- Posted January 25, 2013 by
Washington DC, District of Columbia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
A Cold War in DC
- Camilo, a student at the Abbey, playing with snow for the first time. It was also his first time on the march
Spending over 6 hours marching might not be the most relaxing way to spend a Friday, a day on which most young adults like me spend their time celebrating freedom from work and study. But today is different - it's the 40th Anniversary of Roe vs Wade.
Today, more than HALF a million people gathered together for the March For Life 2013. I tagged along with Belmont Abbey College, a private Catholic college located in North Carolina. The college recently won a lawsuit against the federal government over the HHS mandate, which requires Catholic institutions to act contrary to their beliefs.
WATCH THE EXCLUSIVE 40 DAYS FOR LIFE 2012 VIDEO
While I'm currently working on the March for Life 2013 video I'd like to share this video that I made for the 40 days for Life. The main model is Meagan Gitchell who is also supported by Nataly Garcia. Both are Abbey students and Psychology majors.
LANDING LATE AT NIGHT - TRADITIONS RETAINED
THURSDAY 11:00 PM
Arriving and lodging at the Hampton Inn Hotel in Fairfax County, VA, where Belmont Abbey usually stays en route to the March. It's my third year attending. I'm proud to say that, while searching the hotel room's drawers for some free space to store my things, I found a bible. Yes, a bible. In Hampton Inn.
I went ahead and checked my Facebook, and I'm proud of the support I'm getting from my mother, Joycelyn, who is helping me out by updating my blogs at http://arfperlas.com/live, and my partner Katrina (Co-Owner / CEO of Rock N Load Clothing), who is updating the social media Facebook pages for http://facebook.com/LatinMassSociety.
Then, out of nowhere, I received an unexpected pop-up message! I had a quick chat with my awesome editor for the Catholic News Herald, Patricia Guilfoyle. She was touching base to ensure that everything is working fine. She even offered her help if we ran into trouble ('we' being me and the other two reporters for the Herald, SuaAnn Howell and Gretchen Filz). It's not everyday that your boss speaks with you over social media to touch base with you about work. I slept in peace with my roommates Sean, Matt and Ryan. No snoring allowed.
WAKE UP - PREP AND SEE OLD FRIENDS
FRIDAY 7:00 AM
It seems that the Hampton Inn Hotel is known for taking in a lot of pro-lifers. I woke up early in the morning to see many people with signs, along with familiar faces from the parish of St. Michael's in Gastonia.
FRIDAY 10:00 AM
After loading up my "customized" snack pack - as assigned by the Director of Hintemeyer Leadership program, Patrick Ford - I rode the bus with the Abbey, and immediately began taking photographs.
Fr. Arnsparger, the pastor of St. Michael's, caught me from behind as I was about to interview some marchers and gave me a special blessing me so that I could take great photos! Awesome. I started my first interview with Abbey students Gabry and Brianna.
Tag-teaming with me in my two-man phototeam is Joel, one of my professors' son, who helped me carry the tripod bag and provided some moral support. With less than 30 minutes until Mass, I couldn't think of any good places to set up camp, as the Abbey students were scattered around the Basilica. I told my assistant to sit with the people from his parish, St. Dorothy's of Lincolnton, and managed to catch sight of my sister Cierra as well.
One of the ushers asked me to put my camera away to prevent the worshippers from being disturbed. I was a bit surprised at first, but then he said "Kababayan ka?" which literally translates to "Are you part of my nation?," though it can be summed up as "Are you Filipino?". I answered "yes" in my language. I told him that I was with the press - the Catholic News Herald - and showed him my Press ID.
I now had permission to take photographs. He returned with my card, and he gave me permission to sit in the second row from the front during Mass, which was a blessing. And, just to give you an example of how small the Catholic world is, my fellow Staff Writer/Photographer SueAnne Howell was directly in front of me!
FRIDAY 11:45 AM
The Mass was the most pleasant experience; a Pontifical Mass at its best. All the shots were clear and easy. I focused on filming video, while my fellow Catholic News Herald reporter took some photos. Synergy at its best.
After the Mass I ran into our college's president, Dr. Bill Thierfelder, and he rode with us on the bus from the Basilica to the March.
THE MARCH EXPERIENCE
FRIDAY 1:00 PM
Seeing over 500,000 likeminded Christians (mostly Catholics) who have the same beliefs as you do and who are there to fight abortion is the most exciting thing!
Bishop Jugis gave the gospel homily and made this analogy: unlike Saul (St. Paul's feast was today), who persecuted Christians thinking he was doing the right thing, we as Christians must persecute the pro-choice movement. His basic message was that we should not be lukewarm.
The fun doesn't stop here folks - funnily enough, I ran into the Avengers team, complete with Captain America, Thor and the Hulk.
- ( shot by Anthony Perlas Catholic News Herald - seroptics.com )
This was the most peaceful March I've attended! The security staff was mostly neutral; though there were a few aggressive ones, there were equally as many ultra-nice ones.
THIS IS NOT A FAREWELL BUT A "SEE YOU SOON"
FRIDAY 4:00 PM
The march ended, and we hopped onto the Metro. On the way back, I interviewed several people from various states, such as Chicago, New York, New Jersey, and some people all the way from Ohio! My most intriguing interview was with a Lutheran pastor who came to the March. He was completely supportive of the cause, and actually has five children, whom he also homeschools.
Now I sit here energized and amazed by how much of a blast I've had on a Friday night. Some people came up to me and said, "Thank you so much!" I asked, "For what?" They said, "For documenting the truth and showing it to the world."
It brought a familiar warmth to my heart - the dwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Should you go to the March? I definitely think so! It's a fun experience and you will meet a lot of people. It will give you encouragement in your faith and you will know that you aren't alone.
Anyway, Anthony Perlas out here! Going to continue watching Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs on the Abbey bus. ETA 2AM.
Article written by Anthony Perlas and edited by Sean Young.