Friday, January 24, 2014

Spirit and Life: The March for Life: Once We Get Moving

I left Virginia to travel to the Philippines at the beginning of the week, and I'm still here meeting with pro-life leaders, Church leaders and legislators. You can see some of the pictures and updates from my trip on our Facebook page.  

I wasn't able to be at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., physically, but I joined the hundreds of thousands who braved the bitter cold in my prayers. I know many, many more across the U.S. wanted to be there, and like me were praying for those who went, and for the defense of life. 

Today I'm sharing with you an article on the March for Life by Steve Phelan, our director of mission communications. Steve and several other members of our staff, including some of our international staff, were there at the March escorting the pilgrim icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa along the route to the Supreme Court.

Away from the large gathering of pro-life activists we can sometimes feel alone, and like everyone else is against us, but as Steve points out, "Walking up Capitol Hill on Wednesday, it came to me that the March itself was a great metaphor for this struggle, and a way to help us keep things in perspective."    

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr Boquet Sig-transparent
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International

The March for Life: Once We Get Moving
By Stephen Phelan 

"Look at all these marchers, and they're so young! We're winning!"

"Look at the abortions still occurring, now paid for by hidden surcharges in insurance that most of us are going to have to pay for! We're not winning, we're losing!"

"Look at the polls, most people are pro-life now! We're winning!"

"Analyze the polls. Most people are still ok with abortion in some cases, and they still think that "birth control" actually reduces the number of abortions. We're losing!"

You can get whiplash trying to keep up with competing claims about the state of the abortion battle. I think there is at least some truth to most of them, but it's easy to forget that these are snapshots in an enormous, era-defining war to defend innocent life and choose what kind of society in which we want to live. Walking up Capitol Hill on Wednesday, it came to me that the actual event of the March for Life this year was a great metaphor for how to keep this in perspective.

It was 14 degrees and windy. Being from Arizona, I still enjoy the cold for its novelty. But not Wednesday. That was crazy. I was wearing (entirely inadequate) gloves with those little magic hand warmer beanbag things clutched in my fist as the glove fingers flopped emptily in the wind. Being one of a few men who had the honor of carrying the pilgrim icon of the Black Madonna along the route, I must have been a sight. One of the consequences of that kind of cold is that you stop caring about what you look like.

But it was sunny, which, along with the company and the energy of fellow marchers, made the trek quite bearable. Again, being from Arizona, I didn't know that "14 degrees and sunny" was possible, but there you go. It wasn't bad once we got moving.

Share on the web and continue reading on


Human Life International Director of International Coordination Joseph Meaney spoke to Vatican Radio's Ann Schneible this week about the March for Life in Washington, D.C. He said that it's important to emphasize - especially since the mainstream media tends to ignore the event - that, "the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people that have consistently come out for over 40 years now makes this the longest acting and most massive social human rights movement in U.S. history." Read More...
Ocean to Ocean Pilgrimage

The Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr is located in an area of Cleveland, Ohio known as "Warszawa" or the "Slavic Village." This area was settled by Polish and Czech immigrants who immigrated to Cleveland seeking work in the steel factories and woolen mills in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I have seen many churches in my travels around the country and the world, but this shrine is one of the most beautiful! Read More....

The pilgrim icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa was welcomed with great reverence in a ceremony conducted by Deacon Mike Schlais. The people sang traditional Polish hymns as the Black Madonna was processed into the church for the Saturday Vigil Mass led by children wearing traditional Polish dress. I preached at this Mass and the 10:00 Mass on Sunday which featured a wonderful Polish choir. A Rosary for life was offered before the Mass on Sunday sponsored by the St. Stanislaus Altar and Rosary Society. Read More....