On Sunday 10th March, 65 of us set off from Glasgow to begin a 12 hour round trip journey to celebrate the gift of life and motherhood. Along with around 400 other people, we gathered together in Birmingham at the first UK March for Life to witness to the dignity of human life, celebrate life and increase our efforts in the fight against the tragedy of abortion. Collette Power and Isabel Vaughan Spruce, along with a team of young people from Birmingham, did a fantastic job organising the event. As we gathered in the square outside St Chad’s Cathedral we listened to 3 inspiring talks given by people who work in the pro-life field. The speakers were Robert Colquhoun; Director of the UK 40 Days for Life campaign, Eve Farren; Director of the Alliance of Pro-life Students and Bernadette Smyth; founder of Precious Life in Northern Ireland. Each of them is dedicated to making sure abortion becomes something unthinkable and they inspired us with their heartfelt conviction and the witness of their own lives.
This event brought together people from all around the UK who are passionate about the pro-life cause, people who are committed to creating a culture of life and standing up in defence of the most vulnerable of our society; the unborn. There was a great sense of joy and unity as we stood together with our ‘Life’ balloons and prayed together whilst walking through the streets of Birmingham. Some people took pictures as we walked by, some smiled, some shook their heads; whatever their reaction was, we walked with joy knowing that the cause that we were doing it for was worth it. We gathered outside the City Council buildings to listen to reflection on the tragedy of abortion by Isabel Vaughan Spruce and two prayerful reflections. By this point I’m sure most people would agree that we could barely feel our fingers and toes because of the cold, but I’m sure each person would equally agree that the event was worth freezing for, because we know we must do whatever it takes to stand up in defence of the unborn child and all those hurt by abortion. I’m sure that everyone was offering up their freezing cold hands as a prayer and when you do so, you can stand in the cold with joy.
When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she addressed the crowd with a powerful speech and it she presented the following challenge: “Many people are very, very concerned with the children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child – what is left for me to kill you and you kill me – there is nothing between. And this I appeal in India, I appeal everywhere: Let us bring the child back, and this year being the child’s year: What have we done for the child? At the beginning of the year I told, I spoke everywhere and I said: Let us make this year that we make every single child born, and unborn, wanted. And today is the end of the year, have we really made the children wanted?” I was asked to read this reflection at the March for Life and as I read it her words struck me deeply, it reminded me that every day we should ask ourselves what we are doing to help end this war, which as Mother Teresa rightly says, is the greatest destroyer of peace in our world. Nothing can be more tragic than a child’s life being ended at the will of their own mother, we must ask ourselves what we are doing to make sure we help mother’s in crisis pregnancies, to make sure that every child’s life is protected because somewhere there is someone fighting for that child. The pro-life revolution is growing, people are opening their eyes to the reality of what is going on and we must continue to draw more people to this realisation and bear witness to the Gospel of Life in whatever way we are called to. Please keep a look out for the dates for the March for Life next year and bring as many people as you can. This is no time to get disheartened; it is a time of great hope.
Chris Jones, age 24, from Greenock shares his experience:
“This was the first March for Life I had been on, I didn’t know what to expect but knew I was doing the right thing. The sense of community and the size of this community struck me first, this wasn’t just some people trying to make a point, this was a group of people making a stand for what is right, that life is a gift, and a gift to be cherished. From standing listening to inspirational speakers to walking and praying (and on occasion seeing friends, I left feeling I had done something towards getting the message of pro-life out there and that I can’t wait to be a part of the next one.”
Anthony Smith, age 24, Glasgow
It’s the first pro life march I’ve been on and the most encouraging thing to see was the vast diversity of people attending. It was comforting to see every age group and people of all states of life represented.”
Vanessa Reith, age 20, President of Edinburgh Life Society:
“It’s events like the March for Life that remind us of the huge numbers of people throughout the UK who are working to defend life. It was great to see people of all ages coming together to turn Birmingham sunshine yellow with hundreds of ‘Life’ balloons on such a miserable day! Will be looking to recruit more Scots to attend the next one!”
Gabriele Franchi De’ Cavalieri, age 25, President of Glasgow University Catholic Society.
“Two things struck me as soon as we arrived, the cold and the joyful smiles. It was amazing to see so many young people marching and praying through the streets of Birmingham with a big smile on their face despite the snow, the long journey and probably the missed lunch with their families to celebrate mother’s day. I think it was clear to everyone that this joy came from knowing that we were doing the right thing, we were fighting the right battle and we were being God’s instruments of peace.