A Way of Life
Over the last week, American civic values have been on full display as many people have travelled here to witness the presidential inauguration, as well as some who have raised their voices on a whole host of issues. Unlike these, one event in our nation’s capital is not a once-every-four-years occurrence or every decade or a once in a lifetime gathering, but rather has been an every-year event for the last four decades, which welcomes new generations of participants each and every year. This is the March for Life, which this year takes place tomorrow.
Preceded by the morning Youth Rally and Mass for Life hosted by the Archdiocese of Washington, and a like gathering for adults and families, at these events and the march, hundreds of thousands of voices are raised to announce the truth that every human life is sacred. What is so encouraging to me is the huge number of high school and college students who participate. While many of these young people are local, there are also many who have endured long bus rides from destinations all over the East Coast and Midwest, and wherever they are from, they are willing to stand outdoors for many hours in generally less than welcoming weather conditions. Even more impressive, for many of them, their participation in pro-life advocacy does not begin and end with the Rally and March – it is a year-round commitment to human life, something that is part of the fabric of their lives.
Often called the Pro-Life generation, these young people bring a beautiful new perspective to their pro-life advocacy. Family photo albums have always been filled with baby pictures, but this is a generation for whom their lives before they were even born have been captured in sonogram photos. Looking at these sonograms and sharing their parents joy at what it means, they have no doubt that they were a living human being in their mother’s womb. They are also the generation who have the experience of the integration of children with special needs into play groups and classrooms, and they know that their lives are precious too. They know that there are gifts that are given and received when your circle of classmates and friends includes kids who have intellectual and physical differences.
Through the archdiocese’s #iStand4Life initiative and other programs, young people are able to share via digital media platforms what they do, day-in and day-out, 365 days a year to protect, support and stand for life. In addition, some have told their stories of promoting life as part of a video contest and I invite you to watch them. The testimony of this young generation, which amplifies the truth that human life is the foundation of everything we are and have, is worth listening to.