Snapshots From the March on Life: Boston Archdiocese Brings More Than 500 to DC

Father Ed Riley, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Waltham, Massachusetts, shares why it's important to be in Washington, D.C., marching for life.

Dina Sophia Patryn, 22, of Weymouth, Massachusetts, and Kaycie Hippolyte, 25, of Boston, took a nine-hour bus ride to the March for Life on Jan. 19, 2024.
Dina Sophia Patryn, 22, of Weymouth, Massachusetts, and Kaycie Hippolyte, 25, of Boston, took a nine-hour bus ride to the March for Life on Jan. 19, 2024. (photo: Joe Bukuras/CNA / EWTN)

More than 500 pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Boston traveled to the March for Life this year in Washington, D.C. 

Some traveled by train, others by bus or plane, and some drove “all through the night” just to get to the march, Colleen Donohoe, associate superintendent of Catholic identity with Boston Catholic Schools, told CNA on Friday.

The group marched under the Archdiocese of Boston’s large yellow and blue “Witness to Life” banner with their archbishop, Cardinal Sean O’Malley. Several seminarians, priests, young adults, elementary-aged students, and older adults accompanied the group. 

Pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Boston marched under a banner proclaiming “Witness to Life” at the March for Life on Jan. 19, 2024. Credit: Joe Bukuras/CNA

Pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Boston marched under a banner proclaiming “Witness to Life” at the March for Life on Jan. 19, 2024. Credit: Joe Bukuras/CNA

Donohoe said that despite the difficult logistics involved in coordinating all the Boston pilgrims, the trip was worth it. 

“I’m the youngest of seven children. I have a giant extended family, and we just always knew that this is what is most important in life: to pray for and defend the lives of our preborn brothers and sisters because they are worth it. We’re all worth it,” she said.

Colleen Donohoe, associate superintendent of Catholic Identity of Boston Catholic Schools, coordinated dozens of groups of over 500 pilgrims to attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 19, 2024. Credit: Joe Bukuras/CNA

Colleen Donohoe, associate superintendent of Catholic Identity of Boston Catholic Schools, coordinated dozens of groups of over 500 pilgrims to attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 19, 2024. Credit: Joe Bukuras/CNA

Father Ed Riley, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Waltham, Massachusetts, said that it’s important to be in Washington, D.C., marching for life.

“We want to witness as much as we can with joy, prayer, and presence,” Father Riley said, adding that it’s just as important to witness in the state of Massachusetts.

A group of nine seventh graders from St. Michael School in Lowell, Massachusetts, traveled to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 19, 2024. Credit: Joe Bukuras/CNA

A group of nine seventh graders from St. Michael School in Lowell, Massachusetts, traveled to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 19, 2024. Credit: Joe Bukuras/CNA

Father Riley, who traveled to Washington with a group of seventh-grade students from St. Michael School in Lowell, Massachusetts, and members of the school’s staff, said he’s advocated for the kids to come to the capital to experience “a bit of a history lesson” on the nation “as a country for life and the protection of life.”

“So this is not a one-off Catholic issue. It’s not just a bunch of Christians coming down and saying, ‘Okay, we’re going to force this issue.’ This is the foundation of the documents and the fathers and the men and women who built this nation hundreds of years ago. And our kids are being exposed to that history and that truth,” he said.

Seventh graders from St. Michael School in Lowell, Massachusetts, attended Life Fest on Friday morning and were excited for their March for Life on Jan. 19, 2024. Credit: Joe Bukuras/CNA

Seventh graders from St. Michael School in Lowell, Massachusetts, attended Life Fest on Friday morning and were excited for their March for Life on Jan. 19, 2024. Credit: Joe Bukuras/CNA

Dina Sophia Patryn, 22, of Weymouth, Massachusetts, and Kaycie Hippolyte, 25, of Boston, traveled to the march by bus and didn’t arrive in Washington until 1 a.m. on Friday. 

“I was able to sleep most of the time,” Hippolyte said. 

“There were some accidents on the road and that was kind of scary, but it was a long way,” Patryn added.

Both said the long trek was “absolutely” worth it. 

“We were all born in the womb and life is precious. And it’s not something that you can choose, it’s something that God has given. And no matter what label people like to put it, all forms of a human life is life. And it’s sacred,” Hippolyte said.

Edward Reginald Frampton, “The Voyage of St. Brendan,” 1908, Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Wisconsin.

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