As I walked into St. Philip Neri Church last week, I was anxious and excited about what this pilgrimage would have to offer.
A few seminarian leaders officially began the pilgrimage with opening talks to explain their expectations and goals for the students on the trip.
I was a little confused when one of the seminarians revealed the theme for the trip: “Let Me See Your Face.” I thought to myself, “I thought we were here to stop abortion. Let me see whose face?” I was unaware of the powerful journey that I was about to embark upon.
We arrived in Arlington, Virginia, and attended the Geaux Forth Rally, a rally for the pilgrims from Louisiana. It was so powerful to see all the young people in my state who were willing to stand up for the pro-life cause.
It was here where a speaker shared the shocking statistic that 57 million babies have been aborted since 1973. I started to think about the theme for the march again: 57 million innocent individuals made in the image and likeness of God were denied the opportunity to live.
These babies all had dignity and the fundamental right to life; however, no one honored their dignity or, in other words, saw their face. On our pilgrimage, we acknowledged this right and prayed and stood up for these lives.
We saw their faces when no one else would.
The next day was the March for Life. The Archdiocese of New Orleans formed a sea of purple. As we ascended Capitol Hill, I looked back at the massive crowd filling the streets behind me.
The theme entered my mind again. Hundreds of thousands of individuals had gathered to stand up for life and human dignity. I saw them as individuals, and I also saw God’s presence in them. It was a powerful moment.
After the march was over, we headed back to New Orleans. On the way back, members of my bus shared how the pilgrimage affected them. It was during this time where the theme became very clear.
I connected with these people on a very personal level. This experience has benefited me tremendously, and I now have a better understanding on why I am a part of the pro-life generation.
Alex Bienvenu is a senior at Archbishop Rummel High School.