The New York Times reported that “hundreds” of people showed up for the annual March for Life on Jan. 22 in the nation’s capital. The Washington Post was a little more generous by saying that “thousands” were there.
The event’s organizers and participants estimated that there were actually about 50,000 brave souls who were present, despite the threat of one of the East Coast’s largest snowstorms ever, to demonstrate against the atrocity of abortion.
Actually the fact these media outlets even mentioned the March for Life is something of a victory. Most newspapers and TV stations ignored the pro-life demonstration as they do every year. That those who did report it understated the turnout should be no surprise.
The March was much smaller than usual because of the threat of the imminent storm. Most people heeded the warnings and participated in pro-life observances closer to home. All but one bus from the Brooklyn diocese was cancelled but that didn’t stop everyone.
Newly ordained Father Vincenzo Cardilicchia rented a van and drove seven young people from St. Brigid’s parish, Bushwick.
“We had been talking about the family, openness to life and the evil of abortion and contraception for three months,” said Father Vincenzo. “We wanted to finish this topic with the March for Life.” He likened the fight against abortion to a war and explained that you don’t go to war only when the sun shines. The Bushwick contingent arrived home by 9 p.m., safe and sound.
Not everyone managed to get home without an incident. On the Pennsylvania Turnpike, cars and buses with pro-lifers from Dowling H.S. in Iowa, were stuck for more than 20 hours. Undaunted and lucky enough to have their own priest aboard, they celebrated Mass outdoors on a snow-built altar.
Also jammed on the turnpike was a bus of pro-lifers from the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisc., who used the time to look after other stranded motorists. A practical demonstration of pro-life action!
Naturally, the storm took its toll on Saturday evening Mass attendance around the Diocese. At St. James Cathedral-Basilica in Downtown Brooklyn, one gentleman showed up but then left, promising to come back in the morning.
At Holy Name, Park Slope, 21 attended the Saturday evening vigil Mass. St. Augustine’s, Park Slope, reported an even dozen.
No one showed up at St. Gerard Majella Church in Hollis although the pastor Father Josephjude Gannon says Mass was celebrated for the announced intention.
At St. Sebastian’s, which has a weekend attendance of more than 6,000, only 46 attended on Saturday evening. At St. Patrick’s, Bay Ridge, there were 26.
Msgr. Sean Ogle celebrated Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Astoria, for 14 people. Msgr. Ralph Maresca, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi, also in Astoria, had 12 for the 5 p.m. Saturday liturgy. Again in Astoria, at Immaculate Conception Church, Msgr. Fernando Ferrarese, says there were 28. Father Joe Gibino, at Holy Trinity, Whitestone, celebrated with one in the congregation.
In Belle Harbor, Msgr. John Bracken reports that 47 made it to church on Saturday evening.
Father Frank Tumino, pastor of St. Thomas Apostle, Woodhaven, cancelled the Saturday Mass “out of concern for our people and in light of the restrictions placed by the Governor and Mayor.”
The great blizzard of 2016, the second largest in NYC recorded history, disrupted us all. It took us out of our routine and challenged us – in many ways, with renewed purpose – to live our faith.
People hold signs during a prayer and protest rally outside of the new Planned Parenthood building in Washington Jan. 21, the day before the annual March for Life. (Photo © Catholic News Service/Lisa Johnston)
Pro-life advocates pray across from the Supreme Court building during the March for Life in Washington Jan. 22, the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in the U.S. (Photo © Catholic News Service/Gregory A. Shemitz)
Pro-life advocates walk toward the Supreme Court building during the March for Life in Washington Jan. 22, the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in U.S.
Pro-life supporters walk up Capitol Hill toward the U.S. Supreme Court during the March for Life Jan. 22, the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in U.S. (Photo © Catholic News Service/Gary Cameron, Reuters)