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It was January 2014, our long bus ride from Baton Rouge to Washington, DC, for the March For Life had barely begun. It was a gas station stop where the bus fueled with gas, the kids fueled up with junk food, and the adults stretched our creaky joints. When we got back on the bus, Fr. Brent and Chelsey had added a new member to our bus count. I wasn't there for the divine moment when they both looked at one another at a roadside truck stop and decided that they should purchase a gigantic stuffed white tiger. None of us could decide what to name our new friend, and since we love the Dominican Sisters that join our buses year after year, we deferred the naming of the tiger to the sisters. They didn't take long to settle on Barnabas, and that's the story of how the stuffed white tiger named Barnabas became a staple of the Baton Rouge March for Life Pilgrimage.

That day and for many days after, I didn't give much thought to why the sisters chose the name, Barnabas. St. Barnabas was an apostle called by the Holy Spirit to go out and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. He was a very successful preacher to the Church of Antioch.

The more I learned about St. Barnabas, the more I understood that the Sisters had not chosen his name on a whim. But with a complete understanding that Barnabas, the tiger, had been divinely chosen to draw people to us, especially to the cassock-wearing Padre that carried him on his shoulders. Sure enough, people came from all over to talk to Padre and to see Barnabas.

Barnabas, the tiger, taught me a fundamental life lesson. God can work through e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. God always shows up. I thought the tiger was funny, and it was totally my friends to walk into a truck stop and walk out with a huge stuffed tiger. I loved them for their spontaneous and proven nature to not take life too seriously. But, little did I know what plans God had for Fr. Brent and Barnabas as they walked the streets of DC, announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

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