Photo: Fr. Mark Baron, MIC
Brother Allen Alexander, MIC (with the black hat), passes out Divine Mercy prayercards with Marian seminarians during the March for Life.
'Salesmen of the Lord'
The Marian crest announces "For Christ and His Church."
Marchers come from around the country, joined by a common cause: life.
Armed with the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the truth, Marians joined thousands of pro-life activists from around the country who rallied Monday, Jan. 23, to mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.
The Marians held aloft a banner with the Marian Congregation's name and the words "CHOOSE LIFE" in large letters.
The annual March for Life on the National Mall was the culmination of three days of rallies, Masses and receptions.
"While displaying our Marian pro-life banner, we play the Chaplet of Divine Mercy through a portable audio speaker while the seminarians handed out Divine Mercy images and pamphlets," said Fr. Mark Baron, MIC, house superior and novice master at the Marian Scholasticate in Washington, D.C. "It's a profound experience to watch people being inspired by the sound of the Divine Mercy Chaplet as they passed by. Many even sang along with it."
Even a Divine Mercy cenacle from Delaware stopped to pray the chaplet.
Brother John Paoletti, MIC, and other Marian seminarians attended a pro-life rally on Saturday in downtown Washington sponsored by Stand True Ministries and Priests for Life.
"Looking for a positive and strengthening night, we were surprised just a few minutes after we had found our seats," Br. John said. "During a quiet moment amidst a change in speakers, roughly a dozen pro-abortion advocates stood and began yelling vehemently against the pro-life audience, which was nearing 1,000 people.
Among the protesters' chants was: "Pro-life that's a lie, you don't care if women die!" Their startling interruption of a prayerful event moved pro-lifers to their knees in prayer until the protestors were forced to leave minutes later.
"The weekend had begun. The battle lines were drawn, and we were off to a good start," Br. John said.
Brother John sent in the following report:
At this youth rally, Jessica Foti, vice president for Students for Life and Franciscan University, told me how she loved going to the National Museum of American History. She said so because she sees the great civil rights battles that have been fought in the past, and she knows that "there will be another exhibit someday" honoring the millions who were never granted the right to life. When they do create such an exhibit, I hope it includes pictures of all the youth at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, all 20,000 sprawled every place that is not already occupied by a statue or image of Our Lady.
Among such an exhibit, said Br. John, should be excerpts of the weekend homilies by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston (Texas) and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York. Both men "called out politicians who increase the accessibility of abortion," Br. John said. Both men encouraged "the young pro-lifers to strengthen their conviction for life all the more."
Said Br. John:
Amidst cold and wet marching conditions, the March for Life maintained a joyful beat, and it stormed around the Capitol to the Supreme Court building. This joy is easy to see as a dozen Marians in formation passed out Divine Mercy prayercards to the crowd passing by while singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet. The joy catches many people off guard. "Isn't this supposed to be a day of mourning?" Yes, and no. We mourn for the immoral path our country has chosen to follow in allowing abortion, but when you are pro-life you are all the more grateful to God for the gift of life. When you are surrounded by 250,000 others who are thinking and acting on the same Christian principles, you cannot help but smile and "celebrate life" as Blessed John Paul II taught us to do.
Chantel Fouchi, a supervisor of 11 buses filled with youth from the New Orleans area, said simply "I am amazed at how much Jesus loves us." It is not a message that pro-lifers normally expect to go home with, but it is most evident when we realize that we are not in this battle alone. We march together, we march with angels, and we march for the Gospel of Life. We do not know who will be in the White House this time next year or if Obamacare is still being enforced on Catholic institutions whose principles conflict with their demands. We do know one thing: We will be back next year to march for pregnant mothers, for their unborn children, for life. The joy of Christ will be with us, no matter the temperature, snow or rain.
Father Mark said the Marian seminarians "were like salesmen of the Lord, witnessing to, and promoting, His Mercy to the marchers."
The Marians' annual participation in the March for Life underscores the Congregation's commitment to battle the so-called "culture of death" through word, deed and prayer.
In addition to marching, each year Marians and Marian Helpers join in a novena of commemorative Masses leading up to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Furthermore, the Marians at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., recently built the Shrine of the Holy Innocents to honor the memory of the souls of all children whose lives have been lost through abortion as well as natural death.
Father Mark says the Marians continually pray for an end to the killing of children in the womb; for mothers who have aborted their offspring; for infants in danger of being put to death in the womb; for a change of heart of abortion providers; and for elected officials to promote the culture of life.