From January 22 – 24 TFP Student Action held its annual March for Life Student Conference. Young men from as far as California and Louisiana came together to march in defense of the unborn children slaughtered by abortion and to prepare themselves for the intellectual and spiritual challenges of 2009. Talks ranged from the coming chastisement as foreseen by Our Lady of Fatima to the legendary Marine Corps hero Col. John Ripley, USMC (Ret). The highlight of the event was the March for Life in Washington D.C., which was blessed by the presence of the miraculous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. She graced the event and was carried by four members of the TFP delegation and escorted by the conference participants.
The constant flow of pro-lifers marching up Constitution Ave. seemed endless. In fact, Jeanne Smits, editor of the French Catholic daily newspaper Présent was one of many who affirmed that 300,000 were present.
On January 23, Mr. Stephen Ripley spoke of his father, a war hero, and his exploits in Vietnam. He defined heroism as the willingness to sacrifice everything for something you know is right, without expecting any reward or recognition in return. Col. Ripley’s example of moral courage inspired listeners to defend the truth even when doing so might be unpopular or controversial.
Participants visited the battlefield of Gettysburg. The imponderables of this battlefield evoke great heroism. Watching the sunset from Little Round Top, one felt solemn atmosphere over the fields where so many died fighting. The tomb of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in nearby Emmitsburg, Md. was also visited.
Hungry from the afternoon’s excursion, homemade brick oven pizza at the TFP headquarters awaited and the candlelit dinner was filled with jubilant and enthusiastic conversation. “I liked the pizza so much,” said Jonathan Ruff of New Jersey. The evening closed with a video presentation on Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira and his Crusade in defense of Christian civilization. A talk on devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary conveyed a very important lesson: To the degree that our hearts are united with hers, our spiritual and intellectual combat in defense of Truth will be effective. This point inspired participants to have more devotion to Our Lady. (Some made resolutions to pray a daily rosary, and others, to consecrate themselves to her.)
What gripped everyone’s attention was a talk on Our Lady of Fatima’s message and the chastisement. The speaker cited a very impressive graph published by the Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels recorded a drastic increase of natural disasters from the year 1900 to the year 2000.
Two thought-provoking talks on Islam clearly demonstrated the necessity of defending the remants of Christian culture of the West.
After a delicious dinner, suddenly, trumpets blasted and “King Henry V” entered the hall fully armored and thundered the St. Crispin’s Day speech by Shakespeare. Each participant was then called forth and the fiery king gave to each participant a picture of Emperor Charlemagne on horseback, flanked by two peers, with a quote of Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira:
“When still very young I marveled at the ruins of Christendom, gave them my heart, turned my back on all I could expect, and made of that past so full of blessings my future.”
Like a newly forged “band of brothers,” students departed ready to oppose the cultural revolution more than ever.