Thursday, January 26, 2012


On Friday, January 20, 2012, twenty-eight St. Bernard Preparatory School students left their campus for Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life that was held on Monday, January 23, the St. Bernard group was accompanied by School President Fr. Joel Martin, O.S.B. and Chaplain Fr. Bede Marcy, O.S.B. and two St. Bernard parents. They joined with representatives from various schools and parishes on the overnight trek to D.C. traveling together in four buses, with three other buses taking a different route.

“I was overwhelmed with our students’ response to the opportunity offered by the Diocese of Birmingham. Over one third of our Upper School, grades 9-12, attended the event; that’s outstanding; the largest percentage of students from any school in the Diocese,” Fr. Joel said.

Leaving at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, the group arrived at the Capitol in D.C. at about 7:00 a.m. on Saturday. The full weekend included a tour of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception adjacent to Catholic University, Mass at the Shrine celebrated for all those gathered from the Diocese of Birmingham, a day at various museums and other sites on and near the Mall, a night tour of the monuments, etc.

Finally Monday arrived and the St. Bernard bus toured the central area of Washington, including the White House, the new FDR Memorial and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Then all from the Diocese of Birmingham assembled in front of the U.S. Capitol Building for a meeting with Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions who addressed the group and patiently answered questions under a slight drizzle.

After meeting with Senator Sessions, all proceeded to begin the March a few blocks from the Capitol. There St. Bernard students united with the overwhelming crowd of thousands that marched from the Mall past the Capitol to the Supreme Court Building where in 1973 the judiciary branch of our government opened the way for abortion in our country.

The March was both serious and joyful: banners, flags, bands and bagpipes, singing, chanting, and praying.

Fr. Joel commented, “People were urgent about the cause and filled with the enthusiasm of an army of American teenagers, all born after the legalization of abortion in their country and happy to be alive in a country that allows death instead of birth.”

After the March, all boarded the buses and made the overnight trip home to Alabama, arriving Tuesday morning exhausted, but enthused by the experience of joining so many in defending human lives.

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