It’s never too early to begin marching for life or understanding that God is the only one who can give life and take it away.
Those are key messages that children ages 5 to 14 learned during their school’s first March for Life Jan. 22. Most Holy Trinity’s student trek from the church to the hall across the street featured joyful singing and handmade posters — largely on light pink or blue papers and featuring tiny footprints — proclaiming the value of life from the moment of conception.
Students hung larger banners around the church hall upon their arrival. Smaller posters rested in front of the respective artist while Collette Byrne, a Most Holy Trinity parishioner, led everyone in an age-appropriate discussion about an array of life issues. One of her sons, who is adopted, turned 33 that day.
In essence, it was a scaled down version of what pro-life advocates experienced the same day in Washington D.C. — minus the low temperatures. It also served as an early preview of what others could expect at the Arizona Life Rally that got rolling an hour later in downtown Phoenix. It was that rally that inspired the one at Most Holy Trinity.
School leaders planned to take its older students to the Arizona Life Rally. Students from several area Catholic high schools and St. Agnes Catholic Elementary School did attend. Most Holy Trinity students wanted a way to engage all of its students in the Church’s day of prayer and penance for legal protection of the unborn.
The result: a mini March for Life at the Sunnyslope school, which since it was removed from the interfaith event in downtown Phoenix, also included a group-wide rosary. Students prayed the Joyful Mysteries with guided meditations following each Hail Mary so the school’s earliest learners could follow along.
The Blessed Mother’s actions following her unplanned pregnancy was not lost on students like Bella Rabago. The sixth-grader knows too well the dangers of abortion.
“When I was in my mother’s womb, she went to the doctor who said, ‘It might be better if you have an abortion,’” Rabago, who has two older brothers who are adopted, told The Catholic Sun following the march.
She was happy to be a part of such a life-giving cause.
“I just wanted to give hope and happiness to the mothers that are thinking about that,” Rabago said, referring to abortion.
The poster she made with a small group directly spoke to mothers who find themselves pregnant and worried. It read, “Mary said yes, so follow in her footsteps and give a baby life and love.”
Most Holy Trinity students will keep the unborn at the forefront of their minds too. Each student spiritually adopted an unborn baby to pray for throughout the next nine weeks. They even took a moment of silence to allow the Holy Spirit to whisper that child’s name. The prayerful journey will lead students right through Lent and end with a baby shower for a nearby pregnancy resource center.
Cristian Garcia, a seventh-grader, remembered to also pray during the school’s march for the 1.21 million babies who are aborted each year since the option was made legal in 1973. His group poster, carried largely by teen-aged boys, featured a drawing of an unborn baby holding a cross. A red heart formed the shape of the womb around the fetus.
Maggie MacCleary, principal, hoped students left the march with a better understanding of the will of God and simple ideas of how to care for those in need when it comes to life issues. She hoped “they have clarity in what their role in life is. It’s not theirs. It’s God’s,” MacCleary said.