The number of participants at the annual March for Life in Washington DC from the SSPX's USA chapels continues to grow.
Among the hundreds of thousands who join the March for Life each year at the nation's capital on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, a new—and perhaps unique—group is emerging at one of the largest annual gatherings in the world.
This is a group that is loud and vocal at times but also sings the rosary during the March and chant or polyphony while marching up Capitol Hill. And when people turn to look or stare, they are quickly met by a young adult who gives them a pamphlet on anything ranging from the Catholic teaching on contraception to information about the Society of St. Pius X—or Regnum, the young adult group in Pittsburgh, PA.
Groups from individual SSPX chapels have attended the March for Life, but there had not been inter-chapel coordination in the past, leaving them relatively small. However, this year, the faithful from the Society’s chapels for the first time marched as one coordinated group, and it was not a small contingent to overlook.
Faithful consisting of mostly young adults came from nearly a dozen chapels spread across the country, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Walton (KY), Youngstown (OH) and even from as far away as St. Cloud (MN), Madison (WI), Milwaukee and St. Louis. There was even a parishioner from the SSPX’s chapel in Toronto, Canada, who hopes to start an SSPX presence at the Canada March for Life, thus giving the group an international scope!
This year’s SSPX group was led by March for Life chaplain, Fr. Patrick Rutledge (pastor of the Pittsburgh chapel) and joined by several of the Benedictine monks from Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Silver City, New Mexico. In all there were two priests, two brothers and over a hundred faithful from Society chapels were on hand for this occasion of Catholic Action. Even the FSSP’s Juventutem youth group opted to join in for the traditional prayers and singing.
The March was followed by a High Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception not far from the location of the event. Though crammed into a small chapel, the attendance was edifying with the faithful singing as one voice. This was made even more beautiful by the fact that many present had previously never attended the traditional Roman Mass.
Although some of the SSPX’s group had to leave after the Mass, many extended the day by joining a social gathering held nearby that included pizza, refreshments and conversations about the exhilarating day, which spawned many new friendships among the young adults who had travelled from across the United States.
It is edifying to see how these young adults were willing to demonstrate their Catholic Faith in a lively and public manner despite the various hardships involved, such as withstanding the March’s typically bitter cold, but also the lengthy travelling. With such an example at hand, hopefully the presence from the SSPX’s chapels will be increased substantially for the 2016 March for Life.