Delegates travel to Pasadena to attend Walk4Life
On a cloudy Sunday afternoon broken by southern California sunshine, over 6,000 people gathered outside the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California to hear Archbishop Josè Gomez of Los Angeles open the first-time “Walk4Life – SoCal” with a welcome and prayer.
“Archbishop Gomez noted that Jesus Christ spent nine months in the womb before being born,” recalled Fr. Bill Miscamble, CSC, Notre Dame professor of history and president of the University Faculty for Life chapter at Notre Dame.
“(Archbishop Gomez) explained that Jesus did this ‘to show that human life is sacred, to show that every life is precious to God,’’’ Fr. Miscamble continued, noting that the archbishop also affirmed that “all life is sacred from conception to natural death.”
Fr. Miscamble and Angela Pfister, assistant director at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, both represented the Center for Ethics and Culture and the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life at the event. They were joined by Notre Dame junior and THE IRISH ROVER editor-in-chief Gabby Speach.
The archbishop’s opening address marked the beginning of the day’s activities, which ran from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM on March 27. Following his remarks, many in the crowd embarked on a 2.5 mile walk that circled around and near the Rose Bowl Stadium. As part of the festive atmosphere, a KidZone area offered a bounce house, face-painting, games, and prizes for young children in attendance who were unable to make the walk. Live music kept the crowd energized throughout the day.
There was also an area designated for universities and other institutions to set up informational booths for their pro-life efforts. The Notre Dame contingent was able to represent the university’s pro-life initiatives, including Project Guadalupe, a new, three-part pro-life interdisciplinary educational program administrated by the Center for Ethics and Culture that is intended to train future generations of pro-life leaders.
Even though Fr. Miscamble, Pfister, and Speach were far from home, Pfister reported that the Notre Dame contingent’s attendance was “specifically announced by the Walk4Life’s master of ceremonies, when he recognized different groups that were present at the walk.” Fr. Miscamble added that he met “a number of Notre Dame grads at the rally and they were pleased and encouraged that folk from the University had traveled west to participate.”
Apart from the walk, the three representatives spent the weekend meeting other Notre Dame alumni, parents, and friends in various settings.
Fr. Miscamble explained that the Walk4Life “began at the initiative of high school students who wanted to make their prolife convictions publicly known.” These students hoped to host a pro-life event similar to the annual March for Life held in Washington, DC. Many area parishes and high schools were represented by large groups at the walk.
The students organized and promoted the walk out of a desire to witness publicly to the pro-life cause. Pfister commented, “It was moving and inspiring to see that the efforts of high school and college students brought together over 6,000 people to give a dynamic witness to the sanctity of human life.”
Pfister further described the walk as a celebration rather than a protest.
“The young people who started the Walk4Life wanted to have a positive witness that life is for everyone, not through protest, but through a celebratory event,” she said.
Speach, the chair of the Notre Dame Right to Life club’s Spring Lecture Series, echoed Pfister’s remarks. “A huge number of high school students and even local college students attended. The marchers were extremely upbeat and excited to be there,” she said. “The effort to build a culture of life has to come from our generation and I think it already is. These demonstrations drive home the importance of the issue.”
After attendants completed the walk, several speakers encouraged those present to persist in their efforts to build a culture of life. One of the speakers was Lila Rose, a recent graduate of UCLA and the president of the pro-life group Live Action, which recently exposed Planned Parenthood’s illegal treatment of minors. The signature slogan “Life Guard” was branded across the t-shirts sold at the walk. Proceeds benefited Southern California Pregnancy Help Centers and other pro-life organizations and ministries.
Fr. Miscamble, Pfister, and Speach agreed that it is important for Notre Dame to be very active in the pro-life movement.
“Notre Dame can and must be a place that encourages and links with prolife efforts across the country, ” Fr. Miscamble maintains, “because the right to life battle is the foundational human rights struggle of our time.”
Mike Bradley is a freshman resident of Dillon Hall who has an unfortunate penchant for the term “sassy.” Contact him at email@example.com.