Editor’s note: More than 200 students and chaperones from the diocese traveled to Washington, D.C., with the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Jan. 21-23 to participate in a three-day pilgrimage to the March for Life.

One of the participants, Samantha Pare, shared dispatches from two days of the trip. Samantha is a parishioner of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Liverpool and a sophomore at Onondaga Community College majoring in business administration. This was her seventh March for Life trip.

See more photos at thecatholicsun.com and on social media — search #syrmarchforlife.

January 21: Day One

At 7 a.m., five buses from the Syracuse Diocese departed from Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School to travel to Washington, D.C., for the 42nd annual March for Life. There was a lot of talk to be done by the youth, who were very excited to participate in this event.

We made a few stops along the way. The first stop was in Emmitsburg, Maryland where we visited the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Tours were given of the various houses where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton taught school and housed the Sisters of Charity. After all the tours were finished, Mass was celebrated in the Basilica.

From there, we traveled to Fairfax, Virginia, where we attended a Life is Very Good youth rally. The rally started off with a concert performed by Rend Collective, a group from the small coastal town of Bangor in Northern Ireland. The speaker for the night was Chris Stefanick, who never ceases to gain the crowd’s undivided attention. And the worship for adoration was lead by none other than Matt Maher. Everyone from the diocese was on their feet singing, clapping their hands, praising God and having a great time altogether. It was a great start to the trip.

January 22: Day Two

With a previously successful day of traveling and a good night’s rest, the Diocese of Syracuse [contingent] left the hotel at 7:30 a.m. to attend Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Mass was said in the crypt of the Basilica by Bishop Cunningham along with several other priests from various parishes throughout the Diocese of Syracuse.

After Mass, our busses dropped us off in the city and we walked several blocks to reach the spot where we would wait for the March to begin. Everyone from the diocese was excited.

The March started a little after 1 p.m. Once the giant “March for Life” banner passed, we all filed in behind. When we reached Capitol Hill, people were turning around and taking pictures of the masses. You couldn’t tell where the sea of people ended and where it began. It was awesome to see!

At the end of the March, we boarded the Metro to Pentagon City Mall. There we ate dinner and strolled around until 5:30 in the afternoon. From the mall, we were picked up by the busses and tour guides to begin our evening tours of the many monuments throughout D.C. The tours ended around 9:30 p.m. and we all headed back to the hotel for pizza and some much-needed rest and relaxation.

All in all, the entire day was absolutely amazing! The sun was shining, it was relatively warm, and everything went as smoothly as it could have. God is very good.

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