For the fourth time in its 34 year history, Christendom College has been selected to lead the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., carrying the main March for Life banner and flags. And, as has become an annual tradition, the entire student body will attend the pro-life event.
“This is a great honor for us as a college,” says Admissions Director Tom McFadden. “We have been canceling classes on the day of the March every year since our founding in 1977, and traveling as an entire college community to witness to life on this tragic day.”
McFadden says that the college is thankful to Miss Nellie Gray and to the entire March for Life organization for selecting them to lead the hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers down the streets of D.C. on January 23.
“We are happy to be of service,” he says.
Christendom students led the March for Life in 1984, 1998, and 2009, as well.
“I love the fact that our school closes for the March and we all caravan together to DC,” says Kelsey McCrum, a senior and President of Students for Life. “In a very tangible way the college community is able to experience fighting for life together.”
McCrum believes that the March is an important witness to the nation demonstrating the resolve of the pro-life movement.
“We will not remain silent while killing is legal in our country,” she says.
She also notes that the March is important for pro-lifers themselves.
“It is so encouraging each year to go and see thousands upon thousands of pro-lifers fill the city of DC. We know we are not alone and it gives motivation to the attendees to continue the pro-life work that we do in our respective cities,” McCrum says.
Meanwhile, just before midnight on January 22, over 400 Franciscan University of Steubenville students will load onto buses bound for Washington, D.C. to participate in the 39th annual March for Life. They will be joined by hundreds of independently traveling Franciscan students and alumni in the Capitol.
“The number that travel to D.C. by bus is small compared to the number who drive themselves,” said Victor Bermudez, president of Franciscan’s chapter of Students for Life. “We will be one of the most represented schools in the nation.”
Many of those affiliated to the University will wear light blue shirts with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
For the first time, Franciscan University students will attend the Youth Rally and Mass for Life Monday morning at the Verizon Center; the 7:00 a.m. rally will feature popular musicians Jackie Francois, and Jacob and Matthew Band. Confessions, the Rosary, and the Mass for Life will follow the rally. The main celebrant will be Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C.; Monsignor Charles Pope, also from the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., will give the homily.
Following Mass, Franciscan University students and alumni will join an expected 200,000 pro-lifers at the National Mall for speeches and the march to their final destination—the location of the landmark 1973 decision to pass Roe v. Wade—the Supreme Court.
Jessica Foti, vice president of Franciscan University’s Students for Life club, hopes that students will “bring what they learn back to campus” when they return Monday night.
Prior to participating in Monday’s events, a group of 40 Franciscan students will travel to D.C. Saturday afternoon. They will attend the Official March for Life Youth Rally Saturday evening at the Hyatt Regency Washington D.C. Bryan Kemper, an internationally known speaker who was recently named Youth Outreach Director at Priests for Life, will host the evening. On Sunday, the students will attend the Students for Life of America National Conference, which will feature over 20 speakers. The group will join the hundreds of additional members of the Franciscan University community Monday morning at the Verizon Center.
Bob Rice, an assistant professor of catechetics at Franciscan University will also represent the University. Rice will perform music at the “Life Is Very Good” pro-life rally on Sunday night in Arlington, Virginia.; Matt Maher and Audrey Assad will also perform.
The theme of this year’s March is “Unite on the Life Principles to Overturn Roe v. Wade and, With Love, Protect Mothers and Preborn Children. No Exception! No Compromise!” The “life principles” refer to a comprehensive statement of the position motivating the pro-life movement and serve as the basis for pro-life moral and legal theory by which the American people can overturn Roe v. Wade.