by Jack FiggeSpecial with yeast
WASHINGTON – Tears streamed down Dina Rickert’s face as she stood in front of the thousands of pro-life advocates who paraded in front of the Capitol during the annual March for Life here. Two minutes earlier she and her students had met the daughter of Saint Gianna Molla, Gianna Emanuela Molla, speaker at the rally for life. Surrounded by her students, Rickert shared why that encounter brought her to tears.
“I got the job at St. James’s once [Academy, Lenexa]Molla was the community home that was handed over to me,” Rickert said.
Molla was an Italian pediatrician who refused both a recommended hysterectomy and an abortion when she was pregnant with her fourth child, placing the life of the child she was carrying before her own. She died shortly after the child was born and was canonized in 2004.
“This appointment [to the Molla student community] it was especially great because when I had my fourth child, I had to risk my life to have it,” Rickert continued. “The doctors asked me to abort it and I developed a great devotion to Saint Gianna Molla during my pregnancy. It was very special to meet her daughter and she made me feel very close to Christ ”.
Earlier in the day, Gianna Emanuela Molla spoke to the crowd gathered at the National Mall for the Rally for Life about her mother’s legacy. Other pro-life national figures, from House Majority Leader Steve Scalise to Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the popular media series “The Chosen,” also addressed the crowd, encouraging attendees to recognize the need to continue building a culture of life in America .
The 50th National March for Life followed after the demonstration. However, this year, a new round of applause has thundered over the protesters: “1, 2, 3, 4 Roe v. Wade is out the door; 5, 6, 7, 8, now is the time to legislate,” referring to the reversal of the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade last June.
“Although Roe’s upset was a big win for our country, it really put more strain and pressure on Kansas and other states,” said Melissa Joerger, a parishioner at Ascension Parish in Overland Park. “I’m marching for Kansas and the other states that are still fighting the battle against abortion.”
Joined by her husband, more than 200 pilgrims from the archdiocese and high schools in the area, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Joerger and the others marched across the National Mall to the Capitol instead of the Supreme Court building, as in years past, now arguing that lawmakers protect the right to life for the unborn.
“Congress can actually do many things that could be good or very bad for the pro-life movement,” Archbishop Naumann said. “It is very important that Congress is aware of this movement: we still need a national movement, so the March for Life will continue in Washington. But we will also build our state marches and defense.”
Last August, the “Value Them Both” amendment that would have overturned the Kansas State Supreme Court’s 2019 decision that a woman has the right to terminate her pregnancy did not pass. With this setback, Kansas pro-life advocates saw this year’s March for Life as a vital event to attend to continue to show their support for the pro-life movement.
“It is very important that the citizens of Kansas are here because we want everyone in Kansas to know that even though we failed to pass the ‘Value Them Both’ amendment, we still value both the woman and the child in Kansas,” he said Deb Niesen, chief adviser to the archdiocesan life office. “We want everyone to know that we will not abandon women. And we will not abandon children born in the desperation of abortion”.
Despite this setback last August, the March for Life has instilled in many pilgrims a renewed vigor for the pro-life movement and a desire to serve expectant mothers.
“Being here has made me want to do more when I get home,” said Isabelle Connealy, a sophomore at St. James Academy. “I think I hope I’ll volunteer at a few different pregnancy centers and continue to join our school’s pro-life club, Thunder for Life, and go to all of their events.”
To view a complete album of photos from the March for Life, click here.