March for Life Pilgrimage/blizzard with High School girls in Washington D.C. from January 21st-25th, 2016.
We are called to be PRO-ETERNAL LIFE! This was the message that the 11 young women had in their minds as they traveled with 5 sisters to Washington D.C. to walk for the March for Life. Knowing that there was an expected snowstorm headed our way, we started our voyage on Thursday, January 21st after 6am Mass intending to be back on Sunday, January 24th but as we told the girls, “The Lord is always full of surprises and we must always be ready to be surprised.” We hopped into 2 vans and we drove…we drove…and we drove. We finally arrived at our destination to the Vivirito’s house in Virginia. At that moment, none of us would have thought that for the next four days, we would become their adopted children. We got to the house, unpacked everything and what we had waiting for us was an amazing home cooked meal. Our stomachs were very grateful. After dinner, we settled down, played some games and then had a brief introductory talk given by one of the sisters. She talked to us about 3 things that would be crucial to us during this trip but also for the rest of our lives since we are called to be pro-eternal life. The desire to change, the desire to mature, and the desire to love. This is what would be on our hearts as we went to bed that night.
We woke up Friday, January 22nd stoked and ready to go to D.C. to march for life but we were also prepared for anything that the Lord wanted to surprise us with. We went to the parish of St. Timothy and joined the 21 kids from that youth group. We conversed, we sang and laughed, getting ready to go to the youth rally before the march. Then, unexpected news got to us and we found out that we were no longer going to be able to go the March for life due to inclement weather. The Lord had surprised us and we took it with smiles on our faces, knowing that Our Lord was ready to give us so much more. We went to the rally, listened to the speakers, sang songs and then silenced ourselves to take part in the Holy Mass. What we learned that morning was that, “Life is very good…when there is MERCY” as Bishop Loverde told us in his homily. After Mass, we headed back to the parish and that is when snowflakes started to fall. A few girls had never seen snow before due to the fact that they had lived in Florida all their lives. They were about to witness the snowflakes turn into a huge blizzard, the Blizzard of 2016 that would hit hard.
We got back to the house and had to make a very crucial decision. Do we head back to Florida right away or do we stay in Virginia and get snowed in? We stayed. We watched through the windows of the house to see snow falling and it was not about to stop. We decided to watch a documentary called “Blood Money.” It revealed all the horrific secrets of abortions and what they do to the baby and how it affects the women. This movie really helped the girls and they said that it opened their eyes to the reality of abortions and it gave them concrete reasons of how to defend the pro-life movement. After the movie, we went upstairs to eat dinner and to see all the snow that had accumulated. All you could see was white. We went outside during the storm and we started to shovel. We shoveled until the ground was visible. Once the hard work was done, the girls got to play in the snow for the first time. They threw the snow, ate the snow, and jumped in the snow. It was a sight to see. We all ran inside to some hot chocolate and we drank and warmed up. Before playing games and bedtime, our now adopted father, Mr. Vivirito talked to the girls about living purely and to make sure that you find the right guy. He talked about the importance of figuring out what God wants from you and to make sure you complete it. This made all the girls think. With the end of his talk, we went to play games, pray night prayer and go to bed. It had been a long, fun day.
Saturday and Sunday consisted of being snowed in and not finding a way out. The girls were extremely happy to have the opportunity to learn how to shovel and to also just play in the abundance of snow. They made a snowman and they had their first snowball fight. On Saturday one of the sisters talked about the importance of silence of the heart in such a noisy world. She made the girls realize that the Lord is always looking for opportunities to talk to us but we are never in silence. On Sunday we also got to listen to one of the sisters talk about the power of God and how anything He says, it is fulfilled, and also that anything He wants to revive, He can. Since it is the Year of Mercy, we decided to sing the Divine Mercy Chaplet afterwards. Once we finished, we looked outside to see if the roads were plowed and they were not. So we had the surprise of not leaving on Sunday. Instead, Sunday night we were treated to delicious funnel cake that none of us will ever forget. We played, then prayed night prayer and went to bed satisfied.
Monday morning was sunny and bright. The sun was melting the snow little by little and to our surprise, the roads were plowed! It was finally time to pack up, show our gratitude to our new adopted family and to leave very snowy Virginia. We left the house and headed to morning Mass at St. Timothy’s where the girls had the opportunity to go to confession. After Mass we hopped in the cars again and we drove, we drove, and we drove. The girls shared that they really enjoyed their time they had together. They mentioned that they had created new and great friendships and memories that they will never forget. Many of them realized the importance of prayer and how it actually is not that hard to take time out of the day to talk to God. We arrived back in Florida on Monday, January 25th at night to no sign of snow, but the girls will never forget their Blizzramage of 2016.