University President Fr. John Jenkins marched alongside hundreds of thousands of men and women this past week protesting the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, ROE V. WADE. Joining nearly 400 Notre Dame, St. Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College students on the 38th annual March for Life in Washington, DC, Fr. Jenkins praised the students’ “dedication to make this long trip.”

These students traveled nearly 12 hours on 7 buses to make the trip. Fr. Jenkins said, “The spirit of the students is just inspiring to me.”

The morning of the March for Life, Fr. Jenkins celebrated Mass at St. Agnes’ parish in Arlington, Virginia, which had housed the students for the weekend.

After Mass, students proceeded to the Washington, DC Mall. The March began following a rally on the Mall and proceeded to the steps of the Supreme Court Building. The white banner of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend traveled alongside the green and gold Notre Dame Right to Life banner.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese stressed the importance of Notre Dame’s participation in the March, stating, “We need our Catholic universities, especially with the prominence of Notre Dame, to be a strong visible presence in the whole pro-life movement.”

He also emphasized the significance of the diocese and the university marching together. “I’m really happy personally that here we are together, the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Notre Dame, marching together, because it shows that important connection between the local Church and our Catholic universities,” he said.

Bishop Rhoades spent much of the march speaking with men and women both from the diocese and from the university. He wore one of the blue and gold Notre Dame Right to Life scarves, which were given out to the students attending the March.

Kyle Clark, one of the commissioners for the trip sponsored by Notre Dame Right to Life, commented that the motivation for students to attend the march “is their genuine interest in promoting the cause and fighting to end the injustice of abortion.”

As students marched in DC, the Notre Dame Alumni Association hosted a sanctity of life prayer service on campus at the Grotto. The service offered prayers for the unborn, expectant parents, the sick, the aged, the dying, and for perpetrators of crimes and for their victims.

Seven students from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan had traveled with Notre Dame Right to Life to the march in Washington, including Ashley Strobel, a sophomore majoring in business and communication with a minor in theology. Strobel, whose mother attended Notre Dame, said she enjoyed spending the weekend with the Notre Dame students: “Being adopted as a Domer was great!”

Ashley found encouragement from the large number of participants in the March for Life. She quipped, “If you think that the pro-life movement is dead, then you should go!”


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