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March for Life Group Stranded in Storm, Prays Mass on Altar Made of Snow—UPDATED WITH VIDEO

January 23, 2016

A post on Facebook describes the scene:

Amazing site from Pennsylvania. Dowling Catholic [High School, in Iowa] students stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike meet kids on the bus from Missouri. They have a priest. And create a snow altar for mass in the middle of this stand still. Very proud of all you Dowling Catholic students.

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WBAY from Green Bay reports on another stranded band of marchers:

A group of 150 people from the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, mostly students, is stranded in their buses by the East Coast blizzard.

The group was in Washington, DC, for the “March for Life” anti-abortion rally but left to come back to Wisconsin at 2 p.m. Friday — a full day ahead of schedule — because of the storm.

A parishioner tells Action 2 News their Lamers buses have been stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike since 10 o’clock Friday night. We’re told traffic is stopped “as far as the eye can see” and hasn’t moved since 10. Snow is piling up around them, and stranded drivers who have run out of gas are coming into their bus for warmth.

Maria Schuette told us by phone, “It’s looking pretty brutal out here. There was an overturned truck covering three lanes of traffic. The lack of response or maybe the lack of planning — even the bus driver says he doesn’t know what’s happening and why we’re not even moving at all. The longer we stay here the more stuck we get. Unfortunately the snow is over a foot high and we don’t know how we’re going to get out.”

Around noon, people on the buses reported on social media that snowplows and tow trucks were getting closer — about two miles from them.

People on the buses tell Action 2 News the buses have power, food, water and a bathroom, and they say they’re in good spirits.

God love ’em. Keep them in your prayers.

UPDATE: The Compass in Green Bay has fresh details: 

In a telephone interview Jan. 23, from one of three Lamers coach buses carrying the diocesan pilgrims, Maria Schuette, director of religious education and youth ministry for the Diocese of Green Bay, said that while the snowstorm and resulting freeway shutdown impeded the group’s return home, it became another opportunity for the group “to practice what it means to be pro-life.”

The diocesan pilgrims, which included parish youth groups, Catholic high school students, and their chaperones, departed for the March for Life from St. Pius Church in Appleton on Jan. 19. The group participated in service projects and liturgies held in conjunction with the annual pro-life gathering, which marks  the 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Before the march began, Schuette said the group planned to return home immediately after the march in order to avoid the snowstorm. “We were right up in the front of the march,” she said.

Around 2 p.m., the group boarded their coach buses and were on the road home. “We left when the roads were very passible and then probably after about four hours, we came across an accident that happened in front of us,” said Schuette. “That slowed everything down. We couldn’t move after that. We’ve been stuck here since 10 last night.”

…Although stranded in the middle of a major snowstorm, which dumped up to three feet in some locations, the Green Bay pilgrims have been able turn the negative experience into a positive, Schuette said.

“We have been taking in strangers, people whose cars ran out of fuel,” she said. “It’s definitely been like a God moment for us.”

Five people who were stranded in cars were able to join the pilgrims on the buses.

Read more.

You can see more images here.  And check out the video from one of the stranded groups, just posted on Facebook:

Photos: Facebook