Oh When the Saints Go Marching for Life!

Join the journey of 46 Saint Thomas Aquinas students to the Capital of America.

Macy Vance, Copy Editor

Flying, walking, touring, marching! Saints from all grade levels took a pilgrimage to the United States’ capital, Washington D.C.! Get a glimpse of the four-day educational whirlwind that was this year’s trip.

The Saints had an eventful week in Washington D.C., leaving bright and early on Wednesday, January 18. After a few hours in MCI—before the rest of the students had even woken up for school—this communion of 46 saints boarded a flight to the Capital and soon arrived. We considered ourselves lucky to be on a two-hour flight instead of a twenty-hour bus ride! Alas, it was when we hit the ground that the journey really began.

For more than half of the students, this was their first go-around in this city, so they learned how to ride the Metro! The Metro is a train system underground that expands across the whole city, and the first stop for the saints was the Holocaust museum. Here, each person is given an identification card with a story of a victim of the Holocaust that you are allowed to keep. This museum is full of artifacts from this tragic time, and it is truly an eye-opening experience. After that, we headed to Union Station for dinner. We then clambered into a bus on our monument tour, where we toured each monument in the National Mall. 

Day two began before the sun rose, with breakfast at the hotel and a Metro ride to Arlington Cemetery. Row after perfect row, the white marble grave markers stood, honoring those lost in battle since World War I. The saints visited two significant graves: President John F. Kennedy and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The president is buried with his wife and two children by the eternal flame, which stays lit despite the rain. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier represents all those whose bodies were never found or could not be identified due to the intensity of war. There the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard, stands alert and protects the Tomb, 24/7/365. We got to watch the changing of the guard ceremony, standing and silent. 

The Eternal Flame over the graves of President Kennedy and his family.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded by a sentinel of the Old Guard.

The students had the choice to spend lunch at the Museum of Natural History or the Museum of American History, full of unique exhibits and artifacts like an enormous T-Rex skeleton or Dorothy’s iconic red slippers from the Wizard of Oz. After these educational encounters, we took some time to learn about our faith.


The saints walked through Catholic University to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception—the largest church in North America! Miniscule mosaic tiles cover the vast ceilings with intricate art that truly moves one’s heart. There are so many saints depicted and Bible verses hidden in each nook and cranny that it is a spiritual pleasure to explore. Following this was another gorgeous church, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, in which our own Fr. Andrew Gaffney celebrated Mass. This monastery has replicas of the Holy Land sites, such as the Catacombs, built beneath the stunning church. Senior Sophia Meyer found these churches as “exquisite and breath-taking”.

Finally, the third day comes: March Day! The saints wake up tired but excited for the day ahead, so we begin with Mass and breakfast at the hotel. To obtain the best spots for the rally before the march, we arrived two hours early and were only 20 yards away from the stage! If you happened to tune into EWTN, the Global Catholic Television Network, you would’ve spotted the Saints right in front with our gold beanies and signs. After live music by We Are Messengers, a number of speakers bravely shared their stories and inspired the enormous crowd of pro-life patrons. Two speakers you might recognize are NFL coach Tony Dungy and Jesus from the Chosen Jonathan Roumie. Both spoke with passion and empowered the many young people there to continue in the fight for life. 

The March passing by the Supreme Court House.
American people march in front of the Capitol.

At last, we marched! This year for the 50th anniversary of the March for Life, the theme was “Next Steps: Marching into a Post-Roe America”. This is the first national March for Life that was held after Roe vs. Wade had been overturned, the very court case that made abortion legal in the first place. The energy in this march was electric, and we had a new route to follow: one that passed by the Capitol and finished by the Supreme Court. 


We regrouped at the Air and Space Museum, and many took that time to rest after the amazing and physically demanding morning it had been. Yet every ounce of pain was worth it, for there is nothing like standing amongst thousands of others who care about the lives of the unborn. We concluded the day watching the movie Unplanned, which told the impactful story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood worker, and her conversion and healing.


On the morning of January 21, 2023, we celebrated Mass as a group one last time before our journey back home. Each student present came back with a greater appreciation for their own lives, as well as a deeper purpose as to why we stand for life. It was an honor for Saint Thomas Aquinas High School to support the saints to take these next steps into a future where abortion will be unthinkable.