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March for Life Archive


Students, Parishioners Stranded on Pennsylvania Turnpike for 21 Hours
By Catherine Stortz Ripley
January 25, 2016

CAPTION: Five Bishop Hogan students and eight adults from Chillicothe were among travelers stranded for 21 hours on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Friday and Saturday. The group traveled with other individuals from the Kansas City and St. Joseph area. These photographs were submitted by Bishop Hogan pilgrims who participated in the March for Life trip to Washington, D.C.

Students of Bishop Hogan Memorial School and parishioners of St. Columban Catholic Church have participated in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., annually for many years. It's traditionally a memorable experience for attendees; but, the 2016 trek became especially one to remember when eastern states were pounded with record snowfall and attendees were stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for 21 hours. Five students and eight adults, including Father Ben Kneib, left Chillicothe at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and met up with others from the Kansas City and St. Joseph Diocese. Four buses traveled together; and, after a 25-hour bus ride, arrived in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. They did some sightseeing and ended the day with mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Friday began with the assemblage of walkers taking part in the March for Life, with speakers and legislators on stage giving testimonials about the value of life. The walk was shortened because of the weather, and the local delegation left at 4 p.m., a little early because of the snowstorm. The local travelers had been on the road just a few hours starting their journey back to Missouri and had just entered the Pennsylvania Turnpike when traffic came to a standstill because of an accident. It was reported that the backup of vehicles extended 50 miles. There would be no traffic movement for the next 21 hours. The bus, and at least hundreds of other vehicles, were stuck. Bishop Hogan Principal Pam Brobst kept in contact with those stranded, with parents and kept a close watch on the news. The local delegation, with the others from the Kansas City area, spent Friday night and all day Saturday on the bus.

With nowhere to go, the travelers from Missouri extended a helping hand where needed. They helped dig buses out of the snow, helped motorists clear snow away from their mufflers, and offered travelers use of the bus bathroom and a warm place to rest. The attendees pooled their snacks and divided them the best they could so they would have food to help sustain them. Some of those traveling built a snow altar Saturday morning and had mass, extending an open invitation to anyone who wanted to join them.

After 21 hours, the buses were able to travel a little farther and cross over into the other lane and go back the way they came. They arrived at an American Legion post in Bedford, Pennsylvania., where they were served a hot meal and given blankets and floor space to get some rest. Before long, they were back on the road toward home - another 20 hours on the bus. If there hadn't been the snowstorm, the local delegation would have returned to Chillicothe Saturday evening. Instead, they arrived at Blue Springs at 1:30 a.m. and in Chillicothe at 3 a.m. Monday.


January 22, 2015 - The 8th grade class left for Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning, January 20. They arrived in Washington on Wednesday and attended Mass at the Basilica on that evening. The March was on Thursday. They boarded the buses following the March and returned on Friday, January 23, 2015. The March appeared live on EWTN, cable channel 44. or online on Students sent home these pictures to share the experience. The entire school prayed the Rosary and watched the March begin on Thursday during lunch.

March for Life 2015

March for Life 2014

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