“Without Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
When God places a call on our hearts, within our answers lie His bountiful love. On Tuesday, January 21, fourteen Holy Cross students embarked on the trip of a lifetime—the Archdiocese of New Orleans March for Life 2020. It was an inaugural experience for them because they were the first to attend the March for Life Pilgrimage while representing Holy Cross School, not their local church parishes as in years past.
Our young men joined other students and chaperones from across the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The group representing the Archdiocese this year was comprised of the largest number of people ever sent from New Orleans. Throughout the entire journey, 614 people were transported on 13 privately chartered buses. The students were true pilgrims making their way to Washington, D.C. While traveling on the bus, they experienced fellowship, received Pro-Life education, moved into personal prayer time, and shared communal intentions.
We were partnered with the students and chaperones of Mary, Queen of Peace CYO. During our prayer time together, we would call on St. Paul and St. Maximilian Kolbe to intercede for us. St. Paul was the official patron for our 2020 trip, while St. Maximilian Kolbe was the personal patron for bus #12.
The trip is always very well planned out, and this year was no exception. The students attended pro-life rallies with other pilgrims from across Louisiana, as well as across the world. They heard personal testimonies from survivors of abortion and also heard the first-hand account of a woman who survived the 1994 genocide attacks in Rwanda.
Our trip reached its pinnacle on the day of the official March for Life, Friday, January 24. Our students attended Mass at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Alexandria, VA. Archbishop Gregory Aymond reminded our students that they are the Church of today. He stated that they would be making a difference for those who have no voice, and that the Church is “for life” from the womb to the tomb. We made our way to the National Mall, marched, prayed the Rosary in front of the Supreme Court, ate lunch and found our way back to the hotel. Our day ended in the Grand Ballroom with worship music, prayer, confessions, adoration, and fellowship. All members of the 2020 Pilgrimage came together in a powerful evening where we could feel the Holy Spirit fully present in the ballroom. The students, chaperones, and members of the ministry team could feel God’s power working as everyone committed themselves to truly being members of the “Pro-Life Generation.”
As we made our way back home to New Orleans, our Holy Cross young men reflected on the events which they had experienced. Each young man stated that he could have never imagined what had unfolded as he lived this journey. Each felt a renewed sense of purpose; each felt God present in his life, and truly believed that he had made a personal difference in this important human rights issue. While talking, the younger students expressed that they were looking forward to future pro-life trips, while juniors and seniors vowed that they would encourage others to attend and to also be advocates themselves in prayer for the pro-life cause.
We believe that very good seeds have been planted with the 14 inaugural Holy Cross students and the 2020 March for Life. We are looking forward to an increase in the number of students who attend next year. These young men attended a pilgrimage with a purpose but finished with much more—an increase in education, an increase in faith, personal growth, and the knowledge that they had answered God’s call, and most of all, lived God’s love.
~ Donnamaria Kitchen Giambelluca, Theology II / Theology III, Tigers for Christ Moderator
“My faith grew tremendously.”
Navi Aguilar 10th Grade
“I felt as if my faith life had been awakened and my vocation to God had begun.”
Joshua Atkins 10th Grade
“The trip is life changing and an opportunity to connect closer to God.”
Luis Bonilla 10th Grade
“I feel that I felt God’s presence during our prayer sessions because we had so much time in which to reflect.”
Sebastian Clayton 10th Grade
“A great experience.”
Jacob Gutierrez 10th Grade
“A life-changing experience.”
Caleb Jeanmarie 10th Grade
“The March was a beautiful and mind-blowing experience that showed me the capability of God’s power and influence.”
Ashton Lafrance 10th Grade
“An eye-opening experience that taught me the true value of God and his immense love for all life on earth.”
Chase Lemoine 10th grade
“I was very persuaded and more appreciative of life; cherishing and living life to the fullest.”
Anthony Jeanmarie, IV 11th Grade
“The Pro-Life trip was a physical, mental, and emotional change in my life.”
Aedan O’Sullivan 11th Grade
“It was an out-of-body experience that forever changed my life and my view on abortion.”
Timothy M. Trimble 11th Grade
I was “allowed to experience the Lord’s message of good will to others firsthand.”
Ryan Cannon 12th Grade
“The March for Life Trip is truly an eye-opening experience that makes you believe that you are making a difference.”
Colin Clement 12th Grade
“I experienced an amazing pilgrimage that allowed me to encounter Christ, to fight for life, and to bond with my Holy Cross brothers.”
Toby Fabregas 12th Grade