Loyola Academy sent a delegation to the National March for Life and the Cardinal O’Conner Conference on Life in Washington, DC, to advocate for respect for life at all stages. Eight Ramblers participated in the march on Friday, January 24, and were accompanied by chaperones Fr. Stan Czarnecki, SJ, campus minister, Mrs. Terri Guercio, assistant director of prospect research, and Mr. Paul Leon, campus minister.
“I attended the March for Life because my faith tells me that every human is made in the image of God and because of this they need to be protected,” says John P. Phillips ’22. “Babies are the most vulnerable in society, and if human life is degraded and destroyed at this stage, than it will be disregarded at all levels.”
“The experience was truly surreal,” reflects Aleah M. Parafinczuk ’20, who serves as the president of Loyola’s Right to Life Club. “The march was so empowering because I could finally see how many people are as passionate about protecting human life as I am.”
On the morning of the march, over 100 participants from Jesuit colleges and universities, high schools and parishes celebrated the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Mass for Life
at Holy Trinity Church, a Jesuit parish in Washington, DC. The Very Rev. Timothy Kesicki, SJ
, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, presided over this special Mass. In his homily, Fr. Kesicki stated: “We are called to remember that we are all made in the very image and likeness of God and see the face of God in every stage of human life, from conception until death.”
With approximately 500,000 supporters, the march progressed up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court and Capital Building.
“To see the incredible unity of over half a million people, all marching together for people who cannot march for themselves was so powerful,” recalls Phillips. “The crowd was absolutely massive and meeting so many young people was truly incredible. I will always remember being blown away by the strong unity of the hundreds of thousands of people. And meeting the other young people, creating bonds with high school students from other states and schools will forever stick with me.”
“There was an overwhelming amount of high school and college students in attendance, which helps break the stereotype that young people support abortions,” adds Derek Damasco ’20. “It sends a message of hope for the future.”
On Saturday, the Rambler delegation attended the 21st annual Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life at Georgetown University. Keynote speakers included Dr. Jonathan Reyes, assistant general secretary for integral human development for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the executive director for Justice Peace and Human Development, and Sr. Bethany Madonna, vocation director for the Sisters of Life. Concurrent sessions featured expert speakers from the fields of medicine, law, philosophy and activism.
“The conference was rich in content,” says Damasco. “The speakers all had interesting insights on the issue that are often ignored in typical debate.”
Later, a panel discussion on “The Consistent Life Ethic and the Law” was moderated by Kim Daniels, associate director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. Panelists included The Honorable Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel at the Thomas More Society and a national expert on issues of law pertaining to life, family, and religious liberty; Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life; O. Carter Snead, the William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, professor of law at the Notre Dame Law School, and concurrent professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame; and Mark Rienzi, professor at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, and visiting professor at Harvard Law School.
A closing Mass for Life, held in Georgetown’s Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart, was celebrated by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory.