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Helmut Schmidt, Published January 27 2014

Shanley students proud of participating in Right to Life march in Washington

FARGO – Megan Miranda was sore, tired and cold, but she was determined to fulfill what she called a pilgrimage in taking part in last week’s Right to Life march in Washington, D.C.

“It was really just a fantastic thing because we were all just trying to accomplish the same goal,” the Shanley High School freshman said Monday. “When there is a tragedy like abortion, it’s such a sign of hope to see all these people trying to end it.”

The 24-hour bus ride was a pain, and temperatures in Washington in the teens last Wednesday were biting even for a North Dakotan, Miranda said.

“I had to tell myself it wasn’t for me. It was a pilgrimage. It was a sacrifice,” she said.

Miranda was among about 250 North Dakota students and about 20 adults, most of whom took a marathon bus ride to and from Washington, who participated in the 40th annual march.

The march drew tens of thousands of people to the nation’s capital.

It is typically held on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. That ruling affirmed a woman’s right to an abortion.

Elizabeth Erickson, a sophomore at Shanley, flew to Washington with her mother to join the North Dakota marchers.

“My generation is the pro-life generation. We are all gathered to release God’s message of love and peace,” Erickson said. “I want to make sure every woman feels loved and that their child can be brought into the world.”

The Rev. Charles LaCroix, chaplain for Shanley High School and Sullivan Middle School, said the North Dakota group – which included students from the state’s other Catholic high schools and public school students from area parishes – took off for Washington after school on Jan. 17.

LaCroix said the pro-life movement is becoming a youth movement.

“They seemed all so young. The preponderance of those that marched in Washington were all of high school or college age,” he said. “They realize that they’re part of a bigger picture, and there are people their own age who believe in the sanctity of life.”

LaCroix said the trip gave participants a more mature spiritual outlook and spurred them to become more involved locally.

Bishop John Folda, the head of the Fargo Catholic Diocese also joined the group in Washington for a Mass and the march.

“It’s good to have that kind of support from our bishop,” LaCroix said.

The march started on the National Mall, and then made it way to the steps of the Supreme Court.

“It was amazing to see how many people were there standing up for what they believe is right and what I believe is right,” said Shanley freshman Mike Noah.

Shanley sophomore Meg Henning said being in the march was an emotional and moving experience.

“There were so many people,” Henning said. “I want to go next year and the year after that.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583