Programming exemplifies Catholic values

Notre Dame Right to Life held its annual Respect Life Week, themed “Be Not Afraid: You Are Not Alone”. The week began Sunday, September 25th with the 10:00 am Basilica Mass and brunch. After the meal, Right to Life began a 24-hour Rosary Rally at the Grotto.

With over 700 members, Notre Dame Right to Life strives to be a foundational pillar supporting and inspiring the Catholic mission at Notre Dame. Lauren Douglas, Vice President of Communications for Right to Life, who also serves as Social Media Coordinator of the Rover, explained that the club hosts two major programming weeks throughout the year, both designed to “build a greater culture of life on Notre Dame’s campus through spirituality, education, service, and community-building events.” 

Rev. Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C. attended the Respect Life Week Mass and explained the importance of Right to Life’s presence on campus and its role in building a culture of life in an interview with the Rover: “It is central to Catholic teaching that we give dignity to every human person; both the born and the unborn. This is a cause that Notre Dame should take leadership in, and it should permeate all aspects of University life.” 

Unlike pro-life clubs at many other universities, Notre Dame Right to Life is confessionally Catholic. In an interview with the Rover, senior and Notre Dame March for Life Coordinator Bridget Arbuckle said,  “You don’t need to be Catholic to be pro-life, but because Right to Life is a Catholic club, we are bolstered by our faith. Instead of just hosting talks and fundraisers, we also offer prayer opportunities, like the Rosary Rally.”

The Rosary Rally proved to be an immediate success: “We invited people from all across campus and ended up praying 185 rosaries in the span of 24 hours. All through the night, we had people praying a Rosary every 20 minutes,” Douglas said.

The Rally was followed by another nine programming events, including an Ask-A-Date Bonfire Festival, a Volunteer Service trip to the Women’s Care Center, and a Candlelight Vigil for the Unborn. 

Peter Nagy, a member of Right to Life who attended the Candlelight Vigil for the Unborn, detailed his experience: “It was beautiful to see so many people that I knew and to be able to reflect on the state of our country, life, the blessing that is my own life, and to be able to come together to pray for our country. ” 

Douglas echoed the values that Right to Life’s programming cultivates at Notre Dame: “there is something really special about this community and their desire to further other peoples’ good in a really tangible way.” During Respect Life Week, Right to Life sent several students to volunteer at the Women’s Care Center, whose website details its mission to “help pregnant women from our communities choose life for their babies, have healthier pregnancies, become better parents, and take first steps to self-sufficiency.”

“For many of us, this is a directive from the church. For others, this is not a religious issue but a life issue. The Church is rightly aligned with [the pro-life movement] because the Church is aligned with truth, and the Church—as a truth-telling body—has called us to protect life,” Douglas stated.

Merlot Fogarty, the President of Right to Life, emphasized the club’s inherently Catholic values and the importance of providing a forum for students to stand up for pro-life values: 

“The Catholic identity of our club is important in that we recognize that we aren’t merely fighting a political or cultural battle, but a spiritual battle as well. We packed our week full of spirituality events, with new initiatives like the 24-hour rosary rally, in an attempt to remind our members of the importance of prayer in the movement. We wouldn’t be where we are today with Roe overturned if it weren’t for the fifty years of prayerful pro-life presence,” she said. 

The pro-life movement is deeply ingrained with Catholic values. Douglas expressed that this connection is especially important for pro-life advocacy on Notre Dame’s campus: “We recognize that prayer, above all, is what is going to end abortion. No matter how hard we work, we know as Catholics that these matters are ultimately in God’s hands.”

More information about Notre Dame Right to Life’s core mission and future events can be accessed via the Right to Life website. To stay updated, sign up for the club’s weekly newsletter and follow @NDRightToLife on Twitter and Instagram

Ellie Knapp is a sophomore from The Last Frontier studying Finance and the Program of Liberal Studies. On any given day of the week, you can find her zealously spending flex points at Modern Market and avoiding her ever-increasing pile of homework. Help her procrastinate at

Photo Credit: Notre Dame Right to Life