January 20, 2006

Students, seminarians and adults
to attend March for Life

By Mary Ann Wyand

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is sending four busloads of high school students, collegians, seminarians and adult chaperones on a three-day pilgrimage to the 33rd annual Rally and March for Life on Jan. 23 in Washington, D.C.

The theme for this year’s march is “Roe vs. Wade Violates the American Way.”

Servants of the Gospel of Life Sister Diane Carollo, director of the archdiocesan Office for Pro-Life Ministry, said 216 participants from most of the 11 deaneries and diocesan high schools are traveling on the archdiocesan buses.

The archdiocesan pilgrims will wear black sweatshirts that say “33 years defending life—Archdiocese of Indianapolis.”

Sister Diane said Roncalli High School in Indianapolis is sending one bus and Father Gregory Bramlage, pastor of four parishes in the Batesville Deanery, has organized three buses for teenagers from St. Nicholas Parish in Ripley County, St. Maurice Parish in Decatur County, St. John the Evangelist Parish in Enochsburg and St. Anne Parish in Hamburg.

Four diocesan priests will serve as pilgrimage directors on the archdiocesan buses and assist the youth ministry coordinators who will serve as bus captains.

The pilgrimage directors are Father Robert Robeson, archdiocesan director of youth and young adult ministry and director of the Bishop Bruté House of Formation at Marian College in Indianapolis; Father Jonathan Meyer, assistant director of youth and young adult ministry for the archdiocese and associate pastor of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood; Father Eric Johnson, archdiocesan vocations director; and Father Shaun Whittington, associate pastor of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis.

“The priests will set the spiritual tone for the pilgrimage,” Sister Diane said. “They will lead the students and chaperones in prayer, reflection and the rosary.”

Father Meyer asked Catholics in central and southern Indiana to pray the rosary with the pilgrims during their trip to and from the nation’s capital. He said the pilgrimage directors on the archdiocesan buses will lead rosaries at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 and Jan. 23.

“The March for Life is a life-changing pilgrimage,” Father Meyer said. “Our hope is to save lives through our prayers, sacrifices and witness. One way we do this is through the intercession of Mary. When we are united in praying the rosary, we implore God with our Mother to hear our prayers. There is real power in this form of prayer.”

Sister Diane said Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein will not be able to participate in this year’s march and rally in Washington due to a scheduling conflict.

She said two seminarians from Saint Meinrad School of Theology and 10 seminarians from the Bishop Bruté House of Formation are participating in the pro-life pilgrimage as well as other Marian College students and collegians from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

“The participation of the youth from the archdiocese at the Rally and March for Life in Washington, D.C., is most important because it trains them to assume an active role in ushering in a culture that supports and respects human life from the moment of conception,” Sister Diane said. “The pilgrimage experience includes prayer, sacrifice, supplication and celebration of the sacraments during the trip. These spiritual experiences reinforce the idea that the battle against the culture of death and legalized abortion must first be waged on the spiritual plane.”

The pro-life pilgrimage begins with Mass at 5 p.m. on Jan. 21 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. The group then departs at 7 p.m. from the Archbishop O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis.

On Jan. 22, the pilgrims will arrive in Washington at about 8:30 a.m., then tour historic sites and participate in the National Mass for Life at 8 p.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception adjacent to The Catholic University of America.

On Jan. 23, they will begin the day at 8 a.m. with Mass at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, then participate in the noon rally at Seventh Street and the National Mall followed by the 1 p.m. march to Capitol Hill.

Again this year, Right to Life of Indianapolis will sponsor an interdenominational Memorial Service and Walk for the Unborn at 2 p.m. on Jan. 29 at the auditorium of the Indiana War Memorial, 431 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis. The service is free and open to the public.

“We hope to provide an opportunity to commemorate [the lives of] all the unborn who have died since Roe vs. Wade,” said Holy Rosary parishioner Lauren Senac of Indianapolis, the office manager of Right to Life of Indianapolis, who is coordinating the annual pro-life memorial observance. †


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