January 28, 2019
I recently had the chance to go on a pilgrimage to the footsteps of our capital and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
This year, the Maverick Students for Life took 20 students, many of us members of the JPII Newman community, to the 46th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. We were joined in D.C. by a half million other pro-lifers! I am so grateful for all those who support the Mav Students for Life, making this trip possible for many of us.
The March for Life was a journey of firsts for me: my first march, first flight, first time on a subway, and first time to the D.C. area. Getting ready for the trip, I was really nervous. I had heard amazing and upsetting testimonies from others about the March, and I truly didn’t know what to expect.
Once we arrived to the pre-rally before the March, my nerves faded away. We stood and listened to Ben Shapiro record his podcast with the crowd as a live audience. Sidewalk Prophets helped get us hyped up, and then we had the amazing opportunity to listen to Vice President, Mike Pence and the Second Lady. Pence then introduced the President of the United States! We watched a pre-recorded video he made for the March for Life, stating what he has done and currently is doing to make our nation a hospitable place for the unborn. Politics are often a point of contention in today’s society, but I must say that it was encouraging to see that our President is taking big steps to protect human dignity and the sanctity of life in our country.
Soon after, the March finally began. It was a humbling experience. We were walking with a half million other people, singing, chanting, praying, and standing up for those who couldn’t, all with peaceful smiles on our faces, despite our sore feet and hungry bellies. It was beautiful.
You don’t have to be Catholic to be pro-life, but let’s face it, many pro-lifers are. A moment that brought bittersweet tears to my eyes was when we walked past a group of anti-Catholic protesters. As they screamed through megaphones that Mary can’t hear us, I began to say a Hail Mary under my breath. I heard others around me do the same. As we heard each other, we all joined as one, and said the Hail Mary as a crowd. In that moment, I felt Our Lady there with us. I have always had a devotion to Mary, and it’s one thing to know in your head what you believe, but right then and there I knew in the depths of my soul that Our Lady loves us unconditionally. I felt her love for me, for each person there at the March, for every unborn child lost to abortion, and for every mother and father who had ever lost a child, and her desire for us all to understand the love of her son, Jesus.
Many have asked me what my take away is from the whole experience, and there are many I could share, but the simple truth is what blew me away.
I have been given the gift of truth. I know that life begins at conception. Each life is precious, no matter the circumstance. Whether is it a fetus in the womb, a mother who feels like she has no other choice, or a father who has lost his ability to protect his child, every person must be treated with dignity, respect, and – most importantly – love. And, I am not alone. We are the Pro-Life Generation.
Madison Richter-Egger | Sophomore at UNO and JPII Newman Community Member