On Wednesday, January 22nd, a group of enthusiastic Montini Catholic activists will begin the Lasallian high school's annual pilgrimage to the world's largest pro-life event, the March for Life in Washington D.C. The group of young Broncos are looking forward to joining hundreds of thousands to remember those who have been lost to abortion and fight for those who have yet to be born.
This year's March for Life (in its 47th year) will be held Friday, January 24, 2020 with the theme, 'Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.' The March for Life began in Washington, D.C., as a small demonstration and rapidly grew to be the largest pro-life event in the world. The peaceful demonstration has followed on the somber anniversary of Roe v. Wade every year since 1973.
Forty Montini Catholic students, accompanied by faculty members, Mr. Denis Block, Mrs. Katie Miller, Mr. Don Krystof and Ms. Joan Skokna will brave the bitter cold and journey to our nation's capital on the evening of the 22nd after a brief prayer service and pizza send-off at the high school. Many will be experiencing their first, second, third and even fourth journey - and, each have their unique reasons for attending.
Senior, Christina Schieman will be making her second journey to the March with her passion for defending the unborn only growing stronger. "My dad and his story has had the biggest impact on my decision to attend the March and take an active stance against abortion. He was born in 1967 which was six years before the Roe v. Wade decision was passed in 1973 and abortion was legalized. If his birth mom had been encouraged by others to choose herself over the life of someone else, my family's history would be a completely different story. Instead, she chose adoption. This has impacted me the most throughout my life because I want to be someone who stands up for the babies who are in danger of being aborted right now, and those who were not given their chance at life. Because of my dad, I have grown up with the tangible realization that abortion doesn't end only one life - but countless others down the line. This has fueled my passion and inspired me to march because I have been given the chance to live and stand up for what is right."
Senior Francesca Size is proud to be going on her fourth March. "I can’t wait to participate in the rally, the Masses, the March itself, and everything leading up to it. I want to grow as a person this year and be grateful for my life because other babies don’t get that chance."
Freshman Grace Tierney will be experiencing her first march, crediting her mom (Jill Tierney) as her inspiration for going. "She is one of the most inspiring and strong people in my life. She has taught me what I value in life and has helped me see that if this is a topic I am passionate about, I have an incredible opportunity in front of me!"
Senior Josh Ulisano is attending his second March, for reasons beyond what many can comprehend. "I go on the March for Life because I am adopted and if my mom had not made the choice to give me life, I wouldn’t be here," he says. " I truly feel like I owe a lot to this cause. I have always been very passionate about being pro life and trying to make a difference in the world. I can’t wait to go and speak up for those who do not yet have voices!"
Montini Theology teacher, Mrs. (Katie) Miller organizes this trip each year with the help of Campus Minister, Michael Blanchette. She has stated in the past that there can be hectic elements of taking a group of 40 high school students over 700 miles, on a bus in the middle of winter, but is quick to add that it is one of her favorite things she is involved in as a teacher at Montini. "I have the privilege of seeing our students grow in their conviction for the pro-life movement," she says. "I see them grow in understanding of its importance, and I see them form a community amongst themselves of strong student leaders." She believes it is very important for students to learn to define their beliefs and then learn how to peacefully and respectfully stand up for those beliefs. "This trip is a perfect way for them to do that. and each student is so inspiring to me. I consider myself blessed to know them and learn from them."
The students will also be visiting the Holocaust Museum as well as the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for Mass.
"I keep going on the March for Life because it is the one thing that I am a part of that is bigger than myself," said senior Enya O'Flaherty. This will be her third time going and, this year, she will be accompanied by her younger siblings, Cillian (sophomore) and Liadan (freshman). "It is a life changing experience to see thousands of people from across the nation, gathered together in one city, standing up for life."
"Our prayers are with all of our students and teachers representing Montini Catholic at the March for Life," said President Segredo. "I know that every year I speak for the entire Montini Catholic community when I say that their actions of standing up for the unborn, are truly an inspiration to us all."
Montini Catholic students attending the 2020 March for Life:
Vanessa Badillo, Freshman - Downers Grove (Herrick Middle School)
Victoria Badillo, Junior - Downers Grove (Herrick Middle School)
Ashley Baka, Senior - Naperville (All Saints Catholic Academy)
Katie Bukovsky, Senior - Downers Grove (St. Mary of Gostyn School)
Emma Canty, Freshman - Downers Grove (St. Joseph School)
Devin Chiaramonti, Senior - Lombard (St. Pius X Parish School)
Emma Ciaccio, Senior - Lombard (St. Pius X Parish School)
Anna D'Anca, Freshman - Wheaton (St. Michael School)
Lucy D'Anca, Sophomore - Wheaton (St. Michael School)
Kiki Gaughan, Freshman - Downers Grove (St. Mary of Gostyn School)
Angelina Greico, Senior - Addison (St. Philip the Apostle School)
Maria Hemmersmeier, Senior - Elmhurst (Visitation Catholic School)
Jimmy Hubeny, Junior - Westmont (St. Mary of Gostyn School)
Ryan Hubeny, Sophomore - Westmont (St. Mary of Gostyn School)
Sophie Jara, Freshman - Lombard (St. Pius X Parish School)
Isabelle Juda, Sophomore - Lombard (Sacred Heart School)
Megan Kosmach, Junior - Bolingbrook (All Saints Catholic Academy)
Megan Laughlin, Senior - Naperville (St. Raphael Catholic School)
Chase Lichter, Sophomore - Villa Park (Sacred Heart School)
Justin Monroe, Junior - Lombard (Glenn Westlake Middle School)
Julia Moran, Sophomore - Elmhurst (Immaculate Conception School)
Emily Narsolis, Sophomore - Berwyn (Heritage Middle School)
Enya O'Flaherty, Senior - Downers Grove (St. Mary of Gostyn School)
Cillian O'Flaherty, Sophomore - Downers Grove (St. Mary of Gostyn School)
Liadan O'Flaherty, Freshman - Downers Grove (St. Mary of Gostyn School)
Alyssa Ogrodny, Junior - Homer Glen (Our Lady of Peace School)
Patrick Peters, Senior - Homer Glen (Everest Academy)
Abby Petersen, Senior - Downers Grove (St. Mary of Gostyn School)
Mi'Yaon Richardson, Junior - Hillside (Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School)
Hannah Ruddy, Senior - Downers Grove (St. Mary of Gostyn School)
Christina Schieman, Senior - Plainfield (Homeschool)
Francesca Size, Senior - Elmhurst (Visitation Catholic School)
Elaine Stribley, Senior - Woodridge (St. Scholastica School)
Kelly Tapia, Sophomore - Bolingbrook (St. Joan of Arc School)
Grace Tierney, Freshman - Downers Grove (St. Mary of Gostyn School)
Lilly Townsend, Freshman - Lombard (Sacred Heart School)
Josh Ulisano, Senior - Downers Grove (St. Mary of Gostyn School)
Lianna Vego, Senior - Lombard (St. Pius X Parish School)
Aine Watters, Freshman - Villa Park (Sacred Heart School)
Maddie Zick, Sophomore - Naperville (All Saints Catholic Academy)
Photo above: Front row l to r: Maria Hemmersmeier, Sophia Jara, Madeline Zick, Emily Narsolis, Anna D'Anca, Liadan O'Flaherty, Emma Canty, Kelly Tapia, Hannah Ruddy, Justin Monroe;
Second row l to r: Julia Moran, Megan Kosmach, Kiki Gaughan, Victoria Badillo, Emma Ciaccio, Francesca Size, Lianna Vego, Enya O'Flaherty, Katie Bukovsky, Megan Laughlin, Ryan Hubeny;
Back row l to r: Patrick Peters, Aine Waters, Lillian Townsend, Isabelle Juda, Christina Schieman, Elaine Stribley, Lucy D'Anca, Grace Tierney, Cillian O'Flaherty, Angelina Greico, Abigail Petersen, Chase Lichter, Devin Chiaramonti, Alyssa Ogrodny, Josh Ulisano and James Hubeny
Not pictured: Vanessa Badillo, Ashley Baka, Mi'Yaon Richardson