On Thursday, January 22, Malvern students joined in with thousands for the 41st annual March for Life.
As exhausted Malvern students slowly trudged through the freezing weather on Thursday morning to the O’Neill Center, they showed little enthusiasm. However, many dreary faces turned into an energetic cluster of young men rushing to get a seat for a life-changing adventure.
The March for Life is an annual opportunity for Malvern students, however, due to inclement weather, the trip was canceled the last two years.
“Yeah, I was tired,” said Nick Li ‘17, “but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. Who knows if it will be offered again while I’m still here at Malvern?”
Villa Maria seniors shared a bus with the Malvern students, and others from Villa met the group at the March. For the first time ever, Malvern’s middle school students were also able to attend.
After arriving in D.C, the Malvern students and staff joined in Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Michigan Avenue.
One of the staff members and organizer of the March, Theology teacher Mr. Alexander Haynie, emphasized the need for engagement in prayer before the start of the march. “I thought it was perfect to start the day with mass down there in a prayerful manner which demonstrated the tone and importance of the day,” said Haynie.
The Mass was a grand scene with dozens of seminarians aiding in the ceremony. The mass was said by the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput.
“Many of you gathered today have made sacrifices to be here and partake in this march and it is important we carry out our actions with decency for all human life,” said Chaput
After the mass was over, the students got back on their respective buses and ate while traveling through Chinatown to the National Mall. Now that everyone had woken up a bit the excitement was even more noticeable.
“The joy on people’s faces and how engaged they truly were really jumped out at me. I knew the day was already a success,” said Haynie.
The students gathered on the large grass area and listened to pro-life activists and people affected by abortion. After more than 45 minutes of moving and inspirational speeches, the march began.
The streets of Washington D.C were flooded with people from around the country. People of different race, religion, and culture came together for a singular goal, to stop abortion.
It was evident that people had different ways of handling the situation. A group of priests were dancing in the streets singing while others were displaying graphic images in hopes to sway individuals. Others in the streets were chanting and passionately protesting the cause, one man even dressed up like Benjamin Franklin.
The main feeling, however, was unity. The passionate marchers seemed happy to know that they could express their strong beliefs while being accepted by the people around them and others were just happy they could join in the cause.
Malvern students were exposed to all of this and, according to many, it was very impactful.
As a few Malvern students rallied at the Supreme Court, they had a hard time finding the group marked by the blue Malvern flag. It was nearly impossible to move in the now vacuum-packed streets and it was time for the bus to leave.
When they finally found the group, a surprise was in store for the students expecting to get right back on their buses and make the trek back to Malvern’s campus after a stressful search for their fellow Malvernians in the street. One of the buses had broken down and was unable to drive back to the school. Another bus had to be sent from Pennsylvania to pick the remaining students up.
As the students were waiting for this other bus, they spent some time exploring the National Air and Space Museum. After an hour or so observing the aircrafts, the second bus arrived to take the students home.
Haynie called the day a great success, despite the bus problems. “I hope that they [the students] realized the importance of each and every human life and that every life is sacred from conception to natural death whether you have a disability or an impairment. Every life has dignity,” said Haynie
“When we as a school come together, with people from all over the country, we can make things happen,” said Haynie.