Washington D.C., Jan 24, 2013 / 17:02 pm
Catholic colleges and universities will be well-represented at this year's March for Life, according to announcements by pro-life campus groups across the country.
"When you see thousands of pro-life youth flooding stadiums, churches, and streets of Washington, D.C., it gives you hope," said Grace Daigler, vice president of Franciscan University of Steubenville's Students for Life organization.
Located in Ohio, the university will be sending some 800 students to the 2013 March for Life in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 25.
"More than ever before it is important for Americans to see that those committed to life are not discouraged or demoralized in the fight for life," said university president Father Terence Henry, TOR, in a statement.
Franciscan University will cancel its classes on the day of the march, along with Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., which will be sending its entire student body to participate in the event.
Charter buses will transport more than 400 people from Christendom's campus to the nation's capital. The college community has attended the march together every year since the school's founding 35 years ago.
The March for Life – now in its 40th year – marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout the country.
While the annual march is usually held on Jan. 22, marking the date of the 1973 ruling, it was moved this year to Jan. 25 due to the presidential inauguration on Jan. 21.
Several colleges have confirmed that they are sending record-breaking groups to attend what some have speculated may be the biggest March for Life in the nation's history.
Nearly one in five students from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., will be attending the March for Life this year.
Seven buses carrying almost 400 students departed from the college on Jan. 23 for a 30-hour bus ride to Washington, D.C.
Abbot James Albers, OSB, from St. Benedict's Abbey, said that the college's attendance has grown exponentially from when he was a student in the early 1990s, when no more than a few dozen students would attend.
Benedictine student Michael Green, march coordinator for the school's Respect Life group, explained that the national event is part of the pro-life organization's "important mission."
"We don't go just because it's some fun trip with our friends," he said. "We go to show the leaders of our country what we stand for; that is, the dignity of all people from conception to natural death."
A group of about 60 students from the University of Notre Dame's Right to Life club will lead the 2013 march, and the school is expecting one of its largest turnouts.
According to a statement released by the university, some 350 students, faculty and staff attended last year's march. This year, more than 600 people from the school have registered to attend.
Jen Gallic, president of Notre Dame Right to Life, described the march as "a visible witness to the love and support for the most vulnerable."
"It's an amazing witness to the passion and sheer size of the pro-life movement, and it's such an honor to be asked to lead all those dedicated to upholding the dignity of every life," she said.
Representatives from Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio, and Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn., also told CNA that they are sending student groups to the march.
Located in Washington, D.C., The Catholic University of America is just miles away from the march route.
Students will be excused from class if they participate in the march, and more than 500 are expected to attend, an associate campus minister said.
In addition, the university will be hosting pilgrims overnight on Jan. 24. More than 1200 travelers from across the country will be able to stay at the school's athletic facilities at no cost, making the trip affordable for many college students.