The Catholic University of America

Jan. 13, 2009

CUA to Welcome Young Pro-Life Marchers

Rev. Robert Schlageter, O.F.M. Conv., campus chaplain, and CUA students gather at the National Shrine before the 2008 March for Life.

Catholic University is preparing to welcome up to 1,600 young people and their chaperones to campus on Wednesday, Jan. 21. The young people will spend the night sleeping on the floor of CUA's Raymond A. DuFour [Athletic] Center and the memorial hall of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception before taking part in the march downtown the next day.

Visiting groups are coming from Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Vermont.

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.

Due to the overwhelming number of worshipers who have attended the Vigil for Life in past years, overflow Masses have been organized by the United States Conference for Catholic Bishops at CUA and nearby Trinity University.

Last year, more than 300 CUA students participated in the March for Life in downtown Washington, D.C.

Most Rev. William E. Lori, bishop of Bridgeport, chairman of the CUA Board of Trustees and a CUA alumnus, will celebrate Mass for visitors from his diocese and overflow from the National Shrine in CUA's St. Vincent de Paul Chapel at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 21.

The Office of Campus Ministry has recruited CUA student volunteers to help register the visiting groups, serve as ushers at the Vigil for Life on Jan. 21 and spend the night in the DuFour Center to help supervise the visiting teens. CUA has organized this overnight for young people for more than a dozen years.

This year's March for Life on Jan. 22 will occur just two days after President-Elect Barack Obama's inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C.

"I think many of our students are more willing and excited to take part in this because the timing of the event is so close to inauguration," says Erin Craine, associate campus minister for women's issues and social justice.

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.

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.

Bishop Paul S. Loverde, bishop of Arlington, Va., 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


MEDIA: To cover CUA's participation in the 2009 March for Life and National Prayer Vigil for Life, reporters must contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.