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Student group celebrates national “Respect Life” month with week of events

| Tuesday, October 3, 2017

This week, the Notre Dame Right to Life club is celebrating Respect Life week, a part of National Respect Life Month. The week began with a rosary for life at the Grotto on Sunday and a booth on South Quad yesterday, where club members sold apparel and answered questions about the club.

The organization chose “Love in Action” as this year’s theme because it represents the positivity and service that the club hopes to share with Notre Dame students throughout the week, senior Sarah Drumm, president of Notre Dame Right to Life, said.

“The purpose of our club is to promote the dignity of all human life and to show love to these people, to all people, but particularly the most vulnerable in society. Therefore we picked ‘Love in Action,’” Drumm said. “That’s what these events are. They’re taking the love that we have for these groups of people and putting it in action, either talking about it or doing something about it: card making, making blankets for hospice care, having a dance party with Hannah and Friends, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with special needs. [They’re] tangible ways to show your love to other people.”

Sophomore Jack Ferguson, vice president of campus involvement of Notre Dame Right to Life, said that that club has been planning the week since July.

Ferguson said the Human Dignity Service Fair on Tuesday, co-sponsored by student government, is a great event for students who want to get involved with a service opportunity. ND Right to Life service commissioners — including groups that work with the homeless and pregnancy help centers — will be in attendance, as well as other clubs presenting service opportunities.

Wednesday, the club will host a blanket and card making activity for people in hospice from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. in the Gold Room of LaFortune Student Center. Afterwards, the group will hold the next segment of their semester long “Pro-Life Vision of the World” panel, which will feature Jess Keating from the Institute for Church Life speaking on pro-life feminism, Andrea Verteramo and Mary Ball from the Holy Family Adoption Agency speaking on adoption and Aly Cox from the Center for Ethics and Culture on bioethics.

“They approach it from many different disciplines and faculty: theology, philosophy, from a feminist approach, from an environmental approach, with respect to things like war and poverty,” Ferguson said.

The club will hold their annual rose garden memorial on South Quad on Thursday, Ferguson said.

“It’s a memorial to all those lives lost, particularly through abortion, but any major life issues: the death penalty, euthanasia, suicide, civil war strife, persecution in the Middle East or in South America,” Ferguson said. “It will conclude with a prayer service on Friday morning.”

Last year, the rose garden memorial was vandalized overnight, an event the group views as an opportunity to promote more civil dialogue with other groups on campus, Ferguson said.

“We took it as an opportunity to respond with love and positivity and rise above the occasion,” Ferguson said.

Thursday evening, the club will host keystone speaker Lila Rose, an outspoken critic of abortion and founder of Live Action at 7 p.m. in the Carey Auditorium for a speech called “Transforming the Abortion Debate.” The club is expecting a large turnout, Ferguson said.

The week will come to a close with Lifefest on Friday, an event organized by the Joys of Life commission of the Right to Life club, which will be held on North Quad from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., and a dance party with Hannah and Friends on Saturday from 5:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The festivities will include food, inflatables and games. All students and faculty are invited, as well as members from the South Bend community.

“Essentially what the Joys of Life part of our club does is they just celebrate life,” Drumm said. “I think that that can often be forgotten in the pro-life movement. We’re always fighting so hard for different groups of vulnerable people, but this aspect of celebrating life and remembering that life is a gift and remembering why we’re fighting is important.”

Notre Dame Right to Life encourages all students to attend the Respect Life Week events, even if they have no affiliation with the club.

“Everyone on this campus, there’s something about this club that they would like,” Drumm said. “We do so many things on campus with so many different groups of people. We have so many service commissions, so many opportunities for discussion or prayer or volunteering to help other people. We want to reach as many people as possible. Even if you disagree with us on one or two issues, there’s still something here for you.”

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