EC Students Put their Faith into Action

Kimberly Suran, Regina Tubilla and Megan Luttinen at the March for Life.
For more March for Life pictures click HERE

Michigan Students Speak Out for the Unborn
‘Champions for Life’ take more than 200 to March for Life in Washington, D.C.
Kelly Luttinen

Washington, D.C., February 2, 2011 — About 220 students, chaperones, teachers and priests from Michigan, including 18 students from Everest Collegiate High School in Clarkston, Michigan, attended the 2011 March for Life in Washington, D.C. last month.

“It was my first time, and I had my own ideas about what it would be like, but the actual March blew me away!” said Everest freshman Megan Luttinen.  “There were so many young people, and it amazed me how much they cared about the cause and how they were showing their beliefs.”

Five Years and Now Four Busloads

Carrying between 54-56 passengers each, four buses left metro-Detroit to participate in the Jan. 24, 2011 march in our nation’s capital. Called “Champions for Life,” the group has been participating in this event for five years.  Several Catholic schools students from the Detroit-metro area were represented besides Everest, including Brother Rice High School, Divine Child High School, Notre Dame Prep, St. Thomas More Academy, St. Damien Parish of Westland, Marian High School, De LaSalle High School, Orchard Lake St. Mary´s Prep, as well as homeschooled students, students from Clarkston Public High School and parishioners from St. Daniel´s parish in Clarkston.

Elizabeth and Mary Allard, freshman from Notre Dame Prep attended for the first time.  “When we saw the hundreds of thousands of people from across the world taking a stand for life, we realized that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.”

Their parents, David and Ann Marie Allard, helped organize the busload of students attending from Notre Dame Prep.  “Watching energetic young people come together to fight for one cause gives us lots of hope that we can change a culture of death into a culture of life,” they said.

Archdiocese Support for the Cause

Two buses from the group left early Saturday morning, Jan. 22, 2011, and the other two late Saturday night after the “Life is a Gift” Conference held at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.  The conference was sponsored by the Archdiocese of Detroit, and two buses were blessed by Archbishop Allen Vigneron.

“The Archdiocese of Detroit is firmly supporting us, and Archbishop Vigneron´s leadership in promoting the Culture of Life and giving us the ‘Life is a Gift’ conference made this year´s March for Life pilgrimage very memorable,” said one of the Champions for Life organizers Kim DiSalle.

She said all four bus loads of people were able to attend the Archdiocese of Washington D.C.´s Verizon Center Youth Rally and Mass or the National Armory Youth Rally and Mass.

DiSalle especially remembers one significant moment from the Youth Rally. “Pope Benedict sent a personal letter from the Vatican to support and encourage us,” she said. “The papal emissary who read it was given the biggest round of applause in gratitude to our Holy Father.”

About half of the Champions for Life attendees stayed overnight with host parish families from Jesus Divine Word church in Huntingtown, Maryland.  The group that left Saturday night stayed at the Catholic University of America near the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Focus on Civil Rights for the Unborn

All those attending got to visit museums such as the Holocaust Memorial and American History Museum.  Some made additional pilgrimages to the Holy Land Franciscan Monastery next to the CUA campus, and the bus with Everest students visited Harper´s Ferry National Park.

“We learned about the early American Catholic Church´s role in helping slaves before, during and after the Civil War and established the first college for African Americans in Harper´s Ferry,” said DiSalle. “I was very excited for the students to see the correlation between the civil rights issue of slaves during the Civil War, and our present day civil and human rights issues regarding abortion and other culture of death problems. The Catholic Church has championed the most vulnerable and least of our society during the course of human history and in our country.”

DiSalle said the topic of civil rights for the unborn was the focus of the homily by Fr. Mark Ivany at the Verizon Center Youth Mass, as well as the welcome statement at the March for Life Rally given by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio.)

Also during the event, two busloads from the Champions for Life prayed the rosary in front of Planned Parenthood centers, and two busloads were present at the Vigil Mass at the National Shrine and then participated in a Praise and Worship Adoration service given by CUA students.

Some of the bus riders participated in host parish activities, including a concert by Steve Angrisano, followed by a Praise and Worship Adoration service at Jesus Divine Word parish.

“We were able to gather 3 of our 4 bus loads for a photo before the March for Life in the crowded Mall area,” said DiSalle. “Fr. Guerra L.C., Tim Schuele and daughter Lexi Schuele, president of the John Carroll University pro-life club, were in the photo.  These people were instrumental in building up, supporting and promoting the Champions for Life in our beginning, so having them with us in this photo was very special.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *