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A passion for all life

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mother Teresa once said, “It is a poverty that a child must die, so that you may live as you wish.” 

We remember the day, Jan. 22, 1973, as the day that human dignity lost its value in the United States when the U.S. Supreme Court made abortion legal in Roe v. Wade.

For the past 42 years pro-lifers have taken a stand against abortion by participating in the annual March for Life.  Hundreds of thousands of citizens gather in Washington, D.C., at the National Mall and march their way to Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court.  

With nearly 600 high school students and chaperons present, the Archdiocese of New Orleans proudly marched this year to demand justice for those who have died as a result of abortion, to be a voice for the voiceless and to assure the true meaning of human dignity.

Time for prayer, catechesis

The pilgrimage is more than just the march itself. We also spent time in prayer, at educational forums and other opportunities to learn how to better change hearts and minds and to speak effectively to those who say they are “pro-choice” so that we can build a culture of life.

At the Geaux Forth Rally sponsored by the Louisiana Right to Life Federation, pro-life activist and Live Action president Lila Rose spoke to Louisiana students about her participation in the pro-life movement and how she became involved to great effect at such a young age.

Speakers like Lila Rose have come to the Geaux Forth Rally annually to share their experiences and how it is our job, especially as Catholics, to stand up for the right to life.

“I truly found it inspiring (to see) how brave she was,” said Brother Martin senior Justin Gaudet. “Being able to act as a pregnant teenager and spy on Planned Parenthood in order to expose immoral and illegal activities amazes me.”

Another aspect of this pilgrimage is a focus on one’s personal relationship with God. Through opportunities for confession, eucharistic adoration and the Life is Very Good event  – sponsored by the Diocese of Arlington with Christian musical artists Matt Maher and the Rend Collective – everyone is able to have their own special encounter with Christ.

“Adoration was definitely the most impactful moment of the trip,” Cabrini junior Mignon Topino said. “I’ve never felt so close to God, but it really touched my heart to see everyone on their knees and truly adoring the presence of Christ.”

Adoration is one of the most powerful forms of prayer and an amazing opportunity for teenagers to connect with God.

I’ll be back

This has been my second year attending the pilgrimage, and I decided to march again to continue to grow in my relationship with God and to prove that the life and dignity of an unborn child matters. Since I am a senior, I’m sad to say that I cannot attend as a high school student again. However I plan to attend the march every year that legalized abortion continues to exist.  

Not a day goes by that I do not reflect on my experiences on the pilgrimages. This is where I have grown in my faith. I’ve met amazing and inspiring young adults that continue to push me to be a better person and a better Catholic.

We students are able to return to our homes, schools and church parishes and bring the experience back with us. We can explain the loss of human life and dignity, we can comfort those who have experienced loss due to abortion, and we can help others grow in faith.

Cameron Ponder is a senior at Cabrini High School and participated with her school delegation on the Archdiocesan Youth Pilgrimage to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., a trip sponsored annually by the CYO/Youth & Young Adult Ministry Office. 

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