Jan. 11, 2002
Catholic University students will once again play a major role in this month’s March for Life, a peaceful pro-life march held each year in downtown Washington, D.C., that draws tens of thousands of participants.
CUA students participate in the 2001 March for Life.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and CUA are co-sponsoring the Jan. 21 National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica on the eve of the march.
Nearly 200 Catholic University students have already registered to take part in the Jan. 22 march and help chaperone about 1,500 high school students from across the country who will stay at the CUA campus overnight before the event. Last year, about 170 CUA students took part in the march.
More CUA students are expected to sign up for the peaceful march that begins at the White House and winds its way to the Capitol building, said Therese Bermpohl, CUA’s associate minister for community service, who is coordinating the university’s involvement in the event.
“It’s a chance for them to march together, to stand for something that is fundamental to their lives,” Ms. Bermpohl said. “Being able to stand up for life is something they can get excited about.”
Just as it did last year, CUA is hosting about 1,500 of the anticipated 1,800 high school students and other “pilgrims” who will camp out on the night of Jan. 21 inside the Raymond A. DuFour (athletic) Center and at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Catholic University students who signed up to help will chaperone the students that night to make sure they stay in their assigned sleeping areas following the 1 a.m. curfew, Ms. Bermpohl said. Additionally, some CUA students will serve as ushers at the 8 p.m. vigil Mass on Jan. 21 at the Basilica, which will be celebrated by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, archbishop of Philadelphia and chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ for Pro-Life Activities. Numerous other bishops and priests will concelebrate the Mass, which is expected to draw a standing-room-only crowd.
Following the Mass, those staying on the CUA campus are encouraged to take part in several pre-march activities, including praise and worship from 11:30 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. in the DuFour Center. A rosary will be held at 10:30 p.m. in the Basilica’s Crypt Church, and at 11:30 there will be a night prayer celebrated in accordance with the Byzantine Liturgy, also in the Basilica.
Confessions will be heard from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Basilica, and from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the DuFour Center.
All-night adorations will take place until the 6 a.m. benediction in both the DuFour Center and the Basilica.
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop of Washington and chancellor of the university, will celebrate Mass at the Basilica at 7:30 a.m. on the day of the march. Afterwards, participants will ride the Metro to the Ellipse near the White House, where they will join tens of thousands of other pro-life supporters.
“So frequently, [young people] feel the media portrays pro-lifers as these radical right-wing older people, whereas the majority of pro-lifers are young,” Ms. Bermpohl said. “This is a chance for them to get their faces out there.”
Revised: March 27, 2001
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