Note: Emanuel Vasconcelos, campus minister at Cathedral High School in Springfield, accompanied 46 students from Cathedral to Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life. Known as “Mr. V.” to his students, he wrote a reflection about this tiring but inspiring trip.
TAKING A STAND
This year, Cathedral High School was able to send 46 students on the Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. to speak up for those without a voice. It all began at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus in Chicopee with Eucharistic adoration and a special Mass celebrated by Conventual Franciscan Father Marek Stybor.
We joined in prayer with a many of the youth of the diocese who were attending the March. Some of the groups were from St. Mary’s High School in Westfield, Holyoke Catholic High School, St. Joan of Arc/St. George School and the SanDamiano Group, all from Chicopee, and Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Southwick. It was a beautiful, prayer-filled liturgy. We filled up three buses. The drive was a long one overnight, so we started our pilgrimage to D.C. with a Rosary which I led over the PA system on the bus. The students joined in and raised their voices in prayer along the highway.
We arrived in D.C. early in the morning. We went to the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for an early morning Mass, along with thousands of other youth and young adults who were in attendance. That time of prayer was a great send-off to the Rally and March.
I think some of our students were surprised at the great number of people that attended the March. It was estimated that over 300,000 people were in the March for Life with us! It was encouraging to walk alongside groups from around the country, with high school and college-age youth, as well as long-time Pro-Lifers. All were gathered to stand up for the cause of life. I ran into a number of college (Providence College) friends and even a Cathedral alum!
Everyone who attended the March certainly left with a sense of mission: to educate ourselves and our world of the evils of abortion and to pray for laws to be enacted to protect the unborn. We also built up a community among our students to show we are not alone in this mission.
Mr. V. is a 2006 graduate of Providence College (PC). He also holds an M.A. from P.C. which he received after participating in the PACT program (Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers). He is an accomplished vocalist and a member of the St. Michael’s Cathedral Choir of Boys and Adults.