WASHINGTON, D.C. | They braved freezing temperatures and trudged through snow. As they prayed the rosary and sang Ave Maria, faithful Catholics from central Florida joined thousands flooding the streets of Washington, D.C. to tell the world abortion must not be tolerated.
Impressed by the mission, seminarian Jonathan Arias realized, “This is a spiritual battle, not only to save babies in the womb, but also for the conversion and soul of the mother.” Astounded to witness “the intensity of the March” he recalled, “There was so much passion, fight and fervor behind each step and the words being proclaimed.” Arias is one of thousands who participated in the National March for Life, Jan. 19.
The new route went through the National Mall and right past the U.S. Capitol to catch the eye of politicians. Many seminarians from the Diocese of Orlando mixed into the crowd, standing for the sanctity of all life.
This was Joseph Binh Dau’s third March for Life. The young people inspired the seminarian with “their commitment to protecting life.” He felt compelled to travel to the nation’s capital again, believing one must always “speak out and support life and human rights. Children deserve love and care from their parents, and no one should take that away,” Dau shared. “Life is a special gift from God.”
As a future priest, Dau believes it is his responsibility to proclaim human dignity and the value of every life. Quoting Gen. 1:27 he said, “God created mankind in His image.”
Deacon Dan Basille, now studying for the priesthood, experienced a mix of emotions. “Sorrow for our country and all who allow abortions to happen or choose to remain silent; acceptance of God’s mercy for all people for we have all fallen and sinned against God; hope that we will continue striving to fight for all of God’s most vulnerable; and joy as we do our best to fight for the most vulnerable, trusting that if we strive to do our best, God will do the rest,” he said.
Deacon Basille took the words of Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, to heart. In the opening prayer vigil, the night before the March, the bishop stated the fight for life is not over. “Like Jesus, it is not enough to reserve our message for those who will readily receive it and to pursue victories only in those places where we are likely to win. We must persist in those places where our message is rejected. We must bring light to the darkest corners.”
For Deacon Basille, this means preaching the Gospel everywhere and without compromise. He noted, “God is with us, especially in the Eucharist where we can receive Him daily into our hearts, that we may always stand with and for those most in need.”
As he marched, Deacon Basille reflected on Is 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they may become white as snow.” He said, “It was a reminder that every human being has fallen, yet God’s mercy is unending. I hope one day there will be no need for marches; that no one’s life will be taken by our own hands.”
By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff, January 25, 2024