UST’s Celt for Life Join 2023 March for Life Rally in Nation’s Capital
“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.” –Psalms 98:1
Assistant Professor of Theology and faculty advisor Sr. Theresa "Chau" Nguyen, O.P., traveled with 20 Celt for Life (CFL) students to the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20. UST President Richard Ludwick and First Lady Melynda Ludwick joined the group. The March is approximately one-and-a-half miles long. A significant highlight includes UST's Celts for Life winning the Fr. Thomas King, S.J. Award at the Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life, held after the March. UST CFL received this honor for their commitment to building a culture of life.
The national March for Life in Washington has become the most prominent and longest human rights demonstration in U.S. history. In so many ways, it testifies to the marvelous deeds God achieves through the dedication and goodwill of countless pilgrims who gather, year after year, rain or shine, to march peacefully for the defense of all human life. UST Celts for Life was proud to be among the thousands of marchers for this first post-Roe March for Life.
"I am so proud of UST's Celts for Life for their tireless dedication to witnessing to life," Sr. Chau said. "The fellowship we have shared on this pilgrimage—all the smiles, laughter, resounding song, and prayer—all testify to the beauty and joy of being alive. Of course, being pro-life is not merely a march or a movement but a way of life stemming from the certitude of knowing that in Jesus, light has triumphed over darkness, love over hate, and life over death! I am grateful to our students for their faith-filled, enthusiastic witness!”
Read CFL Students' Joyous Comments on the Experience
· “The March for Life was a most memorable experience for me. For the first time, I found value in community and my mission in life. Pro-life is not just a [religious] cause; it is about protecting the human rights of women, children, and even men, physically and emotionally. It also reflects the need for people to have access to moral healthcare. What amazed me was the diversity of pro-life supporters. We are from different social classes, ages, races, and religious backgrounds; however, we were there for one and only one purpose."
· “Realizing that a third of my generation has been lost to abortion, perhaps the best part of participating in the March for Life was the opportunity to march for the life of all the unborn alongside my friends.”
· "Marching for the unborn, but also marching alongside my peers, we grew closer in our friendships, and that is what life is all about."
· “I loved meeting many religious men and women on the trip, visiting museums, and seeing pro-life ‘Spiderman!’”
· “The March [offered] the experience of being together with our group, growing together in God's love through daily prayer, Mass, visiting beautiful churches and meeting new people.”
· “I will strive to be more vocal about being pro-life, especially by bringing topics up in conversations with friends.”
· "We prayed, sang, and marched together for the sanctity of human life the entire trip!"
A Diary of the Trip's Events and Highlights:
· From the wee morning hours of Thursday, January 19, (5 a.m.!), UST's Celts for Life marchers geared up for their journey. Taking an early bird flight directly to Washington DC, we arrived in time for lunch and then headed to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Mass, celebrated by Bishop Michael Burbank of Arlington, VA, was the first post-Roe Vigil Mass for Life. The 9000-seat upper basilica church was packed, and CFL was in prayer and adoration in the front row. Mass, prayer, and adoration were the perfect starts to our pilgrimage!
· Friday, January 20: CFL pilgrims joined an estimated 50,000+ marchers on the National Mall. The event started with a rally, where we heard from dynamic speakers and leaders of the pro-life movement, including Jeannie Mancini, president of the March for Life, and Jonathan Roumie, the actor who plays the role of Jesus in "The Chosen." What powerful and inspiring messages!
· A spirit of joy and prayer marked the March: joy--in the noble cause for which we were marching, knowing that the 49 previous marches have brought us to a post-Roe era, and prayer--the sure foundation for the work still yet to happen. Every step of the way, CFL rang out with prayer and songs of praise.
· A change in the route this year marked a significant shift to the legislature. Pilgrims marched on Constitution Avenue to the steps of the U.S. Capitol and then on Independence Ave to the Supreme Court, signaling to our elected representatives on Capitol Hill that the American people want a culture of life and pro-life legislation throughout our nation.
· Saturday, January 21: CFL attended the 24th annual Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life at Georgetown University to hear from the leading voices of the pro-life movement. The theme, "There Can Be No Love without Justice: Humanizing our Political System," encapsulates the focus of the high caliber talks and conversations we had.
· At the conference's opening, Dr. John DeGioia, Georgetown University president, announced the reccipient of the Father Thomas King, S.J. Award and (drumroll) CFL was the winner! We received a lovely plaque and a $1,000 check.
· Teresa Ripoll, President of CFL, who represented our group in receiving the award, states: “Being a part of Celts For Life is an honor and a privilege. I’m so proud of all the hard work our club puts in to promoting a culture of life at UST and I’m so thankful to all who joined us in DC this year!”
· CFL has received the Father Thomas King, S.J. Award twice (previously in 2020), putting UST at the forefront of leading collegiate pro-life groups. (Past recipients include the University of Chicago (2022), Boston College (2021), and Marquette University (2019). See: https://www.oconnorconference.com/thomaskingsjaward.
UST’s Celts for Life Mission
Celts for Life is dedicated to spreading awareness of the sanctity and beauty of human life from conception until natural death on our campus and in our community. We exist because we believe all human life has inherent value and is worthy of protection.
Our club promotes the Culture of Life with many educational events, hosting speakers on a full range of life topics and volunteering in our community. We collaborate with several pro-life, Christian, and Catholic organizations to build the Culture of Life in Texas.
This spring, our next project is the CFL Scholarship for Pregnant and Parenting Students. Over the past five years, through the support of generous donors, our club has provided financial support to more than 30 UST pregnant and parenting students in need. Support our cause!
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