Faithful Catholic colleges give witness to the dignity of human life all year long—but this Friday, January 18, will be special. Students, faculty, staff and presidents from colleges recommended in The Newman Guide will be leaders once again at this year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“It would be a tragedy if an institution that spent so much time studying the humanities failed to stand and defend the dignity of all human life,” explained Dr. William Fahey, president of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, N.H. He said that the College’s participation in the March for Life “is intrinsic to our Catholic mission.”
Dr. Fahey is one of several Catholic college presidents who will march against abortion. He will be joined by Ave Maria University President Jim Towey, Belmont Abbey College President Dr. Bill Thierfelder, Benedictine College President Stephen Minnis, Christendom College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell, Franciscan University of Steubenville President Fr. Sean Sheridan, TOR, Northeast Catholic College President Dr. George Harne, University of Mary President Msgr. James Shea, and University of St. Thomas (Houston) President Dr. Richard Ludwick.
Catholic families are grateful for the witness of these presidents and the hundreds of students who join them. These students make great sacrifices—including long bus rides, braving cold temperatures, and sleeping on the floors of church halls—to peacefully protest abortion.
“It pains me to know that there were babies who were not able to take their first breath. Babies who were not able to say their first words or take their first steps,” said Dalton Guinn, a senior accounting major at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.
“We are committed to something bigger than ourselves,” he said. “We are motivated to fight for the right to life. We care enough to stop our busy lives as students, drop anything and take a 30-hour bus ride to Washington, D.C., to make it known that what is happening is wrong and change is in order.”
The University of Mary will be traveling more than 1,000 miles from Bismarck, N.D., to attend the March for Life. Other long-distance travelers include marchers from Ave Maria University of Ave Maria, Fla., Benedictine College of Atchison, Kan., and University of St. Thomas (UST) of Houston, Tex. Ave Maria will be bringing approximately 50 students, and Benedictine College and University of Mary will each be bringing more than 200 students.
Sr. Theresa Marie Chau Nguyen, O.P., an assistant professor of theology at UST, said that she was a “regular Marcher” during her time as a student at The Catholic University of America and now is “delighted” to be returning with 27 “enthusiastic UST students.”
Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., will send about 100 students, faculty, staff… and monks! About half of this group will be going to Washington, D.C., a day early to make a pilgrimage to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine.
Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., has always closed its campus on the day of the March so that the entire student body and members of the faculty and staff can attend. Other Catholic colleges that cancel classes during the March include The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, and Northeast Catholic College in Warner, N.H.
Catholic University and Franciscan University of Steubenville have a huge representation at the March, with more than 500 students from each university. For high school and church groups traveling from across the country, many are provided with food and lodging by Catholic University and Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md.
One Mount student, Elizabeth O’Hare, who will travel with more than 200 students and seminarian to the March, shared how the “strong Catholic foundation” at the University has enabled her “to grow in relationship with the Lord and His One True Church” while also convicting her on the “beauty and sacredness of all human life.”
Even more Newman Guide-recommended institutions, including DeSales University in Center Valley, Penn., and Walsh University in Canton, Ohio, will be attending the March. Both will be sending around 50 students. Holy Apostles in Cromwell, Conn., is bringing nearly 100 students, seminarians, religious, faculty and staff. Additionally, students and staff from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, are also making the trip to the March.
Newman Guide colleges located on the other side of the country—including Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyo., and John Paul the Great Catholic University in Escondido, Calif.—will participate in the West Coast Walk for Life on January 26.