Not Your Traditional March For Life

I have been a pilgrim in DC around January 22 (the anniversary of Roe v Wade) since I was a teenager. I’ve attended the rallies, the Masses, the concerts and speakers. Endured cold temperatures and aching feet. Last year, I was a pilgrim again, not in DC, but in a public high school.

Non-Traditional “March”

Once a month I walk down the halls of the local public high school to meet with a group of teens during their flex period. The group is called the Disciple Club. Many of the students I know from the Parish but several others come from other Churches.

That day’s topic – being Pro-Life. I researched the Roe V. Wade case. I printed out infographics about our state’s policy on physician assisted suicide. I made stickers that said things like:

“A person’s a person. No matter how small.” Dr. Seuss
“Speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.”
“I am the Pro-Life Generation.”
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5

I knew that wearing those stickers in their high school would be challenging. It’s one thing to march up Constitution Avenue carrying a sign that says “It’s a child. Not a choice.” when you are surrounded by hundreds of other people carrying the same sign. It’s another thing to stand for life alone in your own high school.

The teens were honest. How could they tell someone else what to do with their bodies? Shouldn’t people be able to end their own life if they are suffering? Sitting at a desk in a high school answering these questions was much more challenging for me than rocking for life with an amazing worship band in a crowd-filled arena.

Taking some cues from the book I just finished reading called, “Who am I to Judge?” by Edward Sri, I encouraged the young people to lead with love and mercy.
Remember, the Church LOVES people! To listen. Everyone has their stories.

My Realization

As the next period approached the group dwindled. I looked around the table and realized the stories I was sitting with.
1. One young lady was born to a single teen mom.
2. Another young lady’s father just passed away.
3. Another’s father is terminally ill with Cancer.
4. The teacher who was sponsoring the club just had her house catch on fire a week ago.

I knew those stories from being in relationship with this group. So I realized later that when we were talking about abortion and physician assisted suicide we weren’t just talking about “other” people or “those” people. We were talking about us. They were thinking of their teen mom or their ill Father.

That day was a chance for us all to be reminded that the Church loves and values
each of those lives. And all lives matter. 

So, where were you during March for Life this year?

Marissa Paoletti

Marissa Paoletti has been working professionally for the Church for 14 years. She has spent the last 12 years as the Director of Youth Ministry at St. Timothy Catholic Church in Walkersville, Maryland. She carries degrees in Religious Education and Philosophy from St. Vincent College and a Masters Degree in Theology and Christian Ministry with a Specialization in Catechesis from Franciscan University in Steubenville. Her other full time job is raising her 3 fantastic kids: Michael, Celia and Timothy. She loves to spend time with family and friends, cook Italian food, read, and dance! She is passionate about the field of youth ministry. She hopes to draw from her life experience of being a single parent and a minister at a bilingual/bicultural Parish to grow the Kingdom of God through ministry in the Church.

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