By: Kaitlin Guidry,
Student,Teurlings Catholic High School
Lafayette, Louisiana

Having never traveled to a city larger than New Orleans, Louisiana, I was anxious and thrilled to have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., for the March for Life and New York City for sightseeing. I didn’t have the slightest clue as to what I should expect, but I just knew it was going to be an amazing experience…and it was!

In an attempt to beat the ice storm that decided to hit Louisiana at the same time we were to leave, our group left earlier than we planned and ended up spending the night at the airport in New Orleans. Running on little to no sleep, we woke up the next morning ready to go on our flight and start our pilgrimage. However, when we were about to board the plane, we were told all flights were cancelled for the day.

Although we encountered these hardships at the beginning of our trip, the spirit and enthusiasm of everyone on the trip never wavered. It was truly amazing to see the dedication everyone had for getting to Washington, D.C., to make it on time for the March.

Once we were finally able to catch a flight the next day, we arrived in D.C. ready to make up for lost time. On the day of the March, we visited Arlington National Cemetery in the morning. This was such a humbling and patriotic experience, as it allowed for me to develop a deeper respect for those who died for our country. Afterward, we arrived at the March. There were groups of people all around, each one shouting chants and holding up pro-life signs. Watching the hundreds of thousands of people who came to stand up for the dignity of human life was so incredible and inspiring.

It allowed me to realize just how powerful one person’s actions can be.

Another highlight of the pilgrimage was visiting the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes at Mount St. Mary’s University. When we arrived at Mount St. Mary’s, we said Mass at the glass chapel, which was such a wonderful experience. It allowed us to be one with God’s creation as we also became one with God. We prayed before the Shrine, and some of us received a plenary indulgence after we went to confession and said the required prayers. This was such a powerful prayer experience, and I could truly feel the sacredness of the grounds and the true presence of God.

A view of the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.
A view of the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.

During our pilgrimage, we visited museums that honored those whose dignity was not preserved or respected: We visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and the 9/11 Museum in New York City. Both of these museums allowed me to put things into perspective and to not take my blessings for granted. On our last day, we visited New York City for a few hours. The highlight of this part of the trip was having Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The church was absolutely stunning, and the Mass was no exception, because it truly felt like I was so close to heaven.

My trip to Washington, D.C., and New York City was not only a wonderful experience that helped me to grow in my faith and stand up for what I believe in, but it allowed me to see things from a different perspective and to hold a greater appreciation for my blessings, especially my loved ones. During this pilgrimage, I was able to grow closer to Christ through the various prayer opportunities and witnessing all those who support the pro-life movement.