Uniting To Advocate for Change
January 27, 2022
Saturday, January 15, 2022 was the annual Florida March for Life. Nine Academy students had the privilege of going together with religion teacher Megan Dubee and Campus Minister Patrick Phelan. The March, run by the Diocese of St. Augustine, began with a Mass outside of the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, celebrated by Bishop Felipe Estévez with a few speakers after. Then, everyone grabbed pro-life signs and marched through the streets of St. Augustine.
While it was much smaller than the national March for Life in Washington DC, it was very powerful to be with Florida and Georgia pro-lifers. It was a prayerful experience, where everyone was joyfully united to advocate for the right to life for the smallest among us. I am very grateful for the opportunity, and feel that it was important for all of us to experience together.
“This past weekend was such a great experience and one I hope to never forget. Traveling to St. Augustine with AHN girls who were willing to stand up for the unborn was not only exciting but also refreshing. After such a moving and wonderful trip, I look forward to what the Respect for Life club has in store for Academy,” said freshman Cate Peña.
“Having the opportunity to stand up for life with some of my AHN community as well as many others was a gratifying and amazing experience,” said Junior Amalia Peña. There is something so joyful and peaceful about the pro-life movement and rallies. Everyone is happy, and the group of people involved, no matter the size, shares the pro-life message in such a peaceful and loving way.
“The March for Life in St. Augustine was simple but greatly impactful. Our nine students who attended got to hear the witnesses of incredible speakers sharing their stories of hardship and difficulty. Abortion is a topic that is certainly weighted and highly contested, but what the March For Life in St. Augustine accomplished was making the pro-life movement not just a political stance but a human concern. St. Augustine gave all the participants a chance to empathize with the intimate struggle that women endure in crisis pregnancy situations. It gave all of us a way to understand how we as a Church can support these women beyond just the choice to choose life but through the entirety of these mothers’ lives,” said Campus Minister Patrick Phelan.
We all have a desire to be cared for. We all want to know we are loved and have the support of other people. That’s the thing about the pro-life movement. We aren’t trying to control women’s bodies or do anything to harm any woman; it is quite the opposite. We care about women, and, because we know the implications of abortion we know it is never a good option for any woman and will just hurt her worse. The pro-life response to a woman struggling in an unplanned pregnancy is not to tell her she isn’t strong and doesn’t have support so abortion is the only option; the pro-life response is quite the opposite. The pro-life response is to help her choose life. To give her the resources she needs to have the baby. To support her in raising the baby after he or she is born. To not only tell her she is loved, but to show her.
“I decided to go to [the march]because it has always been something I have wanted to do and an issue I strongly believe matters. I believe that not just baby lives matter but every human life matters. Which is why we should stand up and march for every single life,” said sophomore Mattie Holland.
Do we really have the right to life declared by our founding fathers in the US constitution if we are not given that same right while at our smallest and most innocent? Should an unborn child’s size and location determine whether or not his or her life matters?
“At last year’s Mass for Life, our own bishop, Gregory Parkes, noted, ‘If we as Christians, as people, as God’s family, if we fail to protect life at its most innocent and vulnerable stage, in the womb, then what guarantee is there that life will be protected, respected, and defended at any stage of life?’ and that has stuck with me throughout the year. If we hope to build a civilization which respects the dignity of all people, we must start with our most vulnerable,” said religion teacher Megan Dubee.
The whole point of the pro-life movement is love: to love the mother, her baby, and everyone affected by an abortion.
We believe that the only sin God doesn’t forgive is the one we don’t ask forgiveness for, and He wants you. He wants to care for you and love you in the way you desire:.“‘What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance,’” (Luke 15: 4-7).
Women who have had an abortion can find healing and help through Project Rachel.
Being involved in the pro-life movement can be simple. Follow pro-life Instagram accounts such as LiveAction and Students for Life to stay informed. Share a pro-life post to your story. Talk about it with your friends. Pray for an end to abortion. In the encouraging words from St. John Paul II: “Never tire of firmly speaking out in defense of life from its conception and do not be deterred from the commitment to defend the dignity of every human person with courageous determination. Christ is with you: be not afraid!”