By Dan Russo
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hundreds of people from the Archdiocese of Dubuque took part in the events surrounding this year’s National March for Life in Washington, D.C.
A Vigil Mass for Catholics was held Jan. 26 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. On Jan. 27, a rally and march were held on the National Mall, starting with speakers around the Washington Monument and passing by the Capitol Building and Supreme Court. Hundreds of thousands march each year to commemorate the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.
Students who attend Aquin Catholic School in Cascade were among those that were part of what has been described as a “pro-life pilgrimage.”
“It was really good to see some of the speakers,” said Aquin eighth-grader Tessa Hill. “It’s an incredible experience.”
“It was really cool to see so many people fight for the right to life,” added her classmate Emma Ostwinkle.
The Aquin students and their parents attended with a group of 45 from Cascade that traveled to the march. Katie McGuire, an eighth grade teacher at the school, has been attending for over a decade.
“It was a huge crowd,” said McGuire. “Probably as big as we’ve ever had. The rally was different because of security since Vice President (Mike) Pence was there … People did a great job. Our speakers were upbeat. The theme was the power of one.”
Students and parents from Mazzuchelli Catholic Middle School and Wahlert Catholic High School in Dubuque also attended, as well as a group from Beckman Catholic School in Dyersville, among many others from the archdiocese. Many students from the Dubuque area were asked to answer questions and reflect on the experience on the way home.
“I learned that there are lots of people who participate in this movement,” wrote Mazzuchelli student Brady Bauer. “I thought it was just a couple of schools in it.”
Some of the groups were able to site see at various memorials and monuments and visit with local legislators. The Vigil Mass, which drew thousands to the basilica, was a highlight for Evie Ward, also a student at Mazzuchelli.
“It was a huge Mass,” she reflected. “It is crazy to see everyone who came from all around. I liked seeing all the religious men and women (who participated).”
Father Richard Schaefer, a retired priest for the archdiocese, was among the adults that traveled to the march from Dubuque.
“I was impressed with the bond of the community and unity toward the wonderful cause and particularly the good character shown by these young people,” wrote Father Schaefer.
l to r): Beckman Catholic School eighth-graders Meliah Eiben, Sydney Steger and Melanie Lutgen pose with the Washington Monument in the background. They were part of a group from Dyersville. (Photo contributed by Beckman Catholic School)