Diocesan teens will be well-represented at March For Life in D.C.

By Dave Jolivet
Anchor Editor

HYANNIS, Mass. — January 22 will mark the 45th anniversary of the infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Roe vs. Wade case that legalized abortion in this country.

It’s heartbreaking to know that for nearly one-half century the killing of babies in the womb has become commonplace, almost blase.

Yet, as demoralizing as that is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel that seems to grow brighter each year. That light is the dawning of a new generation of Pro-Life young men and women — a group that is growing and not afraid to express its views about the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

On January 19 Pro-Life advocates will again gather in our nation’s capital for the 45th annual March For Life. Among those attending will be nearly 200 girls and boys from the Diocese of Fall River’s five Catholic high schools. Other parish groups and schools are also planning on sending folks to stand up for life.

“This is such a privilege, for us, to make this possible for everyone each year,” Marian Desrosiers, director of the diocesan Pro-Life Apostolate told The Anchor.

At St. John Paul II High School in Hyannis, junior Luke Bagley initiated The Students for Life Group. The group held information sessions during Adoption Awareness Month in November with some students telling their own moving adoption stories. In December the group hosted the Stop the Violence Tour with the help of the regional Students for Life representative. The Stop the Violence display presents facts and figures about the violence of abortion.  Included in this display were 6,276 baby socks, each representing a baby killed in one week by abortion in the U.S. at Planned Parenthood facilities.  

Several members are looking forward to attending the March for Life in Washington, D.C. in January. Senior Vanessa Townsend said, “God invites us to embrace the lives we have been given, for as long as they are given. I am Pro-Life because I believe every baby should stand a chance. Life is worth living, and every mother should learn the worth of their child.”

“St. John Paul II says ‘It is about taking up concrete plans of action to protect and defend life,’” said freshman Nora Kearney. “I have met many young people who voice Pro-Life beliefs but do not publicly defend and fight for the unborn. Our generation needs to take action in defense of the unborn instead of waiting for someone else to.”

Co-presidents of the Pro-Life Club at Bishop Feehan High School, seniors Kevin Baker and MaryRose Corkery are among those from the Attleboro school who will be heading down to D.C.

“Attending the March for Life has made me understand the need to stand up for a cause that so many people, especially from my generation, are passionate about, just like I am,” Baker said. “I firmly believe, not only from Church teaching, but also from science, that life begins from the moment of conception. Everyone has a purpose here on earth, and each of us should thank God for being here.”

Corkery added, “Attending the March for Life every year is something that puts into perspective what truth and justice really are. Our nation and our world cannot have freedom and justice if the right to life is not respected, for every other right flows from human respect. I go to the march surrounded by myriad other young people, old people, and all united by reverence for the gift of life.”

Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth has a very large contingent signed up to go to D.C.

“Once again I continue to be humbled by our students’ response to the Pro-Life movement,” campus minister Amanda Tarantelli told The Anchor.  “We will be sending almost 80 students on the March For Life this year. About two weeks ago we had a silent protest day for the unborn.  About 125 students spent the whole school day silent with a sign in their hands that said ‘I am silent today for those who were silenced by abortion.’ Our young people continue to have a heart for the unborn and for the women who find themselves in unplanned pregnancies.  The Pro-Life Club will be sponsoring a diaper drive and a baby shower for local pregnancy resource centers.” 

Freshman Allison Baptiste said, “I am attending the March for Life this year because I believe that God has a plan for every person.”

Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River has a group going to stand up for those who don’t have a voice. “We have six students going on the march with us,” Dave Mulligan, a teacher at Connolly and one of the chaperones who will be going, told The Anchor. Some have gone before and two “newbies” are attending as well. Mulligan said a junior Pro-Lifer is hoping to start a Pro-Life club at the school.

Cherie Gilmore and Kerry Payson, faculty and Pro-Life moderators at Coyle and Cassidy High School in Taunton extolled the Pro-Life virtues of students there saying they are “proud to walk alongside our students and the many who will participate in the March for Life to promote the sanctity, dignity and value of every human life.”

“The Pro-Life movement means that people have the right to life from the time of conception to their last moment,” said sophomore Thomas Canuel. “It means that abortion, pulling the plug on a person who is dying, and poverty are all wrong. From the moment a person is born, they are entitled to their life until their final breath. With this said, all stages of life have value, and people are created, all in the image and likeness of God, the Creator. I have chosen to go on the March for Life to stand up for those mistreated in the world. These can include the homeless, poor, infants, the elderly, and anyone whose life is threatened. Therefore, it is important that all these people be recognized, not just by me but by all the active participants in the March for Life.”

Freshman Kathleen Kelly told The Anchor she is attending the march “to show people my beliefs and values in just a simple walk to promote the right to live and to inspire others that every life is valuable.”

Desrosiers told The Anchor she is very encouraged by the increasing teen response to the Pro-Life movement, “Young people are responding powerfully to the Pro-Life message.  We have a new Pro-Life generation which is more Pro-Life than generations passed. Abortion rates are at an all-time low.”

She urged faithful in the diocese to  be with the marchers in spirit by “joining us in prayer by going to Nine Days for Life at  http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events/nine-days-of-prayer-penance-and-pilgrimage.cfm, sponsored by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops.

“Our diocesan trip is a pilgrimage which combines the march with three days of prayer and sacrifice.  Our young people and chaperones are heroic as they give witness in the public square of our nation’s capital to the Sacredness and dignity of all human life. 

“On our final day, we gather with everyone from across our diocese at St. Matthew’s Cathedral to celebrate a 9:30 a.m. Mass before making the trip home. We now almost fill the cathedral. When I sfirst began arranging the D.C. trip, we did not even fill a bus.”

For more information about the march visit marchforlife.org or marchforlife.org/reasons-for-hope.

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