Last week, over 100 students and designated faculty should have been loading several buses to head for Washington D.C.’s annual March for Life event at our nation’s capital. But, as recent times have proven, not everything can go as planned during a worldwide pandemic. So, in lieu of D.C., students celebrated a pro-life week on campus.
The week kicked off with a virtual, “Vigil for Life” event hosted and created by SMHS along with the Louisiana Right to Life Council. Many other schools joined from afar for the day’s festivities including St. John the Evangelist, Holy Rosary, St. Margaret, St. Isidore, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Catholic High of Pointe Coupee, St. Gabriel, Our Lady of Mercy, and St. Joseph’s Academy. Sixty-five Warriors attended the event, while other sites hosted anywhere between 20 and 50 students and faculty. Presentations were given by Emily Froeba (Pilgrimage Director), Fr. Mathew Dunn (Pilgrimage Chaplain), Members of Louisiana Right to Life Council, Fr. Josh Johnson (Vocation Director for the Diocese of Baton Rouge), Sr. Mara Grace (Vocation Assistant for the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia), and Dr. Kathy Allen (Director of Louisiana Black Advocates for Life).
Along with these presentations, each diocesan site also shared videos, hosted their own activities and socially distanced games, and ended with adoration and confession.
While it was disheartening missing the March in Washington D.C. this year, SMHS campus minister and March for Life Director, Emily Froeba, said students still responded to the week with enthusiasm and reverence. “Our students and others across the diocese had a good time at the virtual event and that feeling helped our pro-life week get off on the right foot. Students showed their deep commitment to life by coming out even with difficult restrictions in place. They were willing to pray and sacrifice for life – which is our pilgrimage motto this year,” she shares.
The rest of the week, St. Michael’s campus was filled with other celebrations for life. Students and faculty dressed for the unborn throughout the week, sporting blue and pink outerwear as well as newly made pro-life face masks that students created during their lunch hours. Donations were collected for crisis pregnancy centers around the Baton Rouge area, and the week included lunchtime speakers Dr. Kathy Allen, who is the Director of Louisiana Black Advocates for Life, and Fr. Brad Doyle.
Typically, St. Michael High School has over 100 students participate in the March. Other students across the dioceses are invited on the trip as well, bringing the total number of people who attend on an average year to about 450. “Since we could not go to Washington this year, we wanted to be sure we kept ‘vigil’ with this event,” mentions Froeba. “We wanted the students to have an experience as close as possible to the content they normally receive. Our students (and many others) look forward to this trip and are dedicated to the cause.”
Senior Abigail McCurry, who is also a former participant in the D.C. March, says she is still grateful for the opportunity to celebrate on campus this year. “The idea of not having a March this year was kind of upsetting because I look forward to the community of the event in standing up for human dignity together,” she shares. “But our campus ministers’ efforts to create a beautiful and educational experience through the ‘Vigil for Life’ and the pro-life week has been such a blessing.”
In the meantime, St. Michael students continue to pray for the unborn and all social justice issues, keeping faith that they will be able to return to Washington D.C. March for Life in January of 2022. Find out more about the D.C. March for Life and pro-life efforts at https://marchforlife.org/.