March for Life

Frank Pavone, Rev.
National Director/ Priests for Life
January 3, 2001

It was 1976, and I was a senior at Port Chester Public High School, in Port Chester, NY. My parish, Corpus Christi, scheduled a bus trip to the third annual March for Life in Washington DC. My mother and my grandmother decided to go, and when they asked me if I wanted to go as well, I said yes.

It was one of the coldest days I can recall. (The March is held on the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision, January 22, 1973, and therefore can make for some cold winter days. On the other hand, there have been many Marches on which one did not even need a jacket.)

That March for Life inspired me to become active in the pro-life movement. What impressed me, first of all, was the size of the crowd. People were there in larger numbers than I had ever seen, and there were all types. For so many people to gather, I thought, the issue must be of profound importance.

What impressed me further was the attitude of the people. They were not angry protestors. They were dedicated citizens. The love they had for the nation and the ideals of the nation was evident. They were family people, many pushing carriages with babies, or holding young children by the hand. If the reason for coming together were not to march in Washington, it may well have been a huge family picnic. The attitude of these people toward each other reflected perfectly what they were saying their attitude was toward the unborn: welcome, and love.

Faith was also clearly the agenda of the day. The prayers offered represented many religious groups, and the authenticity of the prayers was evidenced by the fact that people acknowledged their dependence on God, but did not pretend that prayer meant they did not have to take action. The marchers were praying and taking action.

Finally, I sensed the joyful determination of the marchers. They were convinced that they were on the side of justice and right, and that justice and right would prevail, just as it had prevailed at the time our nation took the wrong turn of slavery. This conviction energized the very atmosphere of the march, strengthening all the participants to take up their work in their local communities with renewed energy.

I have hardly missed a March for Life since then. It is one of the key events of the pro–life movement each year. The March is preceded by a convention during which expert speakers teach the participants some of the best strategies for local pro–life action, and during which Miss Nellie Gray, who coordinates the March for Life, reviews the Life Principles which constitute the foundation of the pro-life message.

Don't miss this year's March for Life! Information on how to participate can be found on the March for Life website, at, or by calling 202–543–3377. Let's bring our families, our parishes, our schools! Not only will we give a message to our leaders in Washington, but we will certainly inspire many of our young to become pro-life leaders. I know that from experience!