by Moira Cullings
Buses lined the parking lot of Savior Pastoral Center this frigid morning in Kansas City, Kansas.
I watched as countless young people from across archdiocese — friends and strangers alike — climbed aboard.
By the time the buses were packed full, I couldn’t feel my hands.
You’d never know by the looks on the young people’s faces that the wind chill was -8 degrees.
Maybe it was the calm of the Mass before they boarded the vehicles, or the blessing by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, who became the chair-elect of the USCCB pro-life committee in November.
But the youngsters beamed, lighting up the parking lot with genuine smiles and nervous excitement as they took their first physical step in an over 20-hour journey to Washington, D.C., for the 45th annual March for Life.
I felt excited for them, but, I’ll admit, also a little relieved that I was only walking a few feet back into the warm building and into my office — not joining them for the journey.
It’s become the norm that the archdiocese sends hundreds of eager participants of all ages on the over 1,000-mile trek.
The brave “Yes” each person offers often gets lost in the expectations we have for high attendance numbers.
But when you think about it, it takes courage to agree to this trip, especially in the dead of winter.
Not only does the pro-life message often contradict popular opinion, but the journey itself can be exhausting.
I’ve made it myself just once — my junior year at Benedictine College.
It was the year Benedictine was chosen to lead the march, and I felt I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to be a part of something so special.
It took a lot of convincing from my friends to get me to go (they actually signed up for me), but I took the leap.
Our journey went as smoothly as possible, and we were welcomed into the country’s capital with cold temperatures and light snow already on the ground.
The moment I stepped off the bus and joined hundreds of thousands of others prepared to march for life, any doubt I had about the trip washed away like melting snow.
I’m not sure if it was the cheerful pep talks before the event or the white birds (they looked like doves) that flew above us the whole march, but I felt like I was right where I was meant to be.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were making a difference, even if we couldn’t see it.
When I reminisce on my experience at the March for Life, it’s that feeling of peace that rises to the top above everything else.
I’m grateful for the young people now who are still willing to say “Yes” and offer the sacrifice of the journey up for those whose lives outside the womb aren’t guaranteed.
And I can’t wait to see what a positive impact they have on the culture of life in our country.