The Catholic University of America

Jan. 16, 2008

CUA to Welcome More than 1,600 Young Pro-Life Marchers

CUA students take part in the 2007 March for Life
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Catholic University will welcome more than 1,600 young people and their chaperones to campus on Monday, Jan. 21, the eve of the 35th Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. The young people will spend the night sleeping on the floor before joining the march downtown the next day. CUA has organized this sleepover for high school students for more than a dozen years.

The Office of Campus Ministry has recruited approximately 175 CUA student volunteers to help register the visiting groups, serve as ushers at the National Prayer Vigil for Life on Jan. 21 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and spend the night in the Raymond A DuFour [Athletic] Center to help supervise the visiting teens.

"I am awed by the number of students and offices who offer their time and energy to prepare and coordinate pro-life hospitality on campus," said Erin Craine, associate campus minister for women's issues and social justice. "The opportunity to have so many people devoted to the culture of life in one place is truly a blessing for our students and for CUA."

Almost 1,200 youths will camp out on the floor of the DuFour Center and 450 will stay in Memorial Hall at the National Shrine. Craine said the campus was fully booked for this year's events by May of 2007.

Last year, approximately 275 CUA students marched with the group organized by Campus Ministry. Craine hopes that this year the group will reach 300.

"Throughout the year, so many of our students seek to educate and advocate for life," Craine says. "The March for Life presents another beautiful opportunity to do this."

Jonathan Jerome, a sophomore theology major from Charlotte, N.C., says he has never experienced an event that brought together as many people as the March for Life does at CUA. Last year he volunteered to welcome visitors to campus and help register them. He also volunteered in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center on the morning of the march, helping visitors get breakfast.

"To say the least, it's incredible that such a large group of young people can join their voices - it's uplifting and encouraging for me," Jerome says. This year, he will also take part in the march, which he regrets missing last year.

Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., university president, has been invited to the White House the morning of Jan. 22 for a breakfast with President George W. Bush and pro-life leaders.

The annual March for Life, which marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, begins at the National Mall and winds around the U.S. Capitol to the Supreme Court building. Each year it draws hundreds of thousands of people to downtown Washington.

The evening before the march, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Shrine and CUA will co-sponsor the National Prayer Vigil for Life. Mass will be celebrated in the Great Upper Church at 7 p.m. by Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia who is chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities. (NOTE: The Mass is beginning one hour earlier than in previous years.)

Following the Vigil Mass, there will be praise and worship at the DuFour Center at 11 p.m. Confessions will be heard there from 10:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. and the rosary will be prayed at 12:30 a.m.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, will celebrate Mass at the National Shrine at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 22 before participants head downtown for the march, which begins with a rally on the National Mall.

CUA students can register for the march online at http://ministry.cua.edu/.

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