In May the Fund to Protect Human Life was used to support the efforts of the undergraduate Right to Life club as it participated in NDResponse, the student coalition that united to affirm that Catholic identity of Notre Dame amidst the commencement controversy. During commencement weekend, NDResponse hosted a number of prayerful, respectful, and peaceful activities, all in celebration of the dignity of human life. On Sunday afternoon, approximately 3000 people gathered for an outdoor Mass and rally on South Quad. Speeches were given by:
• Fr. Bill Miscamble, CSC, ND ’77 (M.A.), ’80 (Ph.D.), ’87 (M.Div.), Professor of History at University of Notre Dame.
• Chris Godfrey, ND Law ’93; Life Athletes (Founder and President), starting offensive guard for Super Bowl XXI Champion New York Giants.
• Elizabeth Naquin Borger, ND ’78, Former Chairman of the Board of the Women’s Care Center.
• Lacy Dodd, ND ’99; Room at the Inn, Board of Directors, Charlotte, NC.
• Fr. John Raphael, SSJ, ND ’89, Principal of St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, LA.
• David Solomon, Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of Notre Dame; W.P. and H.B. White Director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture; Chair of the steering committee for the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life.
Bishop John M. D’Arcy, who declined to attend the University’s official graduation ceremony, chose to join the rally hosted by NDResponse students and publicly thanked the coalition’s students for their constructive and respectful witness, calling them “heroes.” Following Sunday’s rally, nearly 40 graduates who had decided to boycott their own commencement ceremony gathered in the University’s Grotto for a prayer vigil and to listen to a meditation given by Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. These students were joined at this vigil by over 800 people, including their parents, siblings, and families.