We are ready to launch Generation Life 2017! Bags have been packed. Snacks and pillows are loaded on buses. About 2100 teens, chaperones, clergy, seminarians, and volunteers are launching off from several locations across the Archdiocese, all with the same goal: the March for Life!

Because Generation Life is a pilgrimage and not just another trip, our evening began in church with Mass and reception of the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of our lives. At the Assumption launch site, Fr. Thomas Keller invited all those attending the March for Life for the first time to stand; about 70% of the teens stood. Fr. Keller, who has been to the March for Life 25 times, had some words of wisdom and amusing stories for the teens in his homily. He admitted that, although the first time he went on the March, it was because it was free and it was an excused absence from school, the experience changed his life. He met other youth who were excited about their faith and made some of his best friends on that trip.

It’s Not What You Expect or Easy

Attending the March isn’t always easy and  you never know what to expect. It might be snowing or it might be too warm for even a hoodie. Your phone may run out of battery and you have no place to charge it. You might have to get off the bus right when you finally fall asleep. It might be your bus that is “that bus” where everyone gets sick. You might have to stand there and wait until it’s your group’s turn to eat.

Despite the not fun moments, participating in the March for Life is worth it.

Standing with Amazing People

The great thing about the March, Fr. Keller pointed out, is that you get to stand with so many other people who have dedicated their lives to proclaiming the Culture of Life. Some of the people at the March for Life have been attending every single year since 1974. Some of these people have worked countless hours to provide clothing, shelter, and health care for pregnant women. Some people have become doctors and lawyers just so they can help protect the unborn. Some people have prayed outside abortion facilities in rain, snow, and cold to pray for an end to abortion. We get to stand alongside some amazing people on this March.

A Moment for Conversion

For Fr. Keller, his first time on the March for Life was a conversion experience. It opened his eyes to the importance of being pro-life and it changed his life, much like the conversion of St. Paul. Jesus will be coming to encounter us on this pilgrimage in the faces of all those we see on the March and those whom we interact with along the way to D.C. Maybe, through the pilgrims on Generation Life, our nation will come to understand the importance of protect all life. Perhaps through our witness, we can slowly help convert the hearts and minds of our nation’s leaders. Hopefully, being part of Generation Life will help change not only you but our entire nation. Let’s work together, with God’s grace, to go save some lives – that’s what we’re going to do.