St. John Vianney High School

Griffins march for Pro Life

Vianney Griffins travel to Washington D.C. for March for Life

By Johnathan McMahon

Several dozen Vianney Griffins made a pilgrimage to Washington D.C. for the annual Pro Life march, coined “The March for Life,” from Jan. 19-21. 

It takes place every year on the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision passed 45 years ago. The March for Life protests peacefully the practice and legality of abortion in our country and across the world. 

For our boys in particular, each night they would gather with 2,200 other teens from the St. Louis Archdiocese to hear Pro Life Speakers, worship music, and entertainment. They also participated in Eucharistic adoration with opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson gave a talk and celebrated two masses with the guys -- one in the hotel and one in the National Shrine on the Campus of the Catholic University of America. Pope Francis also offered a plenary indulgence for all the March for Life pilgrims.

“We attended the Rally for Life before the march on the Washington Mall where we heard the President, Donald Trump, via telecast, the Vice President Mike Pence, the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, former NFL Viking and Raven, Matt Birk, the singer ‘Plum,’ some Sisters of Life, and many others address the crowd of nearly half a million people,” said Vianney group leader Nick Kheriaty, who was joined on the trip by Dave Gauvain, Lisa Hackett and Fr. Tim Kenney. 

“We marched to the steps of the Supreme Court building, where women of the group ‘Silent No More’ told their stories of having had abortions and the traumatic impact that it had on the rest of their lives.” Kheriaty said. “We toured the Holocaust Museum and saw the destructive power of relabeling some people as not worthy of living. We also toured some Smithsonian museums including the Museum of American History.”

Vianney junior Kamou Harris was one of the students involved with the March for Life. 

When he spoke about his time, Harris mentioned hearing people speak about Planned Parenthood and the inequities of abortion in this country. He took those stories to heart and after learned that the majority of babies aborted in the U.S. are black, Harris said, “That’s what woke me up.”

Juniors Jack Schlote and Andrew Chapman were also involved in the march.

“One message of the whole trip that was really powerful was that, as Pro-Lifers, we needed to have compassion and kindness for people who were Pro-Choice,” Schlote said.

Chapman added: “We were not to condemn those against our views, rather we are to love them, because whether or not they agree with us, they are our brothers and sisters, not our enemies.” 

Participants involved through Vianney (not including parishes)

Seniors: Karl Bitzer, Kai Panethiere

Juniors: Aaron Barrera, Zachary Brinkley, Andrew Chapman, Alexander Clever, Ben Erken, Kamou Harris, Hank Sauer, Jack Schlote, Sam Stockman, Sam Visintine

Sophomores: Matthew Bullerdick, Paul Hoffman

Freshmen: Alex Bujnak, Augustine Clever, Franjo Krepelnik, Cade Leassner, Justin Schoenwalder