WARREN – For one Our Lady of Fatima High School senior, the annual March for Life provided the impetus that he needed to continue his journey of faith.
Michael Mangina, a parishioner of St. Teresa Church, Pawtucket, was filled with doubt after losing his father Jack, age 56, last March and his maternal grandfather a few months earlier.
“I lost my faith very quickly,” said Mangina, who continued to attend Mass but lost his desire to fully participate in the liturgy.
When St. Dorothy Sister Lisa Palazio, the high school’s admissions director and coordinator of pro-life activities, invited Mangina to travel to Washington, he jumped at the chance because of his longstanding commitment to protect the sanctity of human life.
While Mangina admitted his apprehension upon arriving at the Verizon Center, where 20,000 worshippers gathered for a youth rally and Mass concelebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, several bishops and priests from all over the country, the young man’s fears soon turned to feelings of happiness and joy in the electrifying atmosphere.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said, adding that he was inspired by the large crowd as they sang, recited the rosary and listened to rally speakers who offered personal testimony about their commitment to supporting pro-life activities.
“I walked out of there with a huge smile on my face,” Mangina recalled.
Despite the frigid temperatures, the Fatima student’s restored faith continued to blossom as he marched through the streets of the nation’s capitol toward the Supreme Court Building.
Mangina said that he is going to speak to Father Joseph Paquette, pastor of St. Theresa Church, about getting more parish youth involved in pro-life activities.
“I want them to experience what I experienced,” he said.
According to Sister Palazio, several students from Fatima High School traveled to the March for Life with students from St. Patrick Academy, Providence, and parishioners from St. Theresa Church, Tiverton.
“To be sitting in a crowd of 20,000 youth praying the rosary and attending Mass shows that the Catholic faith is really alive,” she said.