Notre Dame Right to Life sends largest delegation to March in university history
Notre Dame Right to Life, the university’s largest student organization, sent 692 students—a university record—from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, and Holy Cross, as well as a number of faculty and staff, to Washington, DC, this year for the annual March for Life. They could be spotted departing from Stepan Center on the evening of January 21 in a brightly lit caravan of 14 coach buses.
Founded in 1974 and held annually, the March for Life attracts hundreds of thousands of participants to commemorate the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortion in Roe v. Wade. In recent years, over half a million pro-lifers per March have descended upon the nation’s capital to proclaim the dignity of every human life, and 2015 was no exception.
Rachel Drumm, president of Notre Dame Right to Life, shared her thoughts about the March with the Rover: “Hundreds of thousands of youth were present at the March. It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many young people who have a desire to stand up and fight for a respect of all human life. It gives me hope for the future of our world.”
Although the March for Life is often portrayed in the mainstream media as a “demonstration” or “protest,” these labels convey only a fraction of the truth. “The March for Life is more than just a peaceful protest; it is a celebration of life,” Drumm continued. “Although it is a somber occasion as we remember all those whose lives are lost due to abortion, we are simultaneously joyful as we celebrate the gift of every human life.”
Molly Weiner, a first-time attendee, told the Rover about her experience. “The singing and dancing crowds, in addition to the effort and enthusiasm of each group from across America to travel to DC, shows that the pro-life movement is not dormant but fully alive.”
Evan Holguin, a freshman, explained to the Rover his personal connection to the pro-life movement.
“My mom, my four younger siblings, and two of my cousins are all adopted,” he said. “I went on the March because I know that there are plenty of families like mine who are looking to adopt children, and to think that so many of those children are being killed instead of allowed to live with loving, adoptive families is beyond all reason.”
In addition to the March, students, faculty, and staff had the pleasure of attending a diocesan Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. In his homily, Bishop Rhoades exhorted all of the members of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and others in attendance to reflect on the March in light of the day’s Gospel.
Referring to the list of 12 disciples whom Jesus summoned to follow Him and subsequently sent forth to preach and drive out demons, Bishop Rhoades urged listeners to “place [their] own names on that list.” His words highlighted not only the universality of Christ’s call, but also the necessity of allowing this call to transform us inwardly before we can bring the culture of life into the world.
“Marching for life is the first step in building a culture of life,” Drumm told the Rover. Echoing Bishop Rhoades, she continued, “It is only effective if those who march continue to live out what they believe through love and respect for all people.”
Nicole O’Leary is a freshman history and theology major who lives in McGlinn. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.