Whenever there is a big event on the National Mall, there almost always is a little dust up afterward as to the actual number of people who participated. Inevitably there are complaints that crowd size has been under- or over-estimated, depending on who is doing the counting and what they want their estimates to mean.  

Almost every year for the 30-plus years I have covered the March for Life for the Catholic Standard, this has been the case. I am sure that is what will happen after the march on Jan. 18. I have come to the conclusion that the crowd estimate will always be wrong because there are many, many march “participants” who never make it to the Mall nor march to the Supreme Court building.

Many parishes, convents, monasteries and schools offer Masses and host adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament that day. This way, the elderly, the infirm, those unable to travel and those with other obligations that keep them away from the March for Life can still participate in this event.

Those people praying before the Blessed Sacrament – or praying in their homes or offering their daily rosary for the intention of protecting life – are among the uncounted and unseen “marchers” in the March for Life.

I think of the countless people who are providing hospitality for out-of-town marchers. There are those who – while the march is going on – stay behind to prepare for the return of tired and cold marchers, offering them food and beverage after the march. They will not be on the Mall, but they are doing pro-life work and they are also participants in the march.

We Catholics can respond in many different ways to the call to protect and defend the dignity of life. We can march, we can pray, we can counsel, we can fast, we can attend Mass, we can advocate for laws that respect all life, and we can make sacrifices in defense of life. All of it is pro-life work, and all of it is important.

So, let the numbers be debated. It does not matter, because God sees and God knows and it is only His accounting that really matters.