MADISON -- Each year, St. Ambrose Academy holds an All Saints Day party whose proceeds fund the students' biennial journey to Washington, D.C., to march on behalf of the unborn.
Hundreds recently flocked to the wooded hills of southwestern Dane County on a sunny but crisp autumn afternoon for frolic and fellowship in support of the great cause of sending young people to the March for Life.
Many of this year's party guests dressed as saints: Gianna Mollo strolled about in a white doctor's jacket, a little Kateri Tekakwitha rode on her uncle's shoulders in a leather fringed wrap with feathers.
A darling little Josemaria Escriva toddled about with thick period glasses and floor-length black cassock. Elizabeth of Hungary must have been bilocating, as she could be found everywhere, in a different colored dress each time.
A young St. George with a gold dragon on his breastplate brandished a sword, while St. Francis followed along behind smiling brightly carrying a small stuffed animal.
St. Catherine Labouré's white cornette threatened to take out innocent bystanders every time she turned her head.
The imaginative and beautifully-crafted range of costumes showed not only the incredible talents of local Catholic seamstresses but also the rich heritage of our Catholic treasure trove of saints.
Games for the kiddies included Dunkin' Pumpkin, Corn Cob Ring Toss, Fish Pond, Ghostbusters, Pin the Nose on the Great Pumpkin, Humpty Dumpty's Climbing Wall, Ramp It Up, the Amazing Maze Game, and Sleepy Hollow Hoops.
A prize drawing followed, and then the children went trick-or-treating through the woods to the older teens and young adults dressed as saints. The little ones then assembled for the traditional candy toss.
As night fell, the All Saints event concluded with a beautifully sung "Litany of the Saints" around a crackling bonfire.
Trail of Thrills
The hardier guests stayed around for the Trail of Thrills, a dark and scary walk (no flashlights allowed!) through the deep forest where many thrills and chills awaited.
This year's trail theme, "Creepy Comics," included stations throughout the woods inspired by the "creepier" side of classic comic books.
March for Life
The students, alumni, and other volunteers who worked so hard on the event were much gratified by the success of the evening.
Generous party-goers and others who could not attend contributed $5,300, putting a very good dent in the total cost of the trip, which has in the past proven to be a life-changing experience for Ambrosian upperclassmen.
The March for Life occurs each January in commemoration of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in this nation. In addition to marching to the Supreme Court, the students explore the monuments area in downtown D.C., the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, Arlington Cemetery, and other historical sites on the route such as Gettysburg or the birthplace of John Carroll, the first American Catholic bishop.
Students also visit the area's historical Catholic sites, capped by Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
If you would like to help send a busload of young people to the March For Life, send a check made out to St. Ambrose Academy and marked with "March For Life" to 602 Everglade Dr., Madison, WI 53717.