Monday, January 29, 2007
The air was cold, but their smiles were warm. Hoods nearly over their eyes, scarves bundling them up – like me, they had been in the streets for hours.
If you would have been standing next to us, perhaps you would have counted me part of the gang. I was wearing my royal blue Missionaries sweatshirt too. That makes me feel good to think of myself in such good company. What inspiration I took all weekend to think of my friends at work! Who else would undertake a 40-hour prayer vigil in front of Planned Parenthood? Who else would walk 40 miles from Baltimore?
With the crowds so thick, our hugs were quick. It was only for a few minutes that we were able to exchange hellos. But even for a short while like that, it makes a big difference to be able to stand close with champions of life, with your friends. Perhaps the very best part of the March for Life is that chance to connect with others.
At times that day, I may have even lost track of the 34th anniversary of those terrible Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases. I forgot that we were opposing abortion. I was too taken up with the joy that rippled through the crowds.
On their faces, the participants overflowed with hopeful spirits. The air was rich with an awareness of the holiness, mystery, and majesty of every single human life.
What deserved to be a desperate, incredulous protest against a maddening tragedy had become an enormous pep rally in celebration of life. Prayerful grieving for children killed and mothers and fathers scarred by abortion still was present. But the crowds smiled with confidence, “Our mourning is not empty. We acknowledge the victory of the Truth written on our hearts. We support each other. Together, may we offer the world the Light of Life.”
How many others, like me, received encouragement from the thought of friends spread throughout the crowd? Whether as Missionaries of the Eucharist or through other apostolates for life, what a gift we have been given with the chance to stand together!
Saturday, January 27, 2007
With much joy, I'd like to quickly sum up our missionary work for the weekend.
Bright and early, we started walking. Carrying the Eucharist within us, it was the best thing that we could do to support our Missionaries who had already been praying for 8 hours through the bitter chill of the downtown DC air. What a thrill it must've been to start praying at 12:30 AM, knowing that there were 40 hours ahead. But, with our minds set that the Lord would provide the safety and warmth for our counterparts in DC, we set off on our walk to eventually join them, but we had to make it there first.
Throughout the day, we walked and talked. We grew to know each other; we sought to spread the Gospel and rejoiced in the chances that the Lord had given to us. The only thing left was to keep going and keep praying. What a blessing it was to know that we were going to have a Holy Hour that night. Especially, since our pray-ers were still praying: long and hard, through cold and darkness.
We arrived at St. Mary of the Mills, in Laurel, MD. Beginning with Vespers, we celebrated our role in this weekend's events, knowing that our prayers were helping those in DC, now at 17 hours since the beginning. Food, a talk by Josh, and a Holy Hour carried us to our sleep. Again, all offered for the pray-ers, now 22.5 hours into the vigil. Patrick came and went. Leslee and Jean had to picked up from the airport and dropped off at the Planned Parenthood for reinforcements.
It was simply amazing, the vigil managed to attract all kinds of people. Random CUA students who had heard about it, but hadn't planned on attending would walk by and stop in to join the prayers. Freshmen stayed extra hours to make up for the early morning shifts that people managed to sleep through. Through the cold and chill, the pray-ers kept on praying.
31.5 hours after they started, the walkers attended Mass again, continuously uniting their time in front of the Blessed Sacrament with that of the prayer warriors who suffered through the harsh elements of winter. The walkers continued there walk. Throughout the day, they kept a spirit of joy and thanksgiving despite the wind and chill that the pray-ers had been experiencing for 37 hours now.
With a new dent to Lacy's car, the walkers began their last shift, at 39 hours into the prayer vigil, and they made it to the Planned Parenthood. The sight of them brough joy to the hearts of the vigilers who knew now that their time was over. It was time now to get warm after spending 40 straight hours in the cold, which was probably even colder due to the aura of death that surrounded Planned Parenthood.
With a quick walk to the Cathedral, the walkers and pray-ers began to pray together for the first time throughout the weekend. So much time physically aprat, yet united in prayer; now united in both, the Missionaries consecrated their weekend with a little Vespers in the St. Francis chapel at the Cathedral. With a little more union and Communion with Jesus, the Missionaries marched with a statue of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary through the streets of DC singing songs and celebrating life all the way to the Planned Parenthood. Through praying the Rosary, they all hoped to invoke the Blessed Mother's protection for the women who would enter the abortuary in the months to come. With the Litany of Loretto having been chanted the whole way through, the mission, for now, was over. It was time to celebrate.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Friday, Jan. 19
12:30 AM - Begin 40 Hour Prayer Vigil outside the Planned Parenthood in DC
7:30 AM - Mass at the Basilica of the Assumption (Baltimore),
8:30 AM - Start the 40 Mile Walk to DC
5:00 PM - Walkers arrive at St. Mary of the Mills in Laurel, MD
7:00 PM - Walkers have presentation, then Holy Hour with Compline
Saturday, Jan. 20
Prayer Vigil continues till 4:30 PM
7:30 AM - Lauds, St. Mary of the Mills
8:00 AM - Mass, St. Mary of the Mills
4:30 PM - Walkers arrive at Planned Parenthood in DC (prayer vigil ends)
5:00 PM - Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew (DC)
6:00 PM - Marian Procession from the Cathedral to the Planned Parenthood
Sunday, Jan. 21
9:30 AM - Mass at St. Jerome's in Hyattsville, MD
10:30 AM - Presentation to St. Jerome's youth group
6:00 PM - Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (DC)
Monday, Jan. 22
7:00 AM - Youth Rally at the MCI Center
10:00 AM - Mass at the MCI Center (our spiritual director is the homilist)
~ 1:00 PM - The March For Life
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
It was an amazing experience getting to build the community within the Missionaries that we've been working on for the past year, as well as getting to spend time praying with Msgr. Reilly and the CFR's.
But, one of the most expected events was on the way home, when Josh and I were going through a toll on the way home. As we've been doing for years now, we offered the gift of a Rosary to the toll worker. Her response: "Thank you; you have no idea what I'm going through." It was such an amazing thing, and yet so simple. We have no idea what was going on, but we do know that we made some sort of impact on the life of a wonderful person.
Not to mention, our host's basement flooded, and we got to hang out with a certain Melanie Anderson, the weekend was great. It seemed like we didn't do a lot of what we would normally do, but even in that, I think we did what the Lord was asking of us, and that is infinitely better.
Who we are?
Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.
We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.