| 40 Celts March for Life in Washington |
It didn't matter that when 40 college students boarded a bus in Washington, D.C., the temperature was in the teens. It also didn't matter that they had spent the night on blankets and in sleeping bags in cold elementary school classrooms, sans showers, at a parish school that gave them a place to stay.
These University of St. Thomas students were committed to being present at the largest march for the unborn in our country on Jan. 22, the March for Life.
Samantha Garcia, president of UST's Celts for Life club, said members wrote their own signs describing why they were there marching for life. Handwritten signs saying, "I march for all those baby boys and girls who will never know their mother's love" and "Because it is not enough to just say you are pro-life" were some of the messages that joined professionally-printed placards with "Life begins in the womb" and "I am the pro-life generation."
"I really do honestly believe that our generation is responsible for giving the pro-life movement a face," Garcia, a junior engineering major, said. "We are the youth, and we're the ones being targeted. So it's important for us to stand up and say we're the Pro-Life Generation."
St. Thomas brought its largest group ever to Washington
"This year we put the word out, and we had people flocking to us," Garcia said. "We had to turn people away because we couldn't take more. It feels really good that people are wanting to be more involved."
The UST group joined an estimated half a million people who marched along the streets of Washington. They chanted pro-life messages, said rosaries and prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Garcia said in addition to being prayerful, people were happy and laughing with strangers.
"It was really moving, because a lot of people don't realize who is alongside with them in the pro-life movement," she said. "When that many pro-lifers stand and say 'I am pro-life, and I'm with you,' it inspires you to do more when you come home."
At the Students For Life National Conference on Jan. 21, the students met other pro-life leaders and students. They attended the Youth Rally and Mass for Life at the D.C. Armory and a rally on the National Mall with singer Matt Maher before the March.
The March was hopeful and moving
The club's advisor, Sister Damien Marie Savino, FSE, associate professor and chair of Environmental Science and Studies, said it was a tremendously positive, hopeful and uplifting experience.
"Most of the crowd is young, under 30," Sister Damien Marie said. "I am very proud of our group in the kind of leadership they showed. It was very cold but they were upbeat. They took it as a kind of sacrifice, a small sacrifice they could offer for the unborn."
The March runs from the National Mall, through Constitution Avenue – along the streets where our country's laws are made – and ends at the steps of the Supreme Court Building on Capitol Hill.
The group marches so that those elementary classrooms they slept in won't have one-quarter fewer desks one day.
"It is an important issue for our youth, because they know that a quarter of their generation is being eliminated by abortion," Sister Damien Marie said. "We want to march for those who can't march."
Celts for Life club activities support life
In addition to attending the annual March for Life, the UST Celts for Life club supports crisis pregnancy centers with baby supply drives and volunteer efforts throughout the year. They also volunteer at the Brookwood community for adults with mental disabilities, because "every life has dignity," Garcia said.
On March 23, the group will host a fundraising dinner for next year's trip. Last year's banquet was a lasagna dinner with students as waiters and waitresses, which raised $5,000. The trip cost $13,000 in plane tickets alone.
Garcia said she hopes students will consider attending the March for Life again next year.
"They won't regret it," she said. "It'll probably be one of the best experiences they have all year."
For more information about the Celts for Life or the upcoming fundraising dinner, email Garcia at email@example.com.