St. Ambrose Academy students go to March for Life Print
Written by Patrick Delaney, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Feb. 05, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
St. Ambrose Academy students at March for Life 2015.
Students from St. Ambrose Academy in Madison participated in the 2015 March for Life in Washington, D.C. The group stopped for a picture with their distinctive cow flag and the Washington Monument. (Contributed photo)

Imagine an advertisement that offered you a trip in January to Washington, D.C. for "Four days and two nights!" where you would spend your time standing in the cold, wet, muddy area of the National Mall and then patiently filing into the street with others for a long outdoor walk in the elements.

Of course, two of those nights include the consolation of a hotel room, while the remaining are spent on a bus.

This is what the St. Ambrose Academy in Madison juniors and seniors embarked upon to participate in the 42nd annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., which commemorates the infamous Roe v. Wade U. S. Supreme Court decision that decriminalized abortion.

Since this decision, released on January 22, 1973, the march has demonstrated against its intrinsic injustice to both mothers and their children on its anniversary.

Indeed, the most fundamental human right is the right to life, and human rights flow from human nature, which begins at conception for each and every one of us.

'Sanctuaries' of life

While recently in the Philippines, Pope Francis reminded us as families, and more broadly as the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, to "Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death."

In order to put this mandate of the Church into action, St. Ambrose Academy has made this pilgrimage opportunity available to its students since 2005, recognizing the permanent fruits that flow from this experience.

Of course, these young people are also motivated by their own convictions which result from study of the Church's teaching on the inviolable dignity of each and every human life.

Reflections from students

Michelle Kachel, a junior, reported that she went to the march because she "wanted to step up and make a difference in a cause" that she believes in, and to "grow closer to God" and in her "ability to defend innocent babies."

She found the "amount of people" involved "incredible" and upon reflection observed, "I no longer feel as though my small Catholic high school is the only one fighting abortion. I got to meet so many different people, of all different backgrounds, who are part of the cause to save babies. It inspired me to do more for this fight."

Clint Keaveny, a senior, agreed.

He went to the March for Life because it is "an important act of Christian solidarity to combat a great evil of modern times."

For Clint, the march was "a profound experience," for he "had never seen so many people act with conviction and complete unity."

After witnessing graphic pictures of abortion along the march route, he also concluded, "it is important to share the truth of abortion, no matter how barbaric that truth may be."

Junior Shannon Seitz emphasized how being with such a massive amount of people in defense of life gave her more confidence to speak out.

"I learned that we are not alone in defending life. It has made me more confident about sharing my pro-life beliefs," she said.

For junior Liam Moreland, the experience gave him "the immediate desire to go back every year possible as well as live a more active pro-life lifestyle."

It also encouraged his hope in the possibility that he and his peers "can and will be the generation to change the tide against" the tragedy of abortion.

Finally, junior Peter Davies affirmed the necessity for the Catholic media, observing a "single-sidedness of the mass media."

He observed, "the only headline I saw was 'Both sides come out for Roe anniversary'" though during the march he saw "hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers and not a single" pro-choice advocate.

Therefore, it is important for Catholics and others to have recourse to Catholic and other alternative news sources to ensure balance and accuracy.

Renewal of strength and hope

The annual March for Life affords the pro-life movement a sense of renewed strength and hope each succeeding year.

It remains the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world with increasing crowd totals far surpassing in participation and persistence of any other popular movement.

As witnessed by the students at St. Ambrose, it provides renewed hope, conviction and courage to continue in this important battle.

As summarized by senior Matt Marsland, "This experience has made me more keenly aware of the importance of actively resisting the culture of death."

Patrick Delaney is director of the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis of the Diocese of Madison.


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