38th March for Life in Washington, DC: Spiritually energizing for Knights of the Van Nuys KofC Council and 400,000 others!


by John Costello, PGK

Huge numbers braved the cold of a Washington winter to celebrate life, save unborn children, and call for an end to Roe v. Wade.

For the third time I represented Knights of Columbus, Van Nuys Council 3148 and attended the 38th annual March for Life in Washington, DC, held on January 24, 2011.

The whole journey from start to finish was made spiritually energizing and joyful by over 500 priests, seminarians and over 300 thousand children, teenagers and 20-year olds

This year I attended MFL with over 200 people on a 14-hour bus ride, and 4 buses from the Diocese of Joliet, near Chicago.  Our pilgrimage was led by Bishop Joseph Siegel and Father Thomas Milota, Diocese of Joliet.   My bus had 30 teens from age 14 to 19.

On Sunday, our 200 marchers had a wonderful hot breakfast and by luck I sat next to Bishop Siegel.  I gave Bishop Siegel a flyer for our 8th LA March for Life and told him I am with the Knights of Columbus, Van Nuys Council.  Bishop Siegel then told me he is a 4th degree knight and is the current Illinois State Chaplain.  He is very warm and friendly.

After breakfast we walked to the Holocaust Museum and I was blessed to walk and talk again with the Bishop.  Then Sunday night we went to Mass for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  It is the largest Catholic Church in North America.  Mass started at 6:30 pm and it took 45 minutes for the over 500 priests, seminarians, bishops and cardinals to walk in before mass started.  Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, was the Principal Celebrant and Homilist.

I was so spiritually energized and happy to see 500 priests and over 6 thousand youth and adults at this mass.   Cardinal DiNardo said, Pope John Paul said we should be a luminous conscience.”  …”to the young people here –be Pro-Life witnesses to your families and friends.”

On Monday, January 24, it was a cold 19 degrees as our group braved the cold and walked from Holiday Inn to the March for Life Rally and 38th March for Life.

Nellie Gray, Director of MFL for 38 years, led the 2-hour Rally and March. Fifty-two members of Congress and one Senator came to tell their concern for unborn and pledge their support to overturn Roe. V. Wade.  There were Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Jews, Lutherans, Anglicans.  Silent No More had a huge crowd. SNM’s founder, Georgette Forney said, “Take our experience…it’s not a good solution…we’re here to tell you the product is not good.”

Georgette’s comment reminded me of my favorite quote from brother knight John Riordan, PGK who once said, “Abortion is not a good thing…it’s an ugly thing.”

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) was the first to speak. He stated, “America got a wake-up call last week with arrest of abortionist in Philadelphia who was charged with killing a woman and seven babies who were aborted, briefly survived then killed with scissors. They know the only thing the multibillion abortion industry produces is victims and women deserve better than abortion.”

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) said, “We have 100 new freshman in Congress and 90 percent are Pro-Life.”

Bobby Schilling (R-IL): “We have 10 children.” Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) SAID: “The greatest civilizations have a moral code that respects life from beginning to end.” Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE): “You know abortion is not healthcare.” Steve Chabot:  (R-OH): “I am the  author of bill against  Partial-birth abortion.” Mike Spence (R-OH): “We are going to end Title X.  We will deny funding to Planned Parenthood.” Phil Roe, MD (R-TN): “I have delivered over five thousand babies.”

Pastor Luke Robinson from Quinn Chapel AME Church, Frederick, MD spoke loud, and with passion: “72 percent of pregnancies of 17 year-old girls in U.S. end in the killing of unborn babies.  Where is Jesse Jackson?  Where is Al Sharpton?  Where is the African American church.  We must stop the lie.  We have killed over 53 million children since Roe v. Wade. May this Congress have the guts to de-fund Planned Parenthood.”

After the Rally I walked with 400,000 marchers down Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court Building.  I met marchers from Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Florida,  New Orleans, New Jersey, New York and many other states.  Ninety percent of the 400 thousand were teenagers and 20 year-olds. I attended college football games at Rose Bowl with 100,000 fans.  This crowd was 3 to 4 times that size.

My take away memory for this 38th MFL, after talking with many marchers, is that we are all energized by the huge number of youth, over 500 priests, religious, clergy and seminarians.  Back in California, Nebraska and Illinois when you pray the rosary with 3 or 4 others in front of abortion clinics, you wonder if anyone cares about Pro-Life.  After attending this 38th MFL you know there are many Americans who are dedicated and who definitely do care.

During my stay in Washington, DC I was blessed to have a roommate, named Franklin, who is a third-year seminarian from Bolivia.   Thank you Nellie Gary, Bishop Siegel, Father Milota and all of our brother knights and family for being rescuers of unborn, innocent babies.

Please support our 2011 – 8th Los Angeles March for Life – Saturday, March 12, 2011 – at St. Cyril’s Church, Encino, California.

www.lamarchforlife.org

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