On Friday, January 27, close to half a million souls will descend upon Washington, DC. Teens will stay up all night Thursday, praying and praising in our national Shrine. Housewives from the south will stand next to university presidents from the north in the freezing cold, while businessmen from the east mingle with college students from the west, all rallying for a cause they hold in common: the sanctity of all human life. Celebrities, politicians, and children will be there together, uniting prayer with action.
And if you turn on your television, you likely won’t hear a word about it.
If the mainstream media follows its traditional track record, the most we’ll hear on network news about this year’s March for Life will be the briefest of sound-bytes and perhaps a shot of a scuffle or two.
But the good news is that we don’t need traditional media outlets to follow and take part in the March for Life events in Washington, DC. Now more then ever, social media tools can give us a front row seat for the March and help us unite our prayers with those who will be braving the elements.
If you’re looking for a truly first-hand account of the March for Life (and its West Coast counterpart, the Walk for Life in San Francisco), you’ll find some amazing social media resources online to keep you connected to all of the events:
- Official March for Life presence online — Website, Twitter, Facebook
- West Coast Walk for Life — Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Channel
- Twitter Tags to follow — #marchforlife, #prolife, #walkforlife
- March for Life app — The event app includes an event guide, schedule, map, speaker and exhibitor profiles, social media integration, and the ability to take notes and interact with fellow marchers.
For those of us who can’t be physically present at the March for Life and the related prayer events, social media gives us an excellent way to be in touch with the events. But we can also pray and witness along with those marching but taking time in our homes and parishes this weekend and especially Friday to pray for the dignity of all human life. Consider attending Mass Friday morning, making a Holy Hour, or having a special family prayer time together. Also, it’s not too early to begin planning your participation in the upcoming 40 Days for Life campaign which begins on March 1 in many communities around the country. Learn more about the campaign at 40DaysforLife.com.
Finally, I feel it important to remind myself that during these days of prayer and activism leading up to and during the March for Life, that it’s important that we pay close attention to the tone and tenor of our witness in the social media and that our messages err on the side of love and unity, rather than hate and divisiveness. It’s likely that non-Christian and pro-choice contacts will encounter the messages you share on your Facebook page or Twitter feed. When they do, will they be moved by the love and compassion with which you share your convictions?
In reading the #MarchForLife hashtag on Twitter, I was especially touched by our young high school and college students who are preparing to attend the March and piling onto buses at this very moment around the country to head to the nation’s capital. What clearly rang forth in their messages was their brilliant faith and the joy they felt about being able to be a part of this journey. These young men and women set the tone for what will undoubtedly be a weekend of miracles.
While I wish I could be there with them physically in DC this Friday, I’m so glad that through social media initiatives online I can join them in spirit.
Copyright 2012, 2017 Lisa M. Hendey