SBA students join pro-life march for 26th year


March for LifeFor the 26th year, 80 St. Benedict at Auburndale students and chaperones, traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the annual March for Life on Jan. 22.

The date marked the 42nd Anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in the U.S.

The students and chaperones traveled about 17 hours by bus, arriving in Washington in sub-freezing weather and snow.

Upon arrival, the group checked in at Catholic University of America to set up their sleeping bags alongside those of 1,300 other students from around the country in the gym of CUA’s Athletic Center.

Then they trekked to the nearby Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to attend the Annual Pro-life Vigil Mass concelebrated by many of the nation’s cardinals, archbishops, bishops and priests.

Two Memphis Diocese priests, the Rev. Patrick Gallagher and the Rev. Patrick Hirtz, concelebrated at the Vigil Mass and and early next morning at the Mass associated with the Archdiocese of Washington’s Youth Rally at the Verizon Center. The archdiocese holds this rally and mass for young pro-lifers from around the country, and each year the youth get stronger in their commitment to stopping the culture of death that abortion has created during their young lives.

The Memphis group then made their way to the Mall for the March for Life pre-march rally. With hundreds of thousands of others, they marched down Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court Building, where pro-lifers, post-abortion mourners and pro-abortion sympathizers were making statements and demonstrating. The pro-life contingent outnumbered the pro-abortion demonstrators by thousands.

They paused to take in the view of our nation’s judicial center and to grasp the magnitude of the Roe vs. Wade decision that brought the abortion culture to our country in such a huge way. Since 1973, over 58 million unborn babies reportedly have been aborted, over 3,000 per day, in the U.S.
After the march, the Memphis group made the 17-hour trip back home.

Sponsor of the trip, Sharon Masterson of St. Benedict, was, once again, gratified by the students’ continued perseverance and thanked them for their sacrifice in making the long trip and for their witness as the “pro-life generation” on behalf of the right to life for all. She reminded them, “Abortion destroys the image of God, as we are all created in His image from the moment of conception.”

She said, “You have grown up in a culture of death that was instituted to solve problems. You are missing classmates due to abortion. It’s important, therefore, that we continue our tradition of traveling to Washington to witness for life and stand for those who can’t stand up for
themselves. You are the ‘Pro-Life Generation’ and your commitment will help end the culture of death brought on by this decision.”

St. Benedict senior Jake McClure, a leader of St. Benedict Students for Life, said, “I’ve gone to the March for Life for four years and I know we’re making a difference. Each year, more and more high students are here. It’s our future!”

Others in the group expressed similar thoughts, such as, “Life is special, even the smallest of human lives and seeing so many young Americans coming together to witness for these lives is both important and awesome.”

The tradition lives on for SBA, as they are the Pro-Life Generation.

Written by Sharon Masterson, the director of communications and sports information for St. Benedict at Auburndale High School, 8250 Varnavas Drive, Cordova. She may be reached at