PITTSTON — Weather.com said it was 4 below zero but “feels like -25” thanks to the wind chill Wednesday morning.
By contrast, the destination of anti-abortion advocates celebrating a 5:30 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph Marello Church would feel almost balmy upon arrival with the temperature hitting the teens in Washington, D.C..
“This is the most important issue in our country today,” trip co-organizer Julie Bingham of Dupont said after the Mass ended, and the crowd, already fueled emotionally by appeals during the service for full protection of life from inception to death, stoked up on coffee in a side entry room.
All told, 26 “pilgrims” were heading to the March for Life, Bingham said.
“God could have made it a little warmer,” she conceded.
Bingham said she and others had decided to organize the trip to the annual March for Life in part because “these priests are new to the parish, and they want to bring parishioners to a stronger spirituality.”
As to the cold, her answer was simple and shared with a smile. “God will provide.”
Assistant Pastor The Rev. John Shearer said the trip was funded by contributions from attendees and from several church groups, including the Knights of Columbus, The Holy Name Society and The Altar and Rosary Society.
“Other parishioners who are not going also donated,” Shearer said.
A California native, Shearer said this was his first March for Life as well, though he has participated in the West Coast version in San Francisco.
“It’s called the walk for life there. It will be held on Saturday,” he noted. Then, after a short pause, added, “it’s probably a little warmer there.”
Probably? It was about 47 degrees in San Francisco as he spoke, with a high of 68 predicted for the afternoon.
Siblings Justin and Emily Lafata, 17 and 19 respectively, were old pros at this. “We’ve been to it several times,” Emily said. After a brief pause to calculate, both chirped almost simultaneously, “five times.”
It’s a family commitment, Justin said. How cold was it the last time they went?
“About 40” he replied. But weather is irrelevant when it comes to supporting the march, Emily added, because “it matters.”
After the brief interlude in the entry way, the crowd started heading out the door to a waiting bus, shrugging off the icy air with similar conviction. As one man walked out he offered a quick opinion clearly shared by others.
“Our spirit will heat things up.”