A Dominican Witness to the Sanctity of Human Life
By: Br. Peter Joseph Gautsch, O.P.
Saint Dominic preached far, wide, and often about the goodness of creation. One way we friars continue to witness to the sanctity of human life—from its earliest stages—is to participate each year in various ways in the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
The night before the March, friars at the Dominican House of Studies pray Compline with as many visitors as the chapel will hold. Guests usually include Dominican sisters and various visiting college groups. We also host a Holy Hour in the National Shrine the morning of the March with music, preaching, and Morning Prayer.
In addition, the friars often act as deacons and acolytes for the Youth Mass at the D.C. Armory, and the House of Studies schola provides its musical talents. (This year Cardinal DiNardo jovially remarked, “I feel like I’m surrounded by Dominicans!”)
This year’s March was especially memorable because of the blizzard that descended on D.C.: the storm started minutes before the March began and continued for over a day, leaving two feet of snow in its wake. The friars, together with thousands of other marchers, were undeterred, coming out in force to witness not only that God “showers down snow like wool” (Ps 147:16) but that he “formed our inmost being, knit us together in our mother’s wombs” (see Ps 139:13). At the end of the March, in front of the Supreme Court, we gathered with our Dominican sisters to sing a hymn to Our Lady and St. Dominic, uniting our prayers with theirs for the legal and cultural recognition of the sanctity of human life.