Despite Covid, club seeks to recreate the annual March for Life on-campus

Despite not being able to attend this year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., Notre Dame’s Right to Life club still provided prayer, dialogue, and fellowship: the club’s (“marchless”) “March for Life Week 2021” took place from February 8 through February 12.

On Monday, ND RTL hosted a Mass in the basilica to honor all the lives lost and affected by abortions, with an apparel sale afterwards. Right to Life Executive Board member Sean Tehan said that “there is no better way to start off a week than with the sacrifice of the Mass.” 

Tehan added: “we believe in a God who does not ignore our prayers and a sacrament that is efficacious for both our salvation and our intentions. Offering a Mass for the many victims of abortion is simultoneously an amazing witness for our minsitry and the least we can do for those suffering from this hardship.” 

On Tuesday, the club hosted a student panel on the topic “Why We March.” The six panelists spoke about their pro-life stories, how they became involved in the movement, why they “march for life,” and how they live that out in their day-to-day lives. 

Tehan, who was also a panelist, said that “the event was a huge hit,” calling the other panel members “awesome” and “enthusiastic” and their stories “incredibly moving.” 

“Hearing how the pro-life movement touches so many lives and personally affects individuals,” he said, provided a “great reminder of why we fight for life.” 

The panel drew in a sizable crowd into Debartolo 136 with the added benefit of free stickers and great conversations after the panel.

In an attempt to include students who are not club members, Right to Life hosted an event called “Pro-Life Tabling” in the Duncan Student Center on Wednesday. From 10 am to 3 pm, members of Right to Life sat at tables adorned with different prompts to spark interactions and engage in civil dialogue with passersby. 

Tehan said that his and other participants’ time at the “table… led to some fruitful conversations about a variety of topics and many sign-ups for our club,” adding that the event provided a “good mixture” of dialogue and recruitment because it allowed members to communicate their mission to the larger Notre Dame community. Tehan mentioned a “great” conversation with an individual “who was genuinely curious about [the club’s] mission” as an example of “successful dialogue”; both parties, he asserted, left the conversation with “ideas to ponder.”

Replacing the actual march in Washington, the club sponsored a prayer service at the grotto with Father Pete on Thursday. The “Rosary for Life” club reflected on the Luminous Mysteries, praying for all the unborn, all mothers considering abortions, all those who have been involved in administration of abortions, the fathers affected by abortions, and all public officials involved in the legislative process regarding abortion laws. Despite the freezing cold temperatures, the event brought out large numbers of pro-lifers seeking to offer prayers for the cause. Sean Tehan characterized the events as a “very successful illustration of our mission,” expressing gratitude for club members’ devotion and willingness to “seek change even in the remotest and coldest of circumstances.” 

To finish the week, Right to Life held a club meeting in the Carey Auditorium on Friday afternoon. As Tehan explained, members (and prospective members) were able to “[come] together in fellowship to learn more about what [the] club is doing and how they can be involved.” The event also featured presentations from board members and Insomnia cookies.

Of course, this week is only the first of several to be hosted by Right to Life this semester. Future event series include “You Are Loved” week, which starts on March 21, and “Open Wide Our Hearts” week beginning in April, during which the club will seek to address racial justice issues. 

Nia is a junior studying in the program of liberal studies with minors in history and journalism, ethics and democracy. She loves running, cooking and watching the New York Giants lose every Sunday. She can be reached at