If anyone thought that the recent electoral setbacks had dampened the spirit of the pro-life movement, they had only to go to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. this January 22 to find out.
They would have seen throngs of people packing the mall, streets and sidewalks as they marched upon the capital. Adversity only seems to have stiffened their resolve as pro-life America was out in full force – some estimate as many as 300,000 – to send the message that the pro-life movement is here to stay. Vibrant signs of life could be seen as busload after busload of Americans of every age and walk of life offloaded for this 36th annual March for Life. Bishops, priests and religious were also there as parishes and schools came to protest the slaughter of the innocents.
The march has served as a national thermometer to measure the health of the movement. The verdict is in. The anti-abortion national groundswell is alive and well. Its marchers were determined and confident. Its banners and signs were colorful and plentiful. Its opposition nowhere to be found – save by persistent liberal media.
A Visit of a Queen
This year’s march had a special guest. For the first time in the march’s history, the original International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was present. It is fitting that in the midst of pro-abortion storm, Our Lady would be together with those who are devoted to her. As a true queen and mother, she was there to give courage and solace for the dark and hard days ahead.
She watched as the whole march passed by and entered at the end of the march up the hill toward the Supreme Court. At a time when political help seems less likely, her symbolic presence added a note of hope for divine assistance.
The hundreds of thousands of marchers that thronged into Constitution Avenue as they headed to Capitol Hill could not fail to impress. The event, so ably organized by March for Life president Nellie Gray, also brought together a veritable who’s who in pro-life America with cardinals and bishops, senators and congressmen and other notables addressing the crowd. The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) was present with a contingent of over 120 hundred members, supporters and friends, who carried banners and eighteen-foot TFP standards and distributed this year’s TFP statement: “Going Beyond the Humanly Possible in our Fight Against Abortion.” (Click here to read the statement)
Four TFP members, wearing the TFP ceremonial habit, served as an honor guard for the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue. The entire student body of the TFP-staffed St. Louis de Montfort Academy of Herndon, Penn. was also present. The American TFP was also pleased to host contingents from organizations in Italy(Voglio Vivere), Germany (SOS Leben), and France (Droit de Naitre).
Nearly 20 participants at a TFP university student seminar joined the march as part of the program. As in past marches, the TFP’s Holy Choirs of Angels marching band played a selection of patriotic hymns and American marches. The ensemble included brass, fifes, drums and bagpipes, which were greatly appreciated by the passing crowds.
The theme of the TFP message was confidence in Providence. This was expressed on a banner that read: “The more human help becomes improbable, the more Divine intervention is certain!”
To those who complain that the pro-life movement has done the humanly possible to little avail, the TFP message stressed that our small progress is all the more reason to “intensify our efforts but uniting it with a great confidence, having in mind that we look to God alone for the efficacy of our action.”
Protest All Over the Country
The March for Life in Washington was not an isolated event but rather the largest of many similar events held nationwide to protest the sad and tragic anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
One such protest that is gaining steam is the Fifth Annual Walk for Life West Coast that gathered over 30,000 participants – 5,000 more than last year. Despite a chance of rain, Californians – who just showed their commitment to traditional marriage in November — showed plenty of enthusiasm and excitement as they walked from Justin Herman Plaza along the Embarcadero to Marina Green in San Francisco on January 24. Many TFP Supporters, led by TFP member Philip Calder, joined a crowd with a TFP standard and several banners.
Confident Action Will Triump
Over the years, the pro-life movement has organized, protested and prayed. It has challenged the unpopular pro-abortion movement and put it on the defensive. What is needed now is confident public action to finish the task at hand.
As this year’s TFP pro-life statement aptly put it: “We are confident that all our pleas are not in vain. God has taken us this far. We are confident that he will complete His work—if we do our part. We must thus redouble our efforts and prayers since the final victory is assured in the words of the Savior who declared on the eve of His death: ‘Confidence! Confidence! I have overcome the world!’” (John 16: 33)
As if to confirm her Son’s words, Our Lady herself, represented in her miraculous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue, came to march with those who confide in her.