Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook

Archives Multiple groups plan March for Life trips

January 15, 2020

By Darcy Fargo

With several buses and vans making the trek from the Diocese of Ogdensburg to Washington, DC for the March for Life, there are still opportunities for area faithful to attend the march.

In addition to the annual Youth Buses for Life, a four-day pilgrimage for youth of the diocese, the March will be attended by 14 to 15 college students traveling with Campus Ministry, as well as buses of adults/families traveling from Clinton and Lewis Counties.

Youth Buses for Life
The Youth Buses for Life will travel to the nation’s capital on Thursday, Jan. 23 for a long weekend full of pro-life education, prayer, making friends and having fun.

“Right now, we have 46 on the northern bus, the bus that picks up in Massena, Canton and Gouverneur,” said Respect Life Director Colleen Miner. “We have another 25 on the western bus, the bus that departs from Watertown. Our biggest group this year is from Malone. They have 15 going.”

The youth buses typically arrive in Washington, DC in the late afternoon on the first day of the four-day pilgrimage.

“Depending on timing, we try to take a quick outdoor tour,” Miner said. “We visit the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Then we check in at our hotel and go to a restaurant.”

The Diocese of Ogdensburg group has rented the third floor of the restaurant, where they enjoy a meal together and hear a pro-life speaker. This year’s speaker is Kate Malone, a regional coordinator for Students for Life.

The youth and their chaperones then return to their hotel for the evening. On Friday, they’ll depart their hotel by 9 a.m. to attend the Life is VERY Good rally and Mass at George Mason University. Sponsored by the Diocese of Arlington, the event includes opportunities for confession, music and Mass.

The youth are then given Chick-fil-A lunches before departing for the Washington Mall.

“It’s a grassy area – sometimes a snowy area – where they set up a stage and speakers,” Miner said. “They have speakers, typically pro-life voting representatives and celebrities. Last year, they had Vice-President Pence and a pro-life football player. This year, I know they also have abortion survivors speaking.”

The march then proceeds down Constitution Avenue to the steps of the Supreme Court building. There, the youth hear from representatives of “Silent no More.”

“They tell their stories about why they regret their abortions,” Miner said. “It’s a powerful witness.”

The group then proceeds to the Library of Congress, where chaperones conduct a head count. The Diocese of Ogdensburg group then walks to the Air and Space Museum, where they have an opportunity to experience the museum exhibits until closing time at 5 p.m.

The local group will then return to their hotel before walking to a local restaurant for dinner and possibly a speaker before wrapping up for the day.

On Saturday, Jan. 25, the local youth will attend the National Pro-life Summit at the DC Marriot. Previously known as the Students for Life of America National Conference, the event now encompasses Students for Life, Alliance Defending Freedom for Faith and Justice, Live Action, The Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action for America and Students for Life Action.

“Four of our college students have been selected to attend a leadership luncheon, where they’ll learn additional information and leadership skills,” Miner said.

After the summit, the group will go to dinner at Union Station and return to their hotel.

On Sunday, Jan. 26, the final day of the Youth Bus for Life pilgrimage, the local group will gather to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception before departing for the return journey.

“The bus ride is also part of the experience,” Miner said. “We pray the Rosary on the way down and back. The youth lead the Rosary. On the way back, the youth come forward and talk about what they’ve learned or share the experiences they had and their overall thoughts on the pilgrimage. They watch educational videos, as well as movies that are just fun. We do a quiz on the bus to see how much they’ve learned, and we give out prizes.”
Each bus has a bus captain/chaplain. This year, Father Martin E. Cline will be riding the western bus, and Father Scott A. Belina will be riding the northern bus.

“We also have a special guest joining us this year,” Miner said. “Bishop (Terry R.) LaValley will be getting on the northern bus in Canton. He’s never been on the bus with us before.”

While it’s a long bus ride full of events, Miner said the journey also gives the youth an opportunity to connect.
“They become friends so fast,” she said. “I always worry when we have just one person from a community. I worry they may not know anyone. It never seems to matter. Either they know each other from Guggenheim or other youth events, or they just become fast friends.”

Miner said the youth who attend the event continually amaze and impress her.

“Our kids are great,” she said. “They’re really into making new friends, and they really seem to take a lot out of the experience. Last year, kids from our group were interviewed by Fox News. They blew me away with the answers they gave to the reporter’s questions. The kids said it better than I could say it.”

To participate in the Youth Buses for Life, visit rcdony.org/prolife. Prior to registering, please call or text Colleen Miner at 518-524-0774 prior to registering to ensure space is still available.

Clinton County
Seats are still available on a bus leaving from Plattsburgh on Thursday evening.

Deacon Randy Smith said the bus will depart from St. Peter’s Church at 7:45 p.m. on Jan. 23, returning at around 4 a.m. on Jan. 25.

“It’s one of those things where you say ‘I’m never doing this again’ on the way down, but by the time you’re on the trip back, you’re so energized, you’re saying ‘I can’t wait to do it again,’” said Deacon Smith. “It’s inspiring and awesome. I’m old. I’ve had my chance and my generation messed things up. But then you see all the kids that show up – it’s probably 75 percent kids. It gives us hope that there’s going to be a future for us.”

The bus typically arrives at the march site around 6 a.m., giving riders the opportunity to explore the area and hear speakers prior to the start of the march at 1 p.m. The group departs for home immediately after the march.
Thanks to donations from Knights of Columbus Council 255 and other local councils, the cost for each rider is only $30.

“We wanted to make it affordable for families,” Deacon Smith said. “And if that $30 is keeping someone from attending, they should give me a call, and we’ll make sure they can get to the march.”

While they’ve missed a couple marches due to weather or scheduling issues, Deacon Smith said a bus has left from Plattsburgh to attend the march for around 20 years.

“We have people from Vermont join us, we have people from outside the Plattsburgh area,” he said. “Anyone who wants to go is welcome.”

To reserve a seat on the Plattsburgh bus, call Deacon Smith at 518-566-6229.

Lewis County
Lewis County Right to Life has also been sponsoring a bus to the March for approximately 20 year.

This year, the bus leaves Port Leyden around 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 23, arriving at the march site in the morning on the 24th.

The group departs immediately following the march, stopping for dinner on the return trip.

Students ride the bus free. For adults, the suggested donation is $50.

To register for the bus, contact Paul Campeau at 315-486-7928.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.