[CUA Office of Public Affairs]   



Jan. 24, 2005


Catholic University to Host 1,500 Pro-Life March Participants


Catholic University will house 1,500 pro-life supporters who include high school students and others from around the country for the 32nd Annual March for Life Monday, Jan. 24, in Washington, D.C. Prior to the march CUA will host a symposium exploring the impact of abortion on women’s lives.


The Rev. Robert Schlageter, O.F.M., director of Campus Ministry, leads students in the 2005 Annual March for Life.

The number of CUA students participating in the march is expected to increase from last year’s total of 218 to about 250, according to Lauren Heckman, associate campus minister for women’s issues and social justice.


“Students for Life has its highest membership in recent years,” says Heckman, “and the university's yearly support for this event leads to a culture of life that encourages students to act on their convictions. Marching as a community has become a tradition at CUA because of these efforts.”    


The march, which marks the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, draws hundreds of thousands of people to downtown Washington. It starts at the Ellipse near the White House and winds its way to the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court buildings.


As in previous years, out-of-town high school students and their parents or youth group chaperones will stay at the university’s Raymond A. DuFour (athletic) Center and the Eugene I. Kane Student Health and Fitness Center the night before the march. CUA students also will volunteer as chaperones at the respective centers. More than 400 march participants are expected to stay in Memorial Hall at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.


On Friday, Jan. 21, CUA will host a symposium entitled “The Cost of ‘Choice’: Understanding the Toll of Abortion on Women’s Lives” at the Columbus School of Law. Scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m., the symposium — sponsored by Americans United for Life, Feminists for Life, Encounter Books and the law school’s Advocates for Life — will feature a panel discussion involving several contributors to “The Cost of “Choice”: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion,” a new collection of essays by women outlining the medical, psychological, social and cultural impact of abortion-on-demand.


CUA students who are involved in preparations for the march say the event is an opportunity to reaffirm their belief that abortion is wrong and that changing it is possible through prayer and trust in God.

Father David O’Connell, C.M., university president marches with CUA students.


Danielle Fusco, a junior from Queens, New York, and president of the CUA chapter of Students for Life, says “the spirit of community at the march fills me up and gives me the energy to keep going with our pro-life efforts throughout the year. It’s amazing to be with so many people who believe that only when abortion is eliminated can women be treated with full respect.”


In previous years, Therese Thomas, a freshman theology and religious studies major, has been at the march with her mother and siblings, who include six brothers and three sisters. This year she’s especially excited about the event because she’ll work as an overnight chaperone at the DuFour Center as well as participate in the march.


Thomas, who is from Worcester, Mass., says that in prior years she’d walk up the steps of the Basilica on the morning of the march, look over at the adjacent CUA campus and hope that one day she’d be a student there. Thomas says she’s hopeful that the event “will have impact on [U.S.] senators looking out their windows” the day of the march.


The evening before the march the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Basilica and CUA will co-sponsor the National Prayer Vigil for Life. The vigil, which will be held at the Basilica, will include Mass at 8 p.m., praying of the rosary at 10:30 p.m. and night prayer celebrated in accordance with the Byzantine Liturgy at 11:30 p.m.


Cardinal William Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore and chairman of the Catholic bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, will celebrate the Mass in the Great Upper Church. Numerous other bishops and priests will concelebrate the Mass, which is expected to draw a standing-room-only crowd. About 20 CUA students will serve as ushers at the Mass.


At the DuFour Center that night, praise and worship will be held from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and confessions will be heard from 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Confessions also will be heard from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Basilica. All-night adoration will take place until 6 a.m. benediction at both the DuFour Center and the Basilica.


Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, D.C., will celebrate Mass at 7:30 a.m. in the Great Upper Church on the day of the march, which begins with a noon rally at the Ellipse in downtown Washington.


CUA students can register for the march online at http://ministry.cua.edu/. For more information about Students for Life, click on http://prolife.cua.edu/. For additional information about the law school symposium, e-mail dan@aul.org.  






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Revised: 2/9/2005

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The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.