Washington DC. January 22, 2008 (A&Y) [Pictures from March] – Tuesday began earlier than what most teens and college students would have liked, but an early rise and inclement weather looming all day did not damper the spirits of more than 20,000 young Catholics who packed into the Verizon Center (home of the NHL’s Capitals and NBA’s Wizards) to participate in the annual Rally for Life and Youth Mass in Washington DC. Those who could not find seats sat in the halls of the Verizon Center and watched the event’s happenings on the TVs near the concession stands.
Hosted by the Archdiocese of Washington, the annual Rally for Life and Youth Mass drew together youth from all cultures and classes to hear the message of the Gospel of life. Through song, dance, story and testimony -- featuring musicians and lay ecclesial ministers Steve Angrisano, ValLimar Jansen and Matt Maher -- all that were present proclaimed together that their voice would not be silenced, and their generation would not be killed.
Present at the mass were all of the US Cardinals, over 25 bishops (including Bishop Saltarelli from the diocese of Wilmington and Archbishop Hughes from the archdiocese of New Orleans) and several hundred concelebrating priests. Before the start of mass the assembly was treated to a message from Pope Benedict XVI via the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States where he said Benedict “sees a radiant sign of hope for the future in this yearly witness of the Gospel of life.”
After mass, the participants exited the Verizon Center and marched to the Mall with vigor issuing pro-life chants and songs that undoubtedly ascended into the heavens to tickle the toes of angels. At the Mall, the youth from the Center meet up with the other more than 100,000 marchers and caught the end of the rally on the grass at the Mall.
The message being delivered at the Mall Rally by the United States politicians was unanimous: being pro-choice is the same as being un-American. To make their point, the politicians often quoted the Declaration of Independence, as they saw the pro-choice movement being incompatible to the self-evident truths and unalienable Rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” mentioned in one of America’s founding documents.
Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana gave a double-edged message as he said that “life is winning in America, but losing in DC.” Though the message might seem grim, the congressman predicted a pro-life congress in 2008 and encourage all pro-life supporters to take the three part Henry Hyde approach to the issue at hand: 1) Say your prayers. 2) Life is God’s cause not ours. 3) Take the long view (don’t seek immediate results).
Other politicians issued similar statements and several reminded those gathered for the march that the pro-life movement is not a political, spiritual or religious movement, but it is instead a moral movement that is not limited to people of any one persuasion.
Former presidential candidate, Senator Sam Brownback, made plain that the enemy to the pro-life movement is not the pro-choice movement. Instead, the Senator said, “Our enemy is death. Our enemy is fear. Our enemy is despair.” He furthered encourage all present to “End this night of death.” Senator Brownback later said that he looks forward to a future where “ [death has been replaced] with a playful child.”
Pictures from March Click Here.