By Jessica Easthope
Mary Ruane has thought of everything. In a backpack she has water bottles, Band-Aids and necessities – the things she’ll need for March for Life.
She’s ready to head down to Washington D.C. on Friday and march for hours with more than 100,000 other people who believe life is sacred.
“It’s thousands, they just keep coming when you get up to the hill they’re still coming, no one can really express how it makes you feel, it just makes me so happy that there’s hope in the world,” she said.
Mary’s attended March for Life many times over the years, but she currently has an eight year streak going. At 81-years-old, the march isn’t easy for her, but she says it’s worth it, to show up for every single soul that’s been lost to abortion.
“There’s nothing more beautiful than the gift of life and it’s our job to protect those children not to kill them,” Mary said.
Mary will make the trip on a Diocese of Brooklyn bus. Joining her is Father Michael Panicali, parochial vicar at St. Helen Church in Howard Beach.
This year there’s a renewed sense of purpose for pro-life marchers. Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, Mary and Father Michael say the work is more important than ever and far from over.
According to March for Life there are still more than 900,000 abortions every year and that number is only expected to decrease by about 200,000 in a post-Roe America.
“The right to life is still under attack in our country so we really can’t let our guard down, I think it’s easy for people to assume the abortion issue is settled but it’s far from settled but the more we acquiesce to the mentality that it’s all good the worse it may get,” Father Michael said.
“There will be people there who have so much hate in their hearts and they’re very angry Roe was overturned and they say it’s against women but it’s in favor of women, women don’t realize they’re being exploited and manipulated to believe it’s okay to kill their own child,” said Mary.
Mary says to march in solidarity alongside the teenagers and young adults who call themselves the “pro-life generation” is a gift. In 2010 it was estimated half the marchers were under the age of 30.
“It fills my heart with pride, I’m so proud of them that they know right from wrong, it’s an amazing thing,” she said.
“It’s so affirming and it’s beautiful to see God’s work in the young people, how much the faith is alive, how fervent and holy so many young men and women are, they come out year after year to defend life, it’s a great day to celebrate your Catholicism,” said Father Michael.
Mary plans to march for as long as she can, she says she’ll stop when abortion is unthinkable.