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Generation Life pilgrimage will continue as a hybrid event in St. Louis for 2021

Health, travel restrictions put the brakes on trip to Washington, D.C.

The Generation Life pilgrimage will take place in January as a hybrid event in St. Louis, rather than a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry, the annual pilgrimage typically draws thousands of eighth-graders and high school teens to Washington, D.C., and includes programming and participation at the March for Life. The march in Washington is still scheduled to take place Jan. 29, 2021.

“With restrictions still in place both here and in D.C., along with the abundance of concern we have for the safety of all, we have made the decision not to travel to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life,” wrote Melissa Boesch, coordinator of events, in a letter to area youth ministers.

A hybrid event, “Generation Life: Love Thy Neighbor,” will take place Jan. 27-30 at several launch sites in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Groups will gather Wednesday, Jan. 27, at each launch site for programming. Thursday and Friday are free for groups to gather in person or virtually. Programming resources will be provided to each group’s leader.

A primary goal of Generation Life is to move the hearts of young people to the reality of abortion so that their lives are changed and they will return home and take action. The event in 2021 will focus on proclaiming the Gospel of Life starting at home.

An in-person rally is tentatively being planned for the final day, which will include a speaker, eucharistic adoration and opportunity for praise and worship. Final details of the rally are still being planned and will be subject to social distancing and capacity guidelines. Several options are being developed, which could include anything from an outdoor rally at a single venue to a livestreamed option.

Registration opens at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, at genlifestl.com. Cost is $25 per person, which includes a pass that grants access to a launch site and the rally, as well as a giveaway item. Registration is limited to 1,600 participants, and will be accepted in the order they are submitted online. Group registration closes Nov. 12.

“There are still many unknowns but be assured that our office will be transparent with all of you throughout this planning process,” Boesch wrote. A Zoom meeting for youth leaders was held Sept. 17 to answer questions and provide updates.

Last year, approximately 3,000 people from St. Louis — including more than 2,400 from the archdiocesan Generation Life pilgrimage, and about 300 St. Louisans with the Missouri Life Caravan, not to mention countless parish and school groups that participated independently — were among the tens of thousands who gathered in Washington, D.C.

“Of all the creatures that God has created, only human beings share in His image, and each one of us is given the ability to know, receive and return the love of God,” Archbishop Emeritus Robert Carlson told Generation Life participants last January. “The dignity of human life is determined by God and thus is always to be protected.”

“If what we do stays in D.C., it’s not worth it, and we should shut the whole thing down,” he said. “But if people come home and they’ve had their lives changed, we know it makes a difference.“ He cited past participants who have returned as adult chaperones, or have become activists on college campuses or youth ministers. “They’re going out and they’re doing it,” he said. “We continue to gain momentum this year.”

>> Generation Life registration

WHEN: Registration opens at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 8 at genlifestl.com

MORE INFO: Cost is $25 per person, which includes access to a launch site, rally and a giveaway item. Registrants will be limited to 1,600 people and will be accepted in the order that they are submitted. Registration closes Nov. 12.

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