Last week, I went on the March for Life with over 600 Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, and Holy Cross students.
The trip was entirely student-run and student-led. As a faculty member, I tagged along semi-incognito and observed (as sociologists love to do). I cannot say enough how impressed I was by the students, both the leaders (who did an outstanding job of organizing a very complicated and logistically challenging trip) and the other students I met and got to know.
Sarah Moran is going to write a post reflecting on her own experience and has promised some pictures, but I wanted to mention some of the smaller aspects of the trip there and back that touched me. These were not part of the march itself–but they impacted me.
On the overnight bus ride to DC, students on our bus lead a rosary. I was catching up on e-mails on my IPAD when it started, but by the second decade, I pulled out my rosary and joined in. After that, we watched Juno. I’d forgotten how irreverant, funny, and touching that movie is. It was a great choice. Then we all tried to sleep. Not easy to do, but when we arrived in D.C. at 8 AM or so, the students were all still energized (as only young folks tend to be after such a long night).
On the trip home, we were all handed a packet that said, “NOW WHAT?” It was a great little packet and ended with a powerful essay by Stephen Wandor. I’d suggest you click on the link and read the whole thing, but here is one part that stood out for me:
…being pro-life does not only mean attending the annual March for Life or being anti-abortion, it means building and living out a culture of life.
The crux of the argument for life, and the very base upon which everything we do should be built, is that each and every human being has immeasurable dignity–a value that needs to be celebrated as well as defended. In today’s society where cash is king, it is so easy to lose sight of what really brings joy and fulfillment into our lives. At our very core we are social beings and if we really look at what makes us happy it is very rarely more money or other tangible goods, but rather the relationships we share with those around us.
In that vein, I thought that I would give a shout out to some of the wonderful people that I met at the March, or got to know better there. Sarah and Ashley, whom I’ve worked with but got to see in a different venue. Dave, a professor at Holy Cross, who is a serious thinker when it comes to the Catholic intellectual tradition and Regina, who, it turns out, is the sister of a colleague of mine at ICL. Hope, who may soon work at the ICL if she has her way. And Julia, Sylvia and Adam, who helped me to navigate D.C. (and were pretty convincing in telling me that St. Mary’s is the place to be, at least until Sylvia becomes mayor of Hammond). Oh yeah, it was also great seeing my cousin Tim, his wife Becky, and their two little ones- Sammy and Maddy. I couldn’t believe how long it had been and how old the children were.
Peace to all who were on the March and to all of those not on the March who every day acknowledge in their thoughts and deeds the immeasurable dignity of human life!