Memories and messages from this year’s Midwest March for Life in Jefferson City spilled out over Loose Creek during Immaculate Conception School’s April 16 prayer service and “mini march” for life.
Students made banners affirming the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception and marched by class around their school and church in solidarity with the unborn.
In the churchyard, Father Anthony Rinaldo, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Loose Creek and of St. Louis of France Parish in Bonnots Mill, blessed a statue of a baby sleeping peacefully in the hand of God.
It will serve as a reminder for students, parishioners and all who pass by the church grounds to uphold the inviolable dignity of all human life through their actions, words and prayers.
“May this statue always remind us of the right to life for every human being, that all of God’s people are worthy of protection,” Fr. Rinaldo prayed as he sprinkled it with holy water.
“We believe that every human being is born with the dignity of baby Jesus,” he told the students. “Every one of us! That’s something really important to think about.”
At an all-school prayer service in Immaculate Conception Church, students learned about and meditated on God’s love and mercy for all people.
Kim Borgmeyer, mother of seventh-grader Grace Borgmeyer, showed a gallery of photos from the Midwest March for Life.
An estimated 2,000 people attended the march and rallies on the State Capitol grounds to call for an end to abortion and celebrate the state’s progress toward that end.
The theme was “Together Strong: Life Unites, Hold the Line.”
Themes of persistence, knowledge and mercy filled the recollections of the I.C. students who attended.
“I enjoyed spending time with my friends while promoting life,” said Addisyn Nilges. “I learned that Missouri has one of the lowest abortion rates in the United States, and that we had less than 40 abortions last year, and there is only one abortion clinic left in Missouri.”
“Missouri is the safest state for unborn babies,” stated Madelyn Backes.
She found out during the rally that when a pregnant woman gets to see an ultrasound image of her baby, she is much less likely to get an abortion.
She was impressed to see so many people marching for life through the streets of downtown Jefferson City.
“It was amazing to see how many people came from all different places — even different states — to support such a good cause,” she said.
Kristen Robertson believes Missouri is making good progress.
“There is only one abortion clinic left in Missouri, and they’re just barely making it,” she said.
“We got to learn a lot about how important it is to educate yourself about abortion so that you can have conversations with others about it so that they will believe,” she stated.
“Unborn babies cannot stand up for themselves so we have to stand up for them,” she said.
Grace Borgmeyer believes the day was well spent.
“The best part was hanging out with your friends while also standing up for what I believe in,” she said. “I would love to attend again.”
Blake Klietheremes found out that Missouri is one of the leading states in trying to eliminate abortions completely, and that the state only has one abortion clinic left.
“I learned that there are many different ways to do an abortion, and they are all just as bad,” he said.
“It was very interesting and I would go again if I get a chance,” said Nate Jaegers.
Nate talked about how thousands of abortions used to be performed each year in Missouri.
“In 2020, there were less than 40,” he said.
Mrs. Borgmeyer noted that the seventh- and eighth-graders arrived in Jefferson City for the rally in time to pray the Rosary with Father Anthony Viviano, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Westphalia and St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Folk and moderator of pro-life ministry for the Diocese of Jefferson City.
“It was amazing,” she said. “Some of the people who work in the Capitol opened the windows and said the prayers with us.”
She pointed out that throughout the rallies that took place before and after the march, I.C. students took turns holding the procession cross and the image of the Divine Mercy.
“They weren’t asked to do it, they just did it,” she said. “They totally put themselves in the moment and joined in and participated 100-percent.”
“I’m very, very proud of all of you,” said Fr. Rinaldo. “You guys — you rock!”
Two years ago, Mrs. Borgmeyer’s daughter Grace asked to go to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., for her 12th birthday.
“So we ended up going to the March, and we resolved after that that we’d go every year,” said Mrs. Borgmeyer.
They couldn’t go this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they found out that some of the speakers who had planned to present in Washington were going to do so at the Midwest March for Life in Jefferson City.
Mrs. Borgmeyer and Grace wanted to attend and to bring some of the experience back to Loose Creek.
Principal Anne Luebbert agreed to have a “mini march” at school.
During the service in church, Mrs. Borgmeyer led a prayer of thanksgiving, with the students repeating each phrase: “Thank You, God, for the gift of life. Thank You, Jesus, for the gift of everlasting life. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for the gift of helping us on the journey of life.”
She said she hopes that as the students enter adulthood, they will continue passionately putting their faith into practice and fighting against the tide of the culture.
“We need to fight for what we’ve been given, those rights and the love that Jesus Christ gives us and the community and the communion of our faith. We need to fight to make sure that that never gets forgotten,” she said.