“In our present social context, marked by a dramatic struggle between the ‘culture of life’ and the ‘culture of death’, there is need to develop a deep critical sense, capable of discerning true values and authentic needs. What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new culture of life.”
Pope Saint John Paul II, Evangelium vitae (1995)
The Saint John’s Seminary community is filled with a profound awareness and desire to support human life at every stage. For over 20 years Saint John’s Seminary has participated in the March for Life in Washington DC. Our seminarians and faculty members have joined over 100,000 others each year to pray for an end to abortion and for the protection of the right to life of all people.
Mr. Matthew Valles, who is a seminarian studying for the Diocese of Portland, Maine, and has served as president of the Seminary Pro-Life Committee from the fall of 2018 to the spring of 2020, explained that the Pro-Life Committee coordinated trips to the nearby abortion clinics for times of prayer; hosted nationally-recognized speakers, such as Dr. Peter Kreeft, who gave talks at the seminary on pro-life issues; organized overnight prayer vigils that took place once a semester; and, planned the annual trips to Washington DC for the March for Life.
Matthew continued, “this year, due to the COVID restrictions, Saint John’s Seminary was not able to attend the March for Life in Washington DC. Instead, the Pro-life Committee has organized a 40-hour prayer vigil from Monday (January 11) evening until Wednesday (January 13) afternoon to pray for an end to abortion and increased respect for life at all its stages. Throughout the 40 hours, at least two seminarians, per hour, were present adoring the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the seminary chapel for these intentions.” During this 40 Hour Vigil, the seminarians included in their prayers the intentions submitted online from the broader Saint John’s Seminary community.
With the hope of being able to return to Washington for the March for Life next year, Matthew reflected on this 40 Hour Vigil, “It was a blessing to be able to have the 40 hours devotion in lieu of a trip for the March for Life. Seminarians made immense contributions of their time and talents to make the Vigil run smoothly. Deacons of the house took responsibility of exposing and reposing the Lord in the tabernacle; sacristans made sure that we had candles alight for all of the hours of the devotion; all of the seminarians took extra time to visit with the Lord. The event was very beautiful, and would not have been possible without the support of the seminary faculty, staff and benefactors. Thank you to all who made this event possible.”