by Lucy Wirtz
I just got back from an amazing trip to the March for Life in Washington! I was invited to go to the March by the staff from Pro-Life Wisconsin offices, where I often volunteer. As soon as I was old enough to understand what abortion was, I wanted to do anything I could to fight against it, to try to end it. I was excited about the possibility of going on the March for Life, but didn’t really know what to expect. I was going on a pro-life pilgrimage, but I hadn’t really realized that. I thought I was simply going to march with a sign in my hand against the Roe v. Wade decision, but I learned that there was much more to the March than that!
After a nearly-sleepless 16-hour bus trip, we stopped at an abortion mill to pray. I had never done this before and didn’t know what to expect. We were in the middle of the fourth mystery of the rosary when a woman walked out of the clinic. I had noticed that she was emotional, but it was not until we got back to the bus that I heard that she had chosen to keep her baby! We were all amazed and dumbfounded! But for some reason it did not seem real. I could not really get excited in my heart because I wasn’t thinking that she had a growing baby in her. I just saw her as a woman walking past me. Later on during the trip, however, our chaperon told us of another woman she knew who was scheduled for an abortion at 3 p.m. that day. She asked us all to pray and offer our discomforts from the lack of sleep for the mother’s heart to be changed.. This time, I felt a strong urge to beg for the baby’s life, to keep it from being destroyed. At 4 p.m., we got a text that this baby, too, was saved and going to be adopted. I was so overwhelmed at the realization that this was a real, living human our prayers had helped to save.
There were Masses offered each day. I love going to Mass, but frankly, I was kind of dreading both these Masses because I’d been told they would be very long, uncomfortable, and early. The first Mass we attended was at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Just seeing this beautiful church took my breath away! Hundreds of people were there, but the thing that shocked me was the number of young people – about 80% under the age of 30 and more than half of the people still in high school! It took 45 minutes just for the priests to process in, and most of them were very young too! It was so exciting to see that everyone who was there wanted to be there, they were so enthusiastic! The second Mass was a youth rally at the Verizon center, a huge stadium. There were, again, hundreds of priests, nuns, seminarians, and excited teens. After these two Masses, I was ready to take on the March.
The day of the March came, and I was stunned by the number of people gathering. You cannot understand from pictures; you have to experience it. People were singing, praying, smiling, and peaceful. We walked from noon to 4 p.m., which was pretty hard. But the atmosphere was so encouraging! I wasn’t just there holding a sign. I was part of something prayerful, powerful, and moving.
The March for Life was much more than a political event; it was spiritually moving, and I felt like I had drunk pro-life coffee and had woken up to the reality of the pro-life message. It took on a new meaning to me. I realized that the life in a mother’s womb was more precious than I had ever imagined! It was a blessing to go. It really changed me. Even though I am young, I am determined to go and stand up for life on the sidewalks and encourage others to join me in this incredible mission.