Cathedral students join annual ‘March for Life’ in Washington, D.C.

Categories: Around the Diocese

Jan. 17, 2014, edition
By Jennifer Janikula

Twenty Cathedral School students and their five chaperones will climb aboard a bus in St. Paul Jan. 18 to enjoy a 24-hour ride to Washington D.C.

Even though “enjoy” might not be the right word to describe anyone’s feelings about a 24-hour bus ride, every minute of this trip to the National March for Life will be worthwhile.

For a few days every January, Washington D.C., swells with more than 400,000 people committed to the sanctity of life. They gather in peaceful protest near the Jan. 22, 1973, anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis organizes the annual six-day pro-life pilgrimage for high school students. Students participate in the National Rally and March for Life, attend a daylong Students for Life of America Conference and attend Mass at the National Basilica. In addition to these events, there are daily opportunities for confession, adoration, reflection and testimonies.

“This trip is a transformative experience for many of the students,” said Bill Dill, youth ministry events coordinator for the archdiocese. “They get fired up in a way that changes their lives and teaches them to stand up for others. They learn to live out their Catholic faith in a concrete and meaningful way.”

The archdiocese started taking Twin Cities students to the March for Life in 2009. In 2013, several students from the Diocese of Superior, Wis., joined the adventure. This year will be the first trip for students from the St. Cloud Diocese.

The Cathedral students will travel to Washington D.C., with more than 100 students from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Superior.

Paula Kowitz, a former Cathedral student, made the connection between St. Paul and St. Cloud that allowed Cathedral students to tag along on the archdiocese pilgrimage.

Kowitz, who was a member of Cathedral’s pro-life student group Little Feet, met Father Francis “Rocky” Hoffman during his visit to St. Cloud in fall of 2012. She asked the popular host of Relevant Radio’s “Go Ask Your Father” how she could build a culture of life at Cathedral, and he suggested a trip to the National March for Life.

Like many teenagers, Google was the first step for Kowitz. She did a little research and found information about the archdiocese’s annual trip.

She made a few phone calls and met with Dill in St. Paul last March. Dill welcomed the St. Cloud students and Kowitz began promoting the trip at Cathedral.

“I look forward to spending time with kids from across the nation that share the same fire for their faith and the pro-life cause,” Kowitz said.

Cathedral freshman Stephanie Otremba expects the trip to be “really prayerful, yet really fun.” She went to St. Paul for the Minnesota March for Life last January and hopes the trip to Washington D.C., will be just as powerful.

Otremba, also a member of Little Feet, feels called to action to support life. “When a baby is conceived, it really is a living person,” Otremba explained. “If you deny their life, you are taking a life from this society — a life that could have helped people.”