January 22 marked the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade. Despite threats of a massive blizzard, thousands of young people participated in the March for Life in Washington DC. On the way back home they could not escape the massive blizzard that brought traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a standstill for over 24 hours. Students from Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and other Midwestern states were all stranded on their separate buses with a highway full of people in a major snow storm.
They knew they were stuck in the storm and help was hours away. Undaunted, these young Christians gave witness for their Faith. They “Seized the Moment” and made something beautiful and inspiring happen—A Mass on the Turnpike.
The students used the opportunity to minister to others, they welcomed strangers onto their buses – travelers who were stranded or who had run out of gas and needed warmth or food. The students offered people water and a place to sleep. They helped clean off strangers’ cars.
And then: they prayed.
On the morning of January 23, as the snow continued to fall, and the snowplows were still hours away, they did something extraordinary. A group of kids poured out of the buses and began gathering the snow and ice outside.
They made an altar. Out of snow. Then they took tree branches and made a cross. They set up a sound system to play music, and then priests pulled on their vestments. Chaperons opened umbrellas to shelter them, and they stood on a hill along the side of the turnpike, the wind howling and the snow still falling, and there they all celebrated Mass together – hundreds of them, in parkas and scarves and snow boots, joined together.
Anyone who saw that gathering of young people saw something beautiful.
Anyone who worries about the future need only to see these young people proclaiming their faith and living it out loud.
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