By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
Supporting the pro-life movement motivated people in the Diocese of Davenport to attend the March for Life in Chicago on Jan. 14 or the national March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 19.
Andre Garcia, 16, of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport, attended the Chicago march. “We decided to go at the last minute,” he said. “This was my first experience in a March for Life. We loved it so much we are planning on going to more cities, with the hopes of making it to D.C. next year,” said the homeschooled junior.
The Garcia family of seven — two parents and five sons ranging in age from newborn to 18 years old — felt called to support the pro-life movement, Andre said. “I really enjoyed being in the middle of all the sounds, colors and people. I especially liked the high energy of the singing, chanting and dancing.”
The march in Chicago started and ended at Federal Square. Speakers included Sheila Liaugminas from Relevant Radio, the Right Rev. Paul, Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest Orthodox Church in America; Pat McCaskey, co-owner of the Chicago Bears; Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago; and Romona Trevino, former Planned Parenthood director.
Garcia said he enjoyed hearing all of them share the message of “love saves lives.” “I thought Trevino’s speech about her conversion took a lot of courage. The whole event was very inspiring. It opened my eyes to how large the problem is and how much it needs to be stopped.”
Five teens and a chaperone from St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City attended the national March for Life in Washington, D.C., traveling with Dubuque County Right to Life. Chaperone Michelle Cain of St. Wenceslaus said the experience was amazing. “And the weather — you couldn’t ask for anything better.” Typically, the weather is harsh during the annual march.
“The March for Life was awe-inspiring, with 575,000 peaceful and joyful protesters standing for the dignity of all human life! The atmosphere was hopeful! It was a privilege to attend and to represent the Davenport Diocese,” Cain said.
President Donald Trump addressed the crowd via broadcast from the White House Rose Garden. Speakers at the rally included House Speaker Paul Ryan; other Congress members; Pam Tebow, the mother of star athlete Tim Tebow; and ex-NFL player Matt Birk and his wife, Adrianna. The D.C. rally took place near the National Mall and the march along Constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets.
“From the Mass the day before, to the rally and the march itself, the entire event was inspiring and affirming. Every time I attend the march, I feel I am somehow more pro-life than before, and this year was no exception,” said Jonathan Cain, a senior from St. Wenceslaus Parish who is homeschooled.
“It was amazing. There were so many people at the march that you could not see the end of it,” said Joshua Poe, a sophomore at Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City. “I’m so glad that I was able to go to the March for Life for a third time. I’m very grateful for our parish, St. Wenceslaus of Iowa City, and for the Johnson County Right to Life for helping us fundraise for the trip. With their help, the majority of the cost was covered for all of us,” said Sophia Graber, a senior who is homeschooled.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to have participated in this year’s March for Life. It’s profoundly inspiring to see thousands of individuals from every sort of background join together to bear witness to the sanctity of human life in the womb,” said Nate Lamansky, a junior who is homeschooled.”
“I am always amazed at the testimonies of the women who have firsthand experience with the brutality of the abortion industry.” Their willingness to come forward to speak up for life, is “an inspiration to me of what true bravery looks like,” said Magnolia Graber, a sophomore who is homeschooled.
A delegation from the Students for Life at the University of Iowa also attended the national March for Life, including Vice President Emma Eschker, who is Catholic. “The March for Life is the largest human rights gathering in the world, and it was incredible to be there with other members of UI Students for Life and pro-life groups from Iowa and all around the world. Everyone was united with the hopes of one day seeing an end to abortion and euthanasia, replaced with a world filled with love and compassion for all humans, born and preborn.”
Eschker continued, “It was so moving to see thousands of people marching for life. It goes to show we really are the pro-life generation.”