Erin Stoyell-Mulholland, Staff Writer
Notre Dame’s Right to Life club is looking forward to an exciting school year, filled with many different opportunities for anyone who wants to get involved. The mission of Notre Dame Right to Life is to promote and uphold the dignity and worth of all human life from conception to natural death, in adherence to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. We do this through four primary methods: education, service, prayer and community, all of which contribute to this year’s theme, “What does it mean to be pro-life?”
Our hope is to inspire others to embrace the new pro-life vision that we have for our world by giving them the tools and ideas they need to live out a culture of life. We believe that through centering our activities on love, the celebration of life and pro-women messages, we can overcome the culture of death and create a world where every human person is valued and cherished for his or her inherent dignity. Evangelium Vitae says that “Evangelization is an all-embracing, progressive activity through which the Church participates in the prophetic, priestly and royal mission of the Lord Jesus. It is therefore inextricably linked to preaching, celebration and the service of charity.”
So how do we do this? First, we start with education. We are blessed to have the nation’s largest University Faculty for Life chapter here on campus, which allows us to collaborate with professors in a number of ways.
This year we started a seminar series, which gives students an opportunity to gather in a group of about 15 and participate in a discussion led by a professor on a topic specific to his area of expertise. For example, a few upcoming seminars include “Dating for Life” with David O’Connor, “A Theology of Adoption,” with Tim O’Malley, and “Abortion Beyond National Borders” with Paolo Carozza. Through this seminar series, students are given the opportunity to dive deeper into a variety of life issues while being able to discuss them with faculty. We also host lectures over the course of the year; Jeanne Monahan, president of the March for Life, is coming to speak and we invite you to join us. Every year in October we hold a Respect Life week in which we put on several events such as movie watches, lectures and service activities to educate our fellow students on what it means to be pro-life.
We put a special emphasis on service, especially within the South Bend community. Five service commissions within the club focus on different aspects of being pro-life. We have partnerships with Hannah’s House, a maternity home in the area; Holy Family Adoption Agency, an adoption agency that recently opened an office here in South Bend; Hannah and Friends, a community for individuals with disabilities; Portage Manor, a nursing home; and the Women’s Care Center, a crisis pregnancy center.
A large number of students participate in these volunteer opportunities and our newly-formed Women’s Care Center commission has grown tremendously––we will be expanding our volunteer coordination to include two of the local centers this upcoming school year. Each semester we host a baby shower for women in the South Bend area who might not otherwise get to have a baby shower. These commissions provide us an opportunity to give back to the South Bend community while supporting the mission of the club.
Prayer is also an integral part of our Right to Life club’s mission. Our chaplain, Father Terry Ehrmann, CSC, celebrates a monthly Respect Life Mass. We also say a weekly rosary at the local abortion clinic and have a weekly designated Adoration hour for our club. Since prayer is the foundation of the pro-life movement, we make a conscious effort to take advantage of these opportunities to come together.
Lastly, community is a key element in continuing our fight for life. One of our commissions is called the Joys of Life, and it focuses on spreading awareness through visible events on campus. We will continue to foster community through our new faculty-student mentorship program, in which students are paired with a faculty member within their discipline. On a large scale, Notre Dame’s Right to Life community connects with the national movement each year at the March for Life. Students have a special opportunity to stand up with thousands of pro-lifers from across the country, and this past year alone, Notre Dame sent over 600 students to the March. It really is an incredible witness of faith.
Through education, prayer, service and community, Notre Dame’s Right to Life club hopes to foster a culture of life here on campus so that when our undergraduates leave, we will be able to share this vision with the world.
Erin Stoyell-Mulholland is a junior theology major who threw a raging ice cream social last weekend. With 2 gallons of extra ice cream in her fridge, feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to come get some.