Dominican Friars at the March for Life

January 29, 2018

On Friday, January 19th, 2018, the Dominican friars marched among thousands at the 45th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

The March for Life unites thousands of pro-life advocates from across the country in the single mission of petitioning for the legal protection of the unborn, our society’s most vulnerable members. But in addition to its main purpose of prayer and protest against the tragic sin of abortion, the March acts as an occasion for many other happy and holy events. Saint Paul’s words seem aptly applied here: “Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Romans 5:20). The Dominican friars were honored to host and to participate in many of these grace-filled moments.

On the day before the March, friars led an Angelic Warfare Enrollment Ceremony for around 35 new members at the Dominican House of Studies. Later in the day, after the opening Vigil Mass for Life at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Dominican House of Studies also hosted an evening of fellowship and prayer for all the pilgrims who were in some way affiliated with the Order of Preachers. Immediately following the Vigil Mass, the priory’s halls were filled with Dominican Sisters, college students, parishioners, high-school groups, seminarians, and other religious from all across the country. Old friends reunited and new friendships began—a witness to the grace of the Holy Spirit moving through the whole of the March for Life weekend. The evening concluded with Compline, the Church’s night prayer. In the candle-lit chapel, the friars and their guests entrusted their intentions for the weekend to Our Lady’s intercession: “After this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!”

The day of the March itself began with Eucharistic Adoration and Morning Prayer in the Crypt Church of the National Shrine. The student brothers from the Dominican House of Studies led hundreds of pilgrims in a holy hour, during which Brother Columba Thomas, O.P., preached on the sanctity of the life and the powerful  intercession of Mary, the Immaculate Conception. Meanwhile, another group of friars travelled across town to participate in the Youth Rally and Mass for Life at the Capital One Arena.

At noon, the friars gathered at the corner of 12th and Constitution for the March itself. Friars from four of the Dominican provinces in America were present, in addition to many other friars from across the world, all united under a single banner: Dominican Friars for Life. As the crowds waited to begin marching, two Bald Eagles were sighted circling high above the nation’s capital.

The March began at around 1:30 P.M. and didn’t completely finish until well after 3:30 P.M. During the March, participants alternated between praying, talking, singing, chanting, and simply marching in silence for the protection of the unborn. At the end of the March, the friars gathered to sing the Salve Regina at the steps of the Supreme Court: “O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us, Most Holy Mother of God!”

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