A Good Problem to Have: They Keep Coming

By Kevin Bohli, Director of the Office of Youth Ministry

Every year, thousands of teenagers descend upon Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life. In fact, the events surrounding the March have become inundated with teenagers. The Vigil Mass that is held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., is packed to capacity each year with teenagers forced to sit downstairs in small nooks and crannies without even the possibility of seeing the Mass on one of the television screens. And they are the lucky ones who were actually able to get inside the building!

Yet, they keep coming.

The Youth Rally and Mass for Life that happens each year at the Verizon Center on the morning of the March turns away thousands of would-be participants because there simply is not enough space. This year, the organizers added a second venue so that 20,000 teens could participate at the Verizon Center while 10,000 more could participate at the D.C. Armory. Within seconds of the tickets being available online, their website crashed due to the overwhelming response. Once fixed, the 30,000 tickets were all accounted for and thousands more put their names on waiting lists.

Yet, they keep coming.

3,500 will attend!

Inspired by these numbers, the Offices of Youth Ministry and Respect Life felt called to offer an event this year to help accommodate these crowds. The “Life is VERY Good” event on Sunday, Jan. 23 will consist of a Vigil Mass with Bishop Loverde, a keynote by Bob Rice, and a Holy Hour with music by Matt Maher. Originally planned to be held at a local high school auditorium, the high demand quickly moved the event to the 3,500-seat Hylton Memorial Chapel in Woodbridge, Va. The event sold out within days of announcing it, and many hundreds more were turned away. The groups that did get tickets have continued to grow in number and will now be seated in overflow spaces within the building and watching the entire event on closed-circuit TV.

Yet, they keep coming.

The March for Life is a sacrificial event. The weather is almost always cold, rainy, snowy, or all of the above. The crowds are enormous, while the secular press coverage is anything but. The goal is to make a peaceful and prayerful protest against Roe v. Wade. However, in the midst of the craziness of the day, it is easy for a teenager to wonder if their voice even mattered, or if anybody even knew that they were there.

Yet, they keep coming.

While many adults may be growing weary of the abortion debate and have become cynical that change will happen, this is not the case with young Catholics. The message that all life is sacred is not falling on deaf ears; it is falling on young ears. The next generation of Catholics has already taken their place in the prayerful and peaceful campaign for life.

Thank God they keep coming.

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