Campus clubs lead March for Life pilgrimage
Hundreds of thousands from across the country gathered together on January 24, 2020, to participate in the 46th annual March for Life. The March, taking place in Washington, D.C., unites members of the pro-life movement in a public showing of their stance on human rights issues. This year, members of Notre Dame Right to Life (NDRtL) made a sizeable appearance in the crowd, marking their presence by wearing baby blue beanies.
NDRtL actively works to uphold the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. The club provides its members with many opportunities to promote these values, both in the South Bend community and nationally. The club holds many spiritual events to pray for the restoration of a culture of life in our country, as well as various service and educational events throughout the academic year. Every month NDRtL hosts a Respect Life Mass in the Basilica, with a fellowship dinner following. Each Friday the club prays the Angelus outside of the Main Building at 12:30 between classes. The pilgrimage to D.C. is NDRtL’s largest event of the year––it provides students with the opportunity to publicly stand up for the voiceless in our society, and to build a strong foundation for our pro-life beliefs.
The pilgrimage began with an overnight bus ride to the host parishes just outside of D.C. These parishes warmly opened their doors to house members of the Notre Dame community during their time in the city. The entire group from ND was bussed to the March, gathered to take a group picture in front of the Washington Monument, and then joined hundreds of thousands of other marchers at the pro-life rally.
This year marked the first time that a sitting president addressed the March. It was incredible to have recognition of the movement by such a powerful and influential person in the government. President Donald Trump’s speech brought a sense of comfort and pride to the marchers that afternoon, helping them recognize that their cause is proceeding in government and that their officials are ready and willing to help with all the work that must still be done. In his speech, the president placed an important emphasis on the religious aspects of the pro-life movement. “[W]e know that every human soul is divine and every human life, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of Almighty God,” he said. Trump reassured the crowd that he believed in the dignity of every life, even those unborn. He celebrated the mothers in the crowd, and he addressed them, saying, “[M]others are heroes. Your strength, devotion, and drive is what powers our nation. Because of you, our country has been blessed with amazing souls who have changed the course of human history”.
The theme for this year’s march was “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.” The pro-life movement takes pride in its inclusivity of celebrating the dignity and power in every human life—male or female—at every stage—conception to natural death. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, this year’s theme paid recognition to the women of the suffrage movement. The pro-life movement is often portrayed as anti-woman, as it seems to some to take away their “right to choose.” Instead, the movement emphasizes that every life is worth fighting for, maybe even especially for the women in difficult pregnancy situations. In the March’s promotional video announcing 2020’s March theme, the female speaker stresses that like previous feminists who have had a permanent impact in women’s history, it is now women’s turn to “be a voice for the voiceless.”
One moment of the March that will stick with the Notre Dame crowd was hearing the news that one of our fellow Notre Dame students had passed away. The news reached the marchers during the middle of our walk to the Supreme Court, and suddenly the March had an additional meaning for the Notre Dame community. We were no longer just marching for the unborn, we were marching for the life of an individual who was a part of our Notre Dame family. We gathered together the morning after the March to hold a prayer service in Annrose’s honor, and rosaries were prayed during the March itself and the bus ride back to the campus.
The March for Life is the largest pro-life event in the world, connecting thousands of people across the nation. Not only was this event a unifying experience for Notre Dame and the rest of the country, but it was also a unifying experience within the Notre Dame community itself. Whether they were a part of the club or not, students united together to celebrate the gift of life. Every individual’s presence at the March was another drop in the ripple of change, and NDRtL can only hope that this representation will continue to grow in number.
Ireland Majewski is a freshman, with a planned major of psychology and pre-health. She is a proud member of the 7.0 Gateway cohort from Holy Cross College. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.