|The Trinity Pilgrims for Life|
We were back on the bus around 2pm and then headed off to our host schools. Our trip almost got interesting when a truck in front of us on the New Jersey Turnpike blew a tire and somehow his gas tank ripped open and gas started pouring out. Our amazing bus driver Dominic avoided the truck and got us around it. If we were five minutes behind that truck, we would have been stuck for hours as I am sure they had to shut down the road with all that gas.
After a brief stop at a rest area in Delaware, we arrived at our host schools at 6:30pm. For years, we have been staying at Elizabeth Seton High School (girls) and DeMatha Catholic High School (boys). The schools never charge us a penny (although I send them a donation) and will often provide some breakfast food. We dropped the girls off first (along with some pizza) and then the boys headed over to DeMatha. The boys stayed in DeMatha's new athletic building which is breathtaking. We usually stay in their main building but this year they had us stay in the new building which was a little more "open" for the kids to walk around and burn off their energy.
We were all up early on Thursday morning and on the bus by 6:30am. We went to the DC Armory for the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life, the highlight of the trip really. The DC Armory is the secondary site as the main Youth Rally is held at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington. The Armory is about 2 miles from downtown and is next to RFK Stadium. The rally is a combination of music, prayer, witness talks, etc. with a Mass following at 9:30am. They also had confessions available and I took advantage of the opportunity. The group from Ste. Marie's Parish in Manchester (over 100 kids and adults) was also there and many former Trinity parents were there.
The procession of bishops, priests, and deacons is always impressive at this Mass and our seats were right in front of it so the kids got a close-up view. There were over 100 priests, dozens of deacons, and about 10 bishops. The celebrant of the Mass was Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of Galveston-Houston. The Mass always begins with an introduction of all the bishops in attendance and the youth from their dioceses always go crazy. The homily was preached by a local priest and the music was provided by Josh Blakesley Band. You can watch a video I made of the procession at this link.
After the Mass, we headed into downtown Washington for the March for Life. There was a metro stop right next to the Armory but given the large crowd of people going into the station, we decided to walk instead. It was a mild day weather wise so the walk was very pleasant. We walked past the U.S. Capitol and towards the National Mall. I am not sure where the march actually begins, we just usually jump into the crowd at some point along the route. We saw a huge crowd at the intersection of Constitution Avenue and another street (I forget which one) so we joined there. It turned out to be the front of the march so we jumped in there and were done relatively early. We are usually stuck towards the back and it takes forever to get started but this time we were one of the first groups done. The crowd was huge and the best part is when you get to Capitol Hill and turn around and see the massive throng of people behind you witnessing for life.
After we finished, most of us then headed to Union Station for lunch and then a group of us went down to the National Archives where the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights are on display. Most of the kids have seen these but I never had so I was very excited. We were back on our bus at 6pm and after a stop at a rest stop in New Jersey and another in Massachusetts so the driver could get coffee, we were back at Trinity at 3am. I live 40 minutes away from Trinity so I just stayed at school and slept in my office. Luckily I was woken by students in the hallway as I slept through my alarm!
This was a great trip and I was helped by Mr. Sheehan '79 and many parents. The students were wonderful witnesses for life and made the trip very enjoyable. I am grateful for them for giving up comfort and sleep for 46 hours and for being a part of the biggest annual rally in Washington, DC. Here's to next year's trip!