On January 12, 2019 Twenty Nine (29) Pilgrims from our Council 5357, Nativity Parish, All Souls Parish, St Mary Magdalen Parish, and Annunciation Parish assembled at the Council 5357 Hall in Sanford, to participate in the March for Life St. Augustine 2019. All were treated to a tasty breakfast of bagels and other pastries, with coffee and juice, while waiting for the bus to arrive.
After breakfast, we boarded the bus to take the 1 ½ hour trek from Sanford to St. Augustine to gather with thousands of others, from around Florida and Georgia, dedicated to the movement. For many in our group it was their first time marching for this great cause, and for a few this was a much anticipated return trip for the promotion of the respect for life in our country and world.
Upon arrival in St. Augustine, the event began at the Mission de Nombre Dios Church grounds where we listened to local bands playing popular Christian Music as well as a variety of speakers remarking about their experiences in the Pro Life Movement while we waited for all to congregate. It was a very humbling time watching thousands of people, from varying backgrounds and ethnicity, male and female, from the youngest still in diapers, to the oldest walking with canes and other assistance, all assembled to witness to the cause of respecting life from conception to natural death.
After some powerful and moving speeches we began our March, with our Blessed Mother Mary leading the procession. We all grabbed a poster to carry with a message about the cause, as we peacefully marched from the Mission Church, south on A1A toward the Old City, entering St. George Street through the Old City Gates. We carried banners representing our Council, our 4th Degree Assembly, the St. Mary Magdalen Parish, and the upcoming Knights of Columbus sponsored Orlando Laps for Life. We said a Rosary as we processed, and gradually made our way along St. George Street through the heart of the Old City until we reached the Plaza de la Constitucion across from the Cathedral.
We assembled at the Plaza to listen to the Keynote featuring Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation. Ryan’s Biography: “Ryan has a rather unique perspective of the innate nature of Purpose. His biological mother was raped yet courageously gave him a chance to live by the beautiful gift of adoption. He was adopted at 6 weeks of age and grew up in a loving, multi-“racial” Christian family of 15. With siblings of varying ethnicities, he grew up with a great appreciation for diversity. Ten of the thirteen children were adopted in this remarkable family. His life defies the myth of the “unwanted” child as he was adopted, loved and has flourished.” Ryan was a powerful speaker, able to provoke strong emotion in all who listened.
During this time in the Plaza, the Knights of Columbus Florida State Council Deputy Donald T Kahrer Jr. greeted us, thanking us for representing our Council 5357, Our Assembly 1667, and for promoting the Knights of Columbus sponsored Orlando Laps for Life.
After Ryan’s moving speech, we all broke up into smaller groups to explore St. Augustine for a few hours before meeting up again for dinner at the Cathedral Parish School Cafeteria for a tasty Spaghetti Dinner provided by the local St. Augustine Knights of Columbus Council. During Dinner, all attending Knights were requested to come up on the stage, and were presented The Spirit of Mercy award from the March for Life Organizers for the unprecedented support provided by the Knights of Columbus for this year’s event.
After dinner we all made our way back to the Plaza where we boarded the bus for our trip back to the Council Hall in Sanford.
Thanks to all who participated this year. I pray that all will be back to march again , and that many more of our Council will join us for next year’s March for Life!