The Catholic University of America

Jan. 22, 2010

Record Number of CUA Students Join the National March for Life
Nearly 550 Sign Up for Annual Event

  Freshman Joe Kenny prepares for the March.

Nearly 550 Catholic University students signed up to participate in today’s 37th annual March for Life in downtown Washington, D.C.

The energetic crowd of students gathered in CUA’s Caldwell Hall auditorium this morning to sign in and, for those who haven’t participated in past years, to learn the traditional CUA pro-life cheers. (To view a video of CUA students preparing to march, click here.)

“I don’t really have expectations,” said freshman Joe Kenny, an architecture major from Bethesda, Md. “I have a feeling it will be a fun and interesting experience to see all the energy people have” for the cause.

Kenny said these words before the groups in the auditorium erupted in shouts of “Your mom!” — to which other students answered “chose life.”

At the student gathering before the march, Rev. Robert Schlageter, O.F.M. Conv., university chaplain and director of campus ministry, noted how much student participation in the march has increased over the last 12 years. For many years, approximately 200 students participated, but the past several years he has seen numbers increase by about 100 students each year.

This year’s event marks the last time Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., will march with the CUA students as university president (his tenure ends this summer).

Father O'Connell in Caldwell Hall
“Something that is very important to his heart is the pro-life movement on our campus,” Father Schlageter said about Father O’Connell. “It has been an incredible success because of his support.”

Since Father O’Connell became president, students have been able to receive an excused absence for classes on the day of the march if they sign in with Campus Ministry before leaving CUA and again when they arrive downtown.

“I am so very proud of this university and the students here,” Father O’Connell told the group. “The things I will take with me as I leave the university are moments like this. It’s your commitment to issues like this that I’ll never forget.”

Freshman politics major Molly Lovell from Amesbury, Mass., chose to participate in the march for the first time this year because she supports political activism and believes that abortion is unconstitutional.

  Students crossing campus on their way to the March for Life
“I’m excited that a huge mass of young people is getting out to support something they believe in,” she said.

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.