Franciscan Sister Elizabeth Ann Miller reflects on the March for Life journey to Washington D.C. with students from Guardian Angels Central Catholic High School West Point NE
Every year the students from Guardian Angels Central Catholic High School have attended the March for Life in Washington D. C. The thing that made it different this year is that we nearly filled the bus with just our students. There were 31 students, five chaperones, and our parish assistant Father Matt Niggemeyer as our bus chaplain. This was my third year in accompanying the students on the pilgrimage.
We left West Point on Tuesday, January 21 at 2:30 p.m. and headed to Omaha where we met up with the other schools from the archdiocese that were also attending. Nine buses with around a total of 450 students and chaperones gathered for a sending off Mass then got on our buses to travel 1,202 miles or 24 hours on the road. We stopped often for about a 20-minute break and a change of three drivers finally arriving in DC at 4:30 pm on Wednesday, Jan. 22. We ended our first day with Mass at St. Joseph Church, supper at Union Station, and settle into our hotel for a much-deserved sleep in a comfortable bed!
Day two into our trip we prayed outside of the Planned Parenthood building, toured the Holocaust Museum and strolled down the National Mall. Then the students from the Omaha archdiocese had Mass with our Archbishop, George Lucas, in St. Matthew’s Cathedral, and closed off the day attending the “Life is Very Good” rally with fellow marchers from across the country.
Day three began with Mass at the hotel. Next, we loaded our buses and gathered near Washington Monument for the rally before the march to hear speakers, including a visit and talk by President Trump. Finally, we began the march with over 400,000 other people passionate for life; starting from the park up Constitution Ave. to the Supreme Court. After standing from 10:00am till 4:30pm we joined thousands of people at the Union Station for dinner where we stood in long lines, shoulder to shoulder. I couldn’t wait to get back to small West Point! Closing the day off we returned to the hotel to enjoy one last night’s sleep in a bed.
Day four took us to the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for Mass then departed for Gettysburg National Military Park for a tour and dinner. We got back onto the bus for our long journey to West Point. We ended our pilgrimage with a closing Mass at St. Mary’s and all returned home for a warm shower and a long night’s rest.
The students’ shared their experience with the rest of the junior high and high school students during Catholic Schools week activities in hopes of encouraging enough students that next year the bus will be completely filled with GACC students. I believe it will happen. The trip was long and grueling but was well worth it to speak out for the protection of all life. The students I traveled with were wonderful, faith-filled young people and if my body is up to it next year I may be joining them again!