Every year it happens on or about January 22nd, the anniversary of that terrible day when our country legalized abortion. What happens is something that, each year, always amazes me. What is a day of penance and prayer is also a day of great joy and a day which many people say is the highlight of their year: the annual March for Life in Washington, DC and other major cities, not just in the USA but now even in places like Paris, France and Prague, Czech Republic.
For many years our community has observed this day with a solemn fast and prayer. We don't watch television except for an occasional event with the Holy Father but for the past few years we have been watching at least part of the Annual Vigil Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception which is celebrated the night before the March. The last few years the Mass has been been scheduled earlier and earlier and now it's at 6:30 PM which works just great for us.
For the members of the community who have never attended the March it is inspiring to see the huge, and I mean HUGE, throng of young people and the HUGE, and again I mean HUGE, number of seminarians that process in at the beginning of Mass. Then there is a not-so-huge but a close-to-it huge number of priests and bishops. Of course we enjoy trying to find the people we know and the story is always told of how were were SURE we saw Sr. Maria Teresa at the Mass just a few days before she entered. We were positive. Guess what? We were wrong!
Seeing this rather small gathering compared to the numbers at the March itself has encouraged us in our own way of attending the March--in spirit and in prayer.
Our young sisters regale us with stories of their experiences and again, it is the joy that radiates as they speak. Sr. Mary Magdalene told us last night that there are always huge numbers from Kansas and would you believe it? Steven D. Greydanus of The National Catholic Register blogging from the March this year wrote, "Apparently there is a huge contingent here from Kansas - a pair of Kansas representatives gets a huge cheer of welcome"As Sr. Mary Magdalene would say, "I'm jist sayin'!"