reflecting on the March For Life 2012…

… I want to start off by stating the official count for the Vigil mass on Sunday night at the Basilica – 12, 000*. Twelve thousand Catholics packed the National Shrine. So when you hear and read msm’s accounting of the March, if they bother to report the event at all, know that at the vigil mass alone there almost 18,000 people in attendance and not just “several hundred” that may be reported.

Estimates put the March at half a MILLION participants.


Image source: Telecare.


Image source: Speaker of the House, John Boehner addresses the March attendants.

The number one impression I was left with after the March was one of joyous hope. The future of the Church is young, vibrant, passionate for Life, and thriving.


Image source: Stephanie Richer


I was thrilled with how well this image came out taken on my cell phone. These young people are part of the group that flashed mobbed the “Walk for Choice” in Chicago February of last year.

Catholics weren’t the only ones marching either. The Lutherans For Life were there, members of the Hasidic Jewish community came from New York, and Orthodox hierarchs participated in the March.

You know what else was impressive, our Bishops. We hear so many negative things about American bishops compromising their orthodoxy in favor of political correctness and liberal tendencies that one might begin to despair. Yet, there were quite a few who came out and marched with their diocese despite freezing rain and mud.


Bishop Aquila of Fargo.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about something I heard at the Conference on English Catholicism. Two days before the March Joanna Bolge spoke at this conference encouraging American Catholics in their fight against abortion. Americans have a moral obligation to lead by example because the rest of the world is looking to us since we’ve made the greatest gains in ending the abortion holocaust. Her exhortation was repeated to me at the March by a family who traveled all the way from Canada. This Canadian mother brought her entire family from Toronto to Washington D.C because she knows that abortion will never cease in her country until we make it illegal in ours. Americans have a duty.

Not only was the rally weekend and the March For Life about coming together to speak out against abortion but it was also a good deal about vocations, inadvertently so. There was no escaping the sea of seminarians, nuns, monks and priests. They were at every turn, smiling and exuding wholesome joy. Young people were naturally drawn to them and attentively listened to the things they had to say.

This young lady was so inspired by what this man was saying that she was smiling and crying when I snapped this photo. These are the kinds of encounters that cause young people to seek vocations and investigate religious life. At the March you could see entire communities of nuns and monks walking in the rain and singing with young people. Despite the miserable conditions they never ceased to smile.

Quite plainly, they were representing. I did not see a single group from the order of Our Lady of the Ecosystem, Patroness of the Pant Suit. Perhaps that is why they have no vocations, because they follow lost causes that young people, future postulants, do not support.

I will be writing more about the rally throughout the week and including plenty of additional photos. This one post only scratches the surface of all that went on. Oh, and then there’s the matter of the journalistic irresponsibility of WaPo’s covering on the March. There is no excuse for this deliberate misrepresentation of the March For Life. It’s laughable how pathetic their biased rhetoric is. It just goes to show you how desperate the left is to cling to the lie of abortion. They know there are losing ground and it has them scared.

*Images NOT linked to a specific source where photographed by me. I ask that if you use them to give proper attribution to this blog. If you recognize anyone in these images and the communities to which they belong please email me at the_crescat@yahoo.com. Thank you.

Updated 1-30-12: *Official count at the vigil mass as noted by the offices of the USCCB.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Anonymous

    Great post!

  • Dmaes62

    Never thought of the international effect. Makes the effort even more important.

    Great article!

  • Tanya

    Awesomeness :)  The last pic looks like Brothers from the Fransican Friars of the Renewal, maybe? http://www.franciscanfriars.com/   

  • Ryan Ellis

    Can I interject one negative here, if I stipulate that I wholeheartedly agree with everything that you wrote?

    Generally speaking, the liturgies and liturgical demeanor of the activists was atrocious, by all the reports I heard (I live and work in DC/Arlington).  The Verizon Center Mass, in particular, was something out of a giant puppet head liturgy.

    NLM has re-posted a good article about this by Deborah Morlani Tribe today.

    We can no longer let the pro-life movement get away with rampant liturgical abuse, while policing it like hawks elsewhere.  It’s time for the lunacy to stop at pro-life liturgies.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      What took place at the Verizon Wireless Center was a Youth Rally, not a mass.

      Although, I did not attend the event I can not say with 100% certainty but I don’t see why they would have a separate kids mass with the vigil at the Basilica the evening before and the masses they were going on all morning and afternoon the day of the march. 

      At the basilica I saw no puppets. Only incense, man-lace and lots of lots young people reverently worshiping.

      • Ryan Ellis

        Excuse me for thinking it’s a Mass when Msgr. Pope posts what he calls a “homily,” he references a reading that was just read, and everyone is dressed in chasubles:

        http://blog.adw.org/2012/01/verizon-center-homily-at-youth-rally-for-life/

        If it was not a Mass, and thank God it was not, I stand corrected.  However, it’s still all very kitschy, and the point stands that pro-life liturgies tend to be very irreverent.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

          Ok, I had to call a few people who attended the event since I was not 100% certain.  They happily reported the absence of liturgical dancers, puppets, womyn priests, dogs in vestments, or whirling dervishes. They said the only thing they noticed was the contemporary Christian music chosen was a bit charismatic . 

          In my opinion this is not enough evidence to start condemning the wonderful efforts of our young people. Like I said before, the Basilica church was packed at every mass and there was nothing kitschy about them. 

          One mass out of the several masses in the Basilica is not enough to support your claim that “pro-life liturgies tend to be very irreverent.” I will disagree with this sweeping accusation because it is unfounded. 

          I sir, am not about to condemn the wonderful kids who marched in 30 degree weather, ice and mud. I can not set myself up as their judge when they were outside in these conditions from 10am-4pm to support such a cause. 

          • Ryan Ellis

            Straw man alert!

            I’m obviously not condemning the pro-life movement or the dedication of these wonderful people.

            I am saying that their jeans-and-t-shirt liturgies, charismatic music, and hand-holding ways are not consistent with Pope Benedict’s revival of the Roman Rite.  I would say the same thing about World Youth Day.

            I’m also expecting those of us who care about liturgy above all else to hold the pro-lifers to the same standard as everyone else. 

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

            They were dressed for a rally in 30 degree weather. How offensive!

          • Ryan Ellis

            Funny, I didn’t know there was a rally on Sunday evening.  Or that charismatic music, hand holding, orans position, etc. were necessary protections against the elements.

            I will also note that there were several traditional Latin Masses at Old St. Mary’s in Chinatown which featured none of these things.

          • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.a.richer Stephanie A. Richer

            Ryan,

            My daughter attended the rally and Mass with her school, Knoxville Catholic High School.

            The Mass was held on Monday morning, before the march.  The kids had traveled by bus for 10 hours, leaving early Sunday morning after Mass and spending the night sleeping on the gymnasium floor of a local high school.  Right after the Mass, they came to the Mall and began marching in the rain and cold.  It was not comfortable; this I know because I was there.  After the march, they boarded the bus and returned to Knoxville, arriving at about 4:00 am Tuesday morning. 

            I do not think allowing tired, but determined kids to attend Mass in jeans (and thermal underwear, if they remembered to pack them) is a liturgical abuse.  During my Army days, we attended Mass – sans nice Dockers, dress shoes, and mantillas – in the field in our fatigues (and believe me, blood stains are hard to get out when you work in a field hospital).  Our reverence was in our demeanor and our desire.  You can be exuberant and maintain reverence; in fact, for some very tired kids, perhaps some latitude can be allowed as they needed a bit of some rah-rah.  She is my 2nd teenager (I have a 26-year-old) – I know how their minds work.  Plus I was one, once.

            And . . . it must have worked.  My daughter came home with an appreciation for the pro-life movement and the desire to be there for the 40th anniversary next year. 

            Hope to see you there as well.  Some advice – pack the thermals.

          • TMarie

            You go girl! My daughter went to the march with a group from St. John Cantius Church in Chicago and St. Peter’s in Volo. Both parishes are staffed by members of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius Church, whose mission is to restore all things beautiful in the church’s liturgies. They offer a daily Tridentine Low Mass and on Sundays, one Tridentine Low Mass, one Tridentine High Mass, and two Masses in the Ordinary Form (one in English, one in Latin). The youth who went to the march were told to pack light (one backpack). Jeans were worn by my daughter and I expect by the vast majority of the youth. Yes,Ryan,  they attended the Masses during the trip wearing jeans. As Stephanie has pointed out, jeans were the most practical. I think God was pleased with the sacrifices they made to be at the March, and won’t hold their jeans attire against them.

          • Seraphic

            I go to Traditional Latin Mass every week. My parish community is full of great people, but we have a hard time getting more people to come out because they hear that Trad Latin Mass people are “the mean people.” There’s a time and place to fight the liturgical wars, and I don’t think this is it. Congrats to everyone who went to March for Life 2012 from someone who was there in 1990. 

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

            Thank you Seraphic. I wish Ryan would really just be honest and say what he’s issue is – he believes the n.o is an abuse, period. He is entitled to his beliefs, but you are right, this is not the time nor the place to fight about liturgy. It leaves a bad impression. 

          • Gail Finke

            I agree with you, Kat! There is room in the Church for reverence AND contemporary music and jeans. My daughter went to the March and I am so glad. It was a big expense for us. Her school took a whole bus and that was one of MANY buses from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and across the Ohio River to the Diocese of Covington, which this year rented a separate “adult bus” for people who wanted to go but were not affiliated with a school. The bishop of Covington usually goes but he sent a representative (he’s in Rome for his ad limina visit). Seminarians from both dioceses are usually there in force. My daughter’s bus left at 9pm Saturday night and drove all night so that they only had one night in a hotel. They got back on the bus after the march and drove straight for more than 11 hours.

            My daughter was a little taken aback by the dancing at the youth rally, which she said “some people really got into.” But she was amazed at the number of people there, how young they were, and how “normal” they were. It is easy to think that people who protest abortion are wacky religious zealots — that’s what the abortion people WANT you to think! One of the teachers who went told me this was her third March and she is always impressed by  the kids and what it means to them. 

          • Gail Finke

            I agree with you, Kat! There is room in the Church for reverence AND contemporary music and jeans. My daughter went to the March and I am so glad. It was a big expense for us. Her school took a whole bus and that was one of MANY buses from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and across the Ohio River to the Diocese of Covington, which this year rented a separate “adult bus” for people who wanted to go but were not affiliated with a school. The bishop of Covington usually goes but he sent a representative (he’s in Rome for his ad limina visit). Seminarians from both dioceses are usually there in force. My daughter’s bus left at 9pm Saturday night and drove all night so that they only had one night in a hotel. They got back on the bus after the march and drove straight for more than 11 hours.

            My daughter was a little taken aback by the dancing at the youth rally, which she said “some people really got into.” But she was amazed at the number of people there, how young they were, and how “normal” they were. It is easy to think that people who protest abortion are wacky religious zealots — that’s what the abortion people WANT you to think! One of the teachers who went told me this was her third March and she is always impressed by  the kids and what it means to them. 

  • http://universalcoolness.blogspot.com/ R.E.O. Johnson

    These pictures are great, thank you!

  • anna_rb

    I was at the March for Life and saw the Canadian flag.  We wondered why the Canadians were representing!  Good for them.  By the way, I never even saw the pro-choice protesters in front of the Supreme Court – too many people blocking the view!  My parish sent two buses filled with parishioners, families, grammar school and high school kids (who missed their mid-term exams and will have to make them up), plus some people from area parishes,  Ukrainian Orthodox priests and their parishioners, and at least one protestant.  90 people from a small area in Blue-state New Jersey – not bad, I say!

  • Kerry

     The Dinosaur Media will never report the facts or the truth.  They are grazing sauropods in their own swamps, who, one week after the asteroid blazed into the Yucatan 63 million years ago, glanced up and said, “What was that flash of light?”

  • Fr. Gary T. Villanueva

    Since becoming a pastor of a parish, this was the first time as a group that the parish organized and join the March for Life in D.C. We celebrated the Mass for Life in the parish then our bus left for DC.


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