Students March for Life in Washington
Amanda Gray | Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Junior Veronica Stafford said the March for Life in Washington, D.C., represents the power of people coming together to show their support of one specific cause — in this case, the repeal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling on abortion.
Stafford, along with other Notre Dame students, made the trip to Washington, D.C., over the weekend to show support in the repeal of the ruling in the annual march that brings together groups from all over the nation.
Between 380 and 390 students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross attended the March held Monday, junior Kyle Clark said. Clark is the co-commissioner of the trip to the March For Life through Notre Dame’s Right to Life club (RTL).
“It would be easy to just talk about pro-life issues. It’s altogether different to actually stand and walk outside in freezing temperatures for hours,” he said. “The March is a way for all of us here at Notre Dame, particularly in RTL, to stand together and proudly stand up for the basic right to life that is guaranteed in our nation’s founding documents but more importantly is a hallmark of our Catholic heritage.”
In this sense, the March fits perfectly with Notre Dame and its mission, Clark said.
“As a Catholic institution, we have to stand up and expose the injustice of abortion, and there is no better way to do that than to travel and express that in the nation’s capital,” he said.
Stafford said groups at the March join together in praying the Rosary, cheering and singing.
“RTL offers the opportunity for students to cooperate and march to prove through their actions that they value all human life, no matter how small,” she said. “I love to see all of the groups on the March for Life interact, especially all of the university groups from across the country.”
During the weekend of the annual March, Stafford said Washington, D.C., colleges hold open panels and discussions relating to issues of life.
“While exploring the city, several people came up to me and asked about my Notre Dame affiliation and commended me on participating,” she said. “Even on the bus, the driver took time to thank us for supporting a cause that he believed worthwhile.”
The March for Life has been held since 1974, and this year marked the 38th March, according to Clark.
“For the past two years we have been honored and grateful to have University President Fr. John Jenkins march with Notre Dame students,” he said. “His commitment to the pro-life cause is, in my opinion, beyond reproach, and his presence demonstrates that.”
Students attending the March had several options on transportation and lodging, Clark said. The longer trip option, which put students in Washington, D.C., from Friday to Tuesday, cost $60, while the shorter, Sunday to Tuesday trip cost $45.
“Chris [Stare, junior and co-commissioner] and I began organizing the March back in early October. It’s a huge undertaking,” he said. “… At times the organizational aspect of it could get to be quite a headache, but of course it is worth it in the end. We were fortunate this year to have been provided funding that allowed us to lower costs for students.”
Junior Ashley Logsdon said this was her sixth time at the March for Life, which she has previously attended with her family.
“I think that the March for Life fits in perfectly with the standards that Notre Dame upholds as a Catholic institution — the witness of so many Notre Dame students, staff and faculty at the March for Life is truly amazing,” she said. “I don’t think anything less than this witness should be expected of such a great Catholic University.”
A highlight for many attendees was the Mass celebrated by Fr. Jenkins and the other Holy Cross priests that traveled to the March at St. Agnes’ Parish in Arlington, Va., Logsdon said.
“It was such a beautiful moment of solidarity as we prayed together as a community and prepared ourselves for the climax of our pilgrimage,” she said.
Stafford said after Mass, the group traveled to Washington, D.C., by the Metro to the National Mall to listen to speakers.
“Once the March begins, everyone funnels slowly onto the street to march up to the Supreme Court building and the conclusion of the March,” she said. “While I cannot attend every event offered, the general experience of the weekend makes me both proud to travel with so many other Notre Dame students and also to support my beliefs.”