by Margaret Morris
Growing up in Syracuse, New York, I was very involved in parish life, particularly in the youth programs that our diocese offered. There was an annual youth rally where we would spend a day with several hundred youth from across our diocese having talks and ending in praise and worship, Mass, and Adoration. Once I was old enough, I began to regularly go to Steubenville youth conferences with the diocese which were always the highlight of my summers. All these events played a huge role in my faith journey. On bus rides back, we would all be asked to share how the event helped or touched us in some way. My answer almost always was how amazing it was to be able to worship God and know I wasn’t alone in doing so. That there were other kids who understood and shared my fears and struggles and were trying to overcome them as well. Being with my peers at large events helped me to realize that it wasn’t a solo journey, and that even though the world tries to tell us otherwise, we are a hugely strong force that is actively growing.
In 2007 I made my first trip with our diocese to the March for Life in Washington DC. The experience was amazing, marching up to the capitol with our large group, the bus ride down and then back, all were great moments. But by far the best part of the trip was the Youth Rally in the Verizon Center before the March. At our youth rallies there were a couple hundred kids. At Steubenville there were 2,000. When I walked into the Verizon center to the sound of Matt Maher and 20,000 youth who were just like me and singing along, the effect was unbelievable. I really can’t explain the force of the experience. Everywhere I looked there were kids with their hands raised, praising God and praying for life. With one voice we responded to the Mass parts, we cheered and did the hand motions to the songs, and the unity that I felt was indescribable. For the next three years that I went, I experienced the same wonderful feeling of unity.
Going to the March and participating in other activities made me more aware of the Pro Life Movement. I always knew of its existence, but never was really involved till after experiencing the Youth Rally in DC. Upon coming home my Catholic Young Women's group moved our weekly meeting place to a prayer center located next to an Abortion clinic and regularly prayed for the Doctors and the women there. I also was leading a girls group, and for Christmas campaigns we would gather laundry baskets and fill them with baby supplies for women in crisis pregnancies.
When I found I had the opportunity to help with organizing the west coast Walk for Life Youth Rally, I immediately knew I wanted to do everything I could to help. I have only attended three Rallies in DC and they have all influenced my life significantly in concrete ways. I am so excited at the prospect of being able to help bring the same experience to youth on the West Coast. It is my hope that within the next few years, the west coast Walk for Life Youth Rally will be reaching out to youth by the thousands, strengthening them, uniting them, and empowering them to go back out into the world and preach the gospel and the message of life to the world.
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