"It's the generation that should be ‘pro-abortion for education and culture," he said of the youthful turnout. "In reality, it is ‘anti-abortion’ and it is expressing itself in occasions like this one."
The march was just a part of activities this weekend in Rome. A day earlier, the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum university hosted a day-long congress under the theme "Whoever saves one life, saves the entire world." Following the congress, Cardinal Burke led Eucharistic Adoration at the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
As the capital city of Italy, protests are commonplace in Rome. For many, a pro-life march was a long time coming.
Famiglia Domani (Family Tomorrow) leader Prof. Roberto De Mattei said the march is "very important" because "it is the first time in Italy that there has been such an important demonstration for life and against abortion" since the abortion law of 1978.
At least five million abortions have been carried out since Italy's Law no. 194 was passed.
A man who identified himself as Vito of Vicenza, Italy's Con Cristo per la Vita (With Christ for Life) group was among the day's marchers. Along with other members of the association, he leads weekly prayers in front of 50 abortion hospitals across the country. The nation, he said, needs to be more aware of the problem of abortion.
"In Europe, it is said that this is a 'social achievement,'" said Vito. "It's actually its greatest shame. I give a big welcome to these protests. Let's do everything we can to give testimony to life, to give a future to Italy and Europe."
Organizers told CNA that they hope to make the Rome edition of the March for Life an annual event. In the future, however, it could be held on March 25, exactly nine months before Christmas, when Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation.