by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
At 4:30 a.m. last Thursday, over 60 Providence College students boarded a coach bus heading to Washington, D.C. where the 45th Annual March for Life was taking place.
“The March for Life is one of the most joyful, loving, and faith-filled experiences that I think everyone should get a chance to experience,” said Haley Wolfe ’19, president of PC for Life. “First of all, being in the nations capital, with all the monuments, memorials, and government buildings, is just so overwhelming.” She explained it is the people who ultimately keep her wanting to go back.
PC for Life is funded through Campus Ministry, however most of the funds that are used to get to the march come from a number of alumni donors and the Dominican Friars. “We are so blessed to have members of the Friar Family who recognize our efforts year after year and make it possible for us to take these two days and advocate for this common and important mission,” Wolfe said.
“I am so glad that I attended this year’s March for Life,” said Annie Berning ’18, who attended the march for the first time. “It was an amazing opportunity to come together with other pro-life Americans, Catholic and otherwise, to peacefully demonstrate for what we believe is an inherent human right—the respect for life from conception to natural death.”
Berning explained she was inspired by the number of people who traveled from around the country to be there, and she enjoyed listening to the speakers.
Upon arriving to D.C., the Friars attended a packed mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine, which was the official opening mass for the National Prayer Vigil for Life. Later, the students and campus ministers in attendance were invited by the Dominican Friars to dinner at the Dominican House of Studies.
“It was especially meaningful to travel with members of the PC for Life group,” said Berning. “It gave us a chance to bond with other students and faculty members, and we had the unique opportunity to spend time with the community at the Dominican House of Studies, where our own Friars studied before coming to PC.” The House of Studies is where most Friars go to study the order, including PC’s own Fr. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P., who also attended the march.
“I didn’t get a chance to go on the march before college because I went to a public school and my parish didn’t host a group, so the first time I went was my freshman year,” said Kathy Toner ’18. “I’ve gone every year since, so this was my fourth year traveling down to D.C.”
On the day of the march, students were allowed to roam and explore the D.C. area, and some took the opportunity to attend the rally that occurred prior to the start of the march.
“What I really loved about this year was the speakers,” said Toner. “A lot of the talks this year were focused on the importance of love, and the importance of supporting life in a way that is both positive and productive.”
Sister Anne Frances and the PC for Life executive board began preparations for March for Life last May. “Last summer, we began by reaching out to our very generous alumni donors who were so gracious to help us take two buses down to Washington D.C.,” explained Wolfe.
She went onto say that after registration closed in November, the planning kicked into high gear. “We met with the participants to go over the itinerary, packing list, and questions, and Sister and I proceeded to have an increased amount of meetings and phone calls over the holiday break.”
Wolfe and her team were responsible for shopping for the trip. She explained throughout the preparation there was also hours of prayer. Sister Anne Frances and her executive team prayed the “Memorare” everyday leading up to the march, and Wolfe explained with “the intention of a fruitful, safe, and smooth march.”
Wolfe found this year’s march very successful, and was glad to be part of it. “Pulling up to the Basilica for the Vigil for Life the night before the march is honestly one of my favorite parts because we take this group picture on the front steps and there is always someone who leads us in ‘Go Friars,’” said Wolfe. “All the other people around us always look and see us in our matching apparel, and it fills me with such a sense of pride in our school and humility that I am blessed to help lead this group.”