MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Holy Spirit Catholic Church sponsored more than 130 high school youth group members from a number of diocese in the River Region to take a trip to Washington D.C. for the 2018 March for Life. The march is the largest pro-life event in the country.
Youth group leader Justin Castanza said the church sends a group every year, but this year is the largest.
"We had a 40-person waiting list and had to add a third bus," Castanza said. "Even now, we have a wait list. If there were open spots, more people would be here to go."
Castanza said the response from the students, 100 of them coming from Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School where he serves as the principal, is "unbelievable."
Montgomery Catholic alumna Agnes Armstrong was the catalyst for this year's huge turnout. This will be her fifth time attending March for Life. Her first time was her sophomore year of high school.
"It was the first time I ever really felt like I was a part of something that was bigger than myself," Armstrong said.
She wrote a letter to March for Life President Jeanne Mancini, who in turn invited the group to lead the march and hold the banner. She also asked Armstrong to speak at the march.
"Based on past numbers, here will at least be half a million people watching," Armstrong said. "But I know I will be speaking to my best friends and people who encourage me to be better."
President Donald Trump will be the first sitting president to address March for Life, this year. He is scheduled to deliver a speech via satellite from the White House Rose Garden.
Castanza said 37 students from his group were invited to the speech, some invited to stand behind the President while he his speaking. Prattville High School Senior Stephen Guerrero is one of the students who will stand with President Trump.
"It's such an honor," Guerrero said. "I've been supporting him for a while, so it will be really cool to get to see him up close and hear him speak."
Including chaperones, 165 marchers from Holy Spirit will lead the march on Friday. Before the event, they will meet with three other groups from the Archdiocese of Mobile. There will be more than 600 people in the nation's capital for the event, representing the Archdiocese of Mobile. The group's theme this year is 'Love Saves Lives.'