March for Life 2014

I once again made the trip to Washington, DC to the annual March for Life.  And as with last year, I found myself "embedded" as a photojournalist with a group from the Diocese of Knoxville, mostly from the Chattanooga deanery.

 

Youth from the Diocese of Knoxville participate in the 2014 March for Life.

Youth from the Diocese of Knoxville participate in the 2014 March for Life.

It was not easy.  By the time we got to the National Mall, while the air temperature was about 22 degrees, the wind chill brought it down to -2.  The good news is that we found ourselves in a march with some 500,000 other pilgrims.  Moving along - while singing, dancing, and praying - helped to make the weather a little more tolerable.

Marchers pass the Russell Senate Building on their way to the US Supreme Court.

Marchers pass the Russell Senate Building on their way to the US Supreme Court.

It must be pointed out that this is NOT an "anti-abortion" march, although the ultimate goal is to see an end to the practice.  Rather, it is a PRO-life demonstration, honoring and celebrating life at all stages in a person's time here on earth.

Sr. Agnes, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Nashville, smiles through the bitter cold.  I did not think their habits are suited for polar weather, so I suspect she was colder than she was letting on.

Sr. Agnes, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Nashville, smiles through the bitter cold.  I did not think their habits are suited for polar weather, so I suspect she was colder than she was letting on.

The Diocese of Arlington hosted a grand Evening of Prayer at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA on the night before the march.  I knew that Catholic musician was popular with many high school youth I know.  Now I know why - he really is extraordinary.  He entertained us before and after Eucharistic Adoration.

Matt Maher

Matt Maher

I especially like his song "All The People Said Amen." and the audience participation for it.

I especially like his song "All The People Said Amen." and the audience participation for it.

The kids, they love that Matt . . .

The kids, they love that Matt . . .

In addition to the music, two very fine speakers were present:  Fr. Agostino Torres, CFR and Mary Bielski.  

Fr. Agostino is a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal and doesn't work in the easiest part of town:  the South Bronx.  He is a very engaging speaker and funny, too - think of a sort of G-rated George Lopez.  I am told he is an outstanding sidewalk counselor outside of abortion clinics.

Fr. Agostino Torres, CFR

Fr. Agostino Torres, CFR

Fr. Agostino Torres, CFR

Fr. Agostino Torres, CFR

Mary Bielski is an energetic youth minister, who can get herself - and the kids - fired up about their Catholic faith.

Mary Bielski

Mary Bielski

Mary Bielski

Mary Bielski

The evening culminated with Eucharistic Adoration.

20140121-LifeIsVeryGoodConcert-076-_V8A2418.jpg

The next morning, before the march, we returned to the Patriot Center for a rally and Mass, celebrated by Bishop Paul Loverde.  Fr. Agostino was present again and this time joined by musician Josh Blakesley.

Josh Blakelsley

Josh Blakelsley

Drummer

Drummer

Kids, they love the music . . .

Kids, they love the music . . .

Fr. Agostino Torres, CFR

Fr. Agostino Torres, CFR

There was even a seminarian dance off!  Because . . . why not?

If David could dance before the Lord, so can this guy.

If David could dance before the Lord, so can this guy.

Another good year for the youth of the Diocese of Knoxville.  You know, even if you are pro-choice, take heart in this:  this is young people who are willing to get up from their video game or come away from the mall and actually experience discomfort - and this year's weather brought that is spades - for a cause they support.  There is hope for the future when kids can take a stand and follow through on it, rather than be apathetic consumers.

Amen to that.

"Hoc est corpus meum" - "This is My Body"

"Hoc est corpus meum" - "This is My Body"