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Praised be Jesus Christ!

Well, after being stuck in Washington D.C. for two extra days, the group of six hundred high schoolers, chaperons and priests, finally returned home from the March for Life on Tuesday morning. On the bus ride to D.C. we encountered some icy roads which prolonged our travel time, putting the trip there at about 27 hours. I was assigned to ride with the bus from McPherson and before this trip I did not know anybody from there, so conversations were sparse and somewhat superficial, and by the time we arrived in D.C. I was already ready to be home.

When we arrived in D.C. we already knew about the winter storm Jonas, which was bearing down on the East Coast with D.C. being the center of the bull’s eye with a forecast of 30+ inches of snow. Thursday night we decided that if we were to skip the March and head out first thing Friday morning we could get ahead of the storm and make it back home. That was our plan, but the storm moved in much faster than expected and cut off our exit route, forcing us to stay in D.C. and wait for the storm to pass. Since we had to stay, we were able to participate in the March, which despite the winter blizzard moving in, had tens of thousands of people in attendance.

My initial reaction to the prospect of being trapped in a hotel with six hundred high school kids for two days, followed by a 30 hour bus ride home was pretty gloomy—that was not what I had signed up for! Despite my initial misgivings, those two days turned out to be a time of great grace and many blessings. The hotel we were staying at went out of their way to make accommodations for us and even brought in extra help to prepare food for us. We had all kinds of fun, including an epic snowball fight and a talent show featuring our very own Blessed Sacrament seniors who won first place with their performance of the same “synchronized swimming” skit that they did with Fr. Jirak at our CYO Italian dinner. Over the course of these two days I was able to get to know many of the kids and have some great conversations with them.  The bus ride back was wonderful, with perfect road conditions allowing us to make it back in great time. On the ride back I was able to have some very meaningful conversations with the kids about vocations, questions about the faith, and how to live as a Catholic in this day and age.

In Isaiah 55:8-9 we read: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.”  This trip was a reminder that things do not always go according to my plans, but that God is in control and His ways are always better than what I could have expected. This was my fifth consecutive year of attending the March for Life and I have to say that it was the best trip yet. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to travel with these kids to take a stand for life, to be the voice for the voiceless. I pray that our witness and sacrifice on this trip will make a lasting impact in the lives of these kids and on our culture in America.

In Christ through Mary,

Fr. Curtis 

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