Week’s programming focuses on adoption topics

Notre Dame Right to Life (RtL) held its annual “You Are Loved” (YAL) Week during the week of April 7, 2024.  The week, according to RtL’s website, “center[s] on the idea that each person is loved and uniquely made and valued.” This year’s theme was “For we are God’s Handiwork,” based on a quotation from Ephesians 2:10. 

RtL president Kylie Gallegos told the Rover, “This year we chose [the theme] to express how each person is crafted intentionally by God. The idea behind ‘You Are Loved’ is to express the dignity of each individual person, especially at Notre Dame. It isn’t necessarily focused on abortion; rather, we focus on how everyone is loved and that should include the unborn.

YAL week began with an Annunciation Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, celebrated by Fr. Terry Ehrman, the RtL chaplain. 

Tuesday’s events included coffee and donuts with the club and tabling on adoption, during which club members answered questions from passers-by. Theo Austin, RtL Director of Education, remarked, “Our tabling was such a joy because we were able to spend time in the sunlight and share the truth about adoption with our Notre Dame community. It was truly inspiring to be able to dispel the lies about adoption—that children are unwanted and poorly treated.”

Austin continued, “Adoption is primarily a service of love to mend the brokenness for families, and our tabling was a fun way to spread that message in preparation for the adoption panel the following evening.”

On Tuesday, RtL co-sponsored an “Adoption 101” panel with Students for Child-Oriented Policy. The panel included a series of testimonies given by an adopted woman, women who placed their children for adoption, and a family who adopted a special needs child. 

One attendee of the panel told the Rover, “The adoption panel was one of the most beautiful witnesses I had seen all semester. In short, adoption is love. Everyone involved is dealing with some form of brokenness, be it infertility, drug addiction, inability to care for a child, etc. But adoption brings great fruit from this brokenness and elevates it in love to form beautiful families and relationships. I previously did not have much exposure to adoption, but this talk illuminated its beauty for me and helped me to understand the hearts which adoption touches.”

Gallegos explained this year’s focus on adoption topics: “Adoption is an important part of the conversation surrounding abortion because it is so often not seen as a live option for women with unplanned pregnancies. The loss of a child through adoption is seen as worse than the loss of a child through abortion.” 

Gallegos continued, “We wanted to take the opportunity of this YAL week to dispel some of the myths surrounding adoption and show how beautiful and sacrificial it is to all three parties: the biological mother, adoptive family, and child.”

On Friday, club members set up a rose garden on South Quad to “commemorate the millions of lives lost to abortion since 1972.” 

Gallegos remarked: “The rose garden is one of my favorite demonstrations RtL does because it expresses both the beauty and loss of unborn lives. We opt for the roses and not the cemetery because the beauty of the roses signifies how precious life is and it stands as a memorial of what has been lost. The Knights of Columbus guard the rose garden and they said there was only one unhappy person, but other than that, it always seems to be a peaceful display.”

YAL week concluded with an “SYRtL”-themed bonfire on Holy Cross Hill.

Last year’s YAL Week was themed “Imago Dei: You are made in the Image of God.”

For their next event, RtL will host Fr. Robert Dowd, C.S.C., the president-elect of the university, to deliver the semester’s Humanae Vitae lecture. The lecture, titled “Recognizing Divine Purpose in Life’s ‘Imperfections,’” will be hosted at 7 p.m. in Hesburgh Library’s Carey Auditorium.

Michael Canady is a sophomore majoring in classics. He recently got a new bike because his old one was giving him trouble. If you’re curious about the bike’s name, you can contact him at mcanady2@nd.edu.

Photo Credit: Notre Dame Right to Life Instagram

Subscribe to the Irish Rover here.

Donate to the Irish Rover here.