Father Martino Choi told some 18,000 teens and adults about his mother's decision in favor of life at a Youth Rally and Mass for Life held in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.
“I know a woman who went in for her ultrasound, and was told by the doctors that the child’s organs were not developing properly. The child would probably not make it a year after birth, and they recommended abortion,” Fr. Choi said during his homily at the Capital One Arena Jan. 19.
“This woman is my mother, and I am that child,” he stated.
Choi is a parish priest at St. Patrick's parish in Rockville, Md., about 20 miles northwest of the District of Columbia. He said the doctors had told his mother that abortion would shield him and her from unnecessary suffering. He continued: “The devil knows who to disguise evil with a lie that somehow death is better than life … but death is never better than life.”
The young priest also shared stories from his parish where he has counseled parents who lost a child between days and months after the child's birth.
“Not a single one of those families comes to me and says, ‘You know what, Father, we wish we hadn’t had this child. We wish we hadn’t had to suffer through this.’ None of them say that. They all say, ‘Thank God that we got to love this child, even if it was just for a couple of days.'”
“One family, whose kid never left the hospital, said that in his three months of life their son taught them the depths of love and courage that we could not understand before his birth…”
These stories resonated with the teens at the Mass for Life, who came from dioceses both across the U.S. and internationally.
“I thought that it was really amazing,” Kelly Lambers, a high school student from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, told CNA. “His mother didn’t give him up even though she knew he didn’t have that long to live, but now look at him; he’s a priest!”
Lambers traveled nine hours by bus with her classmates from Mother of Mercy High School to attend the rally and the March for Life. She said she is particularly proud of her friends’ signs that read, “Pro-Life is Pro-Women.”
Tajil Baptiste, a young man from the U.S. Virgin Islands, also shared why he and his friends traveled to D.C. for the March for Life: “It is a a religious event for us, traveling so far from a little island, but the message that we will be bringing back to our community and our Church is ‘Let’s be pro-life, let’s change the world.’”
There were nearly 200 priests, 20 bishops, and three cardinals concelebrating the youth Mass, according to the Archdiocese of Washington. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was the principal celebrant.
“We are gathered here to proclaim the value, the worth, and the dignity of all human life,” Cardinal Wuerl told the crowd before the Mass.
The Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre, shared a message from Pope Francis with the youth and extended an invitation to tag the Holy Father as they stand up for life on Twitter and Instagram using #iStand4Life.
After the Mass for Life, the youth groups walked from the Capital One Arena to the National Mall for the March for Life.