Young adults from Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish pose with Bishop Joseph C. Bambera at the 47th annual March for Life in January 2020. This year, instead of traveling to Washington, the parish is planning a local “March for Life” in East Stroudsburg on Jan. 29, 2021.

EAST STROUDSBURG – While they will not be able to attend the March for Life in person in Washington this year, two parish youth groups in the Poconos are still planning to highlight the importance of the day.

Saint Matthew Parish in East Stroudsburg and Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Brodheadsville are joining forces to hold a local “March for Life” on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.

“We are not able to go to the March itself in Washington but we didn’t want the day to go by without recognizing it,” Dori Hurley, Youth Ministry Director at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, said.

Starting at 12:30 p.m., young adults are expected to take part in a one-hour march through East Stroudsburg. COVID-19 precautions will be in place. Because of the ability to remain physically distant from one another, the parishes have also invited community members to take part in the walk.

“The route is about an hour. We’ll start at the corner on the campus of Saint Matthew Church and we’ll head up onto Prospect Street and go up past the hospital. We thought if we went past the hospital and past a couple of the main streets in East Stroudsburg we would get a lot more eyes,” explained Sean Robbins, Youth, College and Young Adult Minister at Saint Matthew Parish.

Prior to the march, students from the two parishes will watch the Virtual Youth Rally from Washington, attend Mass and have other prayer opportunities.

Following the local march, they are expected to participate in a Holy Hour and a witness talk, along with having time for small group discussion and reflection.

Nancy Gabana, a parishioner of Saint Matthew Parish, will discuss her personal witness. When she was in medical school, Gabana will explain how she was pressured to abort her child but refused. Gabana now has a beautiful daughter who is in her 20s.

“I hope that they (young adults) can see that choosing life is never the bad option. Even when things may seem dim, God always has a plan for our lives,” Robbins said.

Organizers of the event are looking forward to sending a positive message to their community.

“I think this is going to be a little different for the kids. When you’re at the March, everyone is there for the same reason,” Hurley said. “Here locally in East Stroudsburg, our presence is going to be something very different. Some people may not even know the significance of the day.”

“This is an opportunity right in our hometown, right where our parishes are, where many parishioners live, where many of our local businesses and donors live. It’s a great opportunity to show the community that we’re standing up for life,” Robbins added.

Both youth ministry directors say this event is turning into a real parish-wide effort, crossing generations and ministries, as everyone is focused on making sure the event runs smoothly.