Editorial | Making a big impact bigger

Estimates show that 50 percent of the people at the March for Life in Washington, D.C., each year are under the age of 18.

It is an impressive number. And it makes a big impact for a day.

The challenge is for all of us, the young people included, to follow up on the day of action throughout the year. Citizen-advocates can make a big difference in not just changing attitudes but also changing laws.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, in his homily at the Generation Life Mass at the march, said the hundreds of thousands of young people on the march know that abortion is wrong and can go home and make a difference. He asked them to "stand up when our friends don't agree with us and witness to the truth" about life issues.

Our young people especially need to know that while their witness at the March for Life is noteworthy, it is just a step. Bring the witness home and continue to work for life.

Volunteer or help fill needs at agencies such as Birthright or Our Lady's Inn which reach out to women in crisis pregnancies. Stand up for life from conception to natural death in conversations with peers, gently guiding them to see the reasons behind your convictions. Continue to use social media to enhance understanding of the issues. As the march this year stressed, speak up for adoption and encourage women to pursue it as a noble option. Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, echoing Pope Francis, said the pro-life movement needs to be the merciful face of God to women facing a difficult pregnancy.

Invite others to accompany you to the Helpers of God's Precious Infants prayer vigil, a peaceful, lifesaving ministry that meets on the third Saturday of every month. The vigil begins with 8 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue in the Central West End of St. Louis, followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a Rosary prayer procession to Planned Parenthood's local abortion facility and Benediction upon return to the cathedral basilica.

Another opportunity is LIFT, or Life Information From Teens, the teen arm of the Respect Life Apostolate. High school students come to LIFT to become more knowledgeable pro-life ambassadors and leaders in the community.

See www.archstl.org/respectlife for more information.

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