battle for life, prayer is our aid, prayer is our ally!  I believe that this time spent marching and praying together will not only strengthen our faith in humanity, but our faith in Him.  If we stand for life, God will listen: ’Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).’”

“I’m Kaycie, and I’m pro-life because I believe it is simply cruel to kill an unborn child.  They could have been the person who finds a cure to all diseases or the next president, but we will never know because of abortion.  I wouldn’t have the great friends that I have today if their parents decided to abort them.  I basically march for the future of unborn children.”

“As a teen in the Archdiocese of Washington, I find the Youth Rally and Mass for Life, along with the March, to be one of my favorite events of the year.  It is incredible to gather as youth and pray together for the sake of the unborn.  I march each year because, as St. Teresa of Avila says, ours ‘are the feet with which He walks to do good.’  We must be reflections of Christ in the world and be voices for the unborn.” – Bridget