El Mensajero (English)

Posted: February 15, 2012

EMC photo by Mike Crupi

Eight-year-old Kathryn Hayes of Irondequoit prays during at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

March was eye-opening for teens

By Annette Jiménez/EMC

ROCHESTER -- For the group of teens from St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Parish and Holy Apostles Church, the March for Life provided an eye-opening experience, said a parish official.

"For them, it's very special," said Martha Montes, SFXC's faith-formation director. "They go there with something in mind and they get there and it's totally different."

For one of the young girls, Montes explained, the experience changed her view on the definition of pro-choice, which she thought had meant God gives people the free will to decide what to do with their bodies.

"She never thought about abortion at all," Montes added. "The march helped her understand the meaning of pro-choice and that helps them (teens)."

Twenty-five youths, ages 13 to 17 and many of them Latinos, were accompanied by five adults from Holy Apostles and SFXC, Montes said. They boarded a bus for Washington, D.C., early on Jan. 22 to participate in the opening Mass for the National Prayer Vigil for Life that day, Montes said. The march took place March 23.

Prior to leaving on the trip, the youths also had a prayer breakfast with Father Tony Mugavero, said Deacon Dave Palma, pastoral administrator for SFXC. Father Mugavero initially invited youths from Our Lady of the Americas, which is part of the parish, to participate in the march about six years ago, explained Montes. They have been able to raise funds for youths to participate ever since, she added.

On the morning prior to the group's departure, preparation for the youths also included viewing a movie about abortion, which included testimonials from women about the process and how they felt about having had abortions, Montes said. That was important because hearing those stories led to discussions among the youths about premarital sex and the importance of abstinence, she remarked.

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