Once again, this year, the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life supported students, faculty and staff who traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the annual March for Life. Immediately before the March itself, there is always a Rally for Life on the Capitol Mall and many legislators and other public figures are invited to give short remarks on the occasion. This year, our bishop, John D’Arcy, was invited to give the closing blessing to the hundreds of thousands of marchers gathered on the Mall. Up until that point, the day had been bleak, overcast, blustery and rainy. And, yet, at the moment Bishop D’Arcy began to bless the crowd, the sun burst out from the clouds and it was as if the heavens smiled down upon those gathered to witness to the beauty and dignity of life. Over 365 Notre Dame students registered to attend the March and almost 40 faculty and staff attended, including President Fr. John Jenkins. A record year on all fronts! The Fund helped to defray the travel expenses for over 20 faculty/staff attendees, many of whom could not have made the trip without the financial assistance. Our combined witness at the March for Life was a powerful reminder to the culture that we intend to keep fighting on behalf of the unborn and to support pregnant women, and we hope that the fellowship experienced by all of us on the March will help continue to build a vibrant culture of life on campus.
This year, there were also many new activities associated with the March for Life, coordinated by the undergraduate Right to Life group with the support and assistance of the Task Force, the Fund and numerous other campus entities and organizations:
•A send-off Mass for all the students traveling to Washington, D.C. took place on Tuesday, January 19th, in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Our new diocesan ordinary, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, and Bishop Emeritus John D’Arcy concelebrated the Mass.
•On the morning of the March, Notre Dame participants attended a Mass at St. Agnes Catholic Church, in Arlington, Va. Fr. Jenkins presided at this Mass and many other priests concelebrated the Mass with him.
•Following the March, the Notre Dame Alumni Association hosted a reception for all members of the Notre Dame community at the Smith & Wollensky restaurant, Washington, D.C.
•The day after the March, the Notre Dame contingent joined high school and college students from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend for Mass at St. Ann's in Arlington, VA. Bishop Rhoades was the homilist and main celebrant, and Bishop D'Arcy concelebrated the Mass.