St. Mark School seventh- and eighth-graders stood along Union Road in Affton Jan. 22 holding signs and praying the Rosary, concluding a day of reflection and action, including a march for life in the neighborhood by students at the school in remembrance of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion.
Olivia Murphey, an eighth-grader, said the demonstration “means that every life is important. It shows how Catholic I am. I believe that every life has a purpose, that God has sent these lives to us.”
Students carried signs through the neighborhood exclaiming “We Are Generation Life,” “One Life Taken, Many Hearts Broken,” and “A Person Is a Person No Matter How Small.” Each grade was preceded by students holding a banner. Neighbors were notified and asked to stand on their porches in support. One of those neighbors, Paolo Tenti, said he appreciated the effort. “It shows the kids understand what’s going on and that they’re standing up for life,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the students held a prayer vigil, with candles lit symbolizing lives lost to abortion. “This is what we stand for,” said Julie Bingham, principal of St. Mark School. “These are not just clumps of cells.”
Bingham said she organized the march and day’s activities because the 2021 March for Life in Washington, D.C., which the school’s eighth-graders normally attend, was cancelled. “We wanted the whole school to recognize what life means. It’s so precious.”
Eighth-grader Danielle Little said the day’s events “show that we do care, that all lives matter, and we should voice our opinions for the unborn because they can’t talk.”
Father Brian Hecktor, parochial administrator of St. Mark Parish, praised students for their witness and value of all human life. “From conception to natural death, we are the same person,” he said, echoing a homily he gave at Mass with the students to start the day. “God created us good, even though we make mistakes sometimes, but we are the same person. Before we are born, we are that same person, created in the image and likeness of God.”
Among a group of school parents standing outside school and observing the march were parishioners Hannah, Teresa, Joseph and Sandy Bast, who previously have made the trip to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Cold weather doesn’t deter them, Hannah Bast said: “We have to defend life and support life.”
Also as an effort to support life, students contributed funds to fill a 5-gallon jug, with the money to be donated to Birthright, which provides free, confidential counseling and support for women who are pregnant.
>> Pro-life resources
A summary of area pro-life programs and ministries published by the St. Louis Review: www.bit.ly/2MunHT0
Archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate: stlrespectlife.org
USCCB Respect Life: www.usccb.org/prolife
Evangelium Vitae encyclical: bit.ly/33Wy3kS