February 3, 2012

Young voices turn up the volume during annual March for Life

Youths from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis show their smiles and their support of life in the moments before they participate in the annual March for Life in Washington on Jan. 23. (Submitted photo)

Youths from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis show their smiles and their support of life in the moments before they participate in the annual March for Life in Washington on Jan. 23. (Submitted photo)

By Katie Lakstins (Special to The Criterion)

(Editor’s note: At 18, Katie Lakstins is a member of the Archdiocesan Youth Council who participated in the archdiocese’s pilgrimage to the annual March for Life rally in Washington on Jan. 23. In this story, the member of St. Ann Parish in Terre Haute shares her first-person account of the experience.)

I could feel the energy as I stepped on the bus that was traveling from Indianapolis on Jan. 21 to the annual March for Life pilgrimage in Washington.

I could immediately tell how excited everyone on that bus—a group of youths and adult leaders from the archdiocese—was to be there, to help end the atrocity of abortion and to stand up for the human right to life.

As the long ride began, our bus joined another one filled with youths and adults from the archdiocese that had left from Columbus that same morning. Our journey for life had begun.

During the trip, several people shared why they wanted to be part of the March for Life.

“Because I love being with people that share common values and to work with them for the greater good,” said Alex Asbell, a youth from St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle, who was one of the nearly 500 people from the archdiocese that traveled to Washington for the march.

Kyriana Moore, a teenager from St. Mary Parish in North Vernon, said that she went on the trip to “learn more about the Catholic faith and what we believe as Catholics, and also to learn more about why abortion is wrong.”

The Catholic faith was on display on the morning of Jan. 22 as we prayed the rosary when the bus headed into Washington for sightseeing. We spent the day at the National Holocaust Museum. As I saw the history of the Holocaust unfold before my eyes, it made me think again about how precious the life of a human being really is. It amazes me how 1.2 million unborn babies are murdered in the United States each year.

On the evening of Jan. 22, our group from the archdiocese joined with other groups from around the nation to attend the “Life is VERY Good” rally. We shared in the celebration of the Mass, heard a keynote speaker, took part in eucharistic adoration and experienced the incredible mercy of God through the sacrament of reconciliation.

“Seeing everyone gathered together showed me that I was not alone in the fight for life,” said Andrew Przybyla, a youth from St. Agnes Parish in Nashville.

The next day was the March for Life. It was an incredible sight to see so many people holding signs and praying for the lives of unborn babies. They were determined to stand up for the unborn on a day that was both rainy and cold.

“If so many people are pro-life, how can abortion still be legal?” asked Erika Smith, a youth from St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus.

During the return trip to Indianapolis, we started talking about our favorite parts of the march.

Sean Kirchman, a teenager from St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus, said he enjoyed “being able to look back and see the crowd of people.”

The size of the crowd for the March for Life was a real eye opener for many youths who attended the event for the first time. Many young Catholics were surprised to see how big the national Catholic community really is. It was a great experience for us to see so many people standing up for the Catholic belief of respect for life.

Father Thomas Kovatch also noticed a change among the youths who attended the March for Life with him.

“The large numbers really impacted them,” said Father Kovatch, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington. “I think the vivid pictures of abortions that were displayed during the march really strengthened their beliefs about it. Overall, I think it was a very good experience. All of them are ready to come back again next year, and bring friends.”

The March for Life was an incredible experience for all of us who attended. I know that in the two years I have been there, I have learned a lot. The march has strengthened my faith in the people of the United States. I pray that someday the March for Life will be unnecessary. Until then, I will continue attending the march. †

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