ROME (CNS) — People from at least two dozen countries joined Italians May 8 for the sixth annual National March for Life in Rome.
Carrying multicolored balloons, crucifixes or children, the estimated 30,000 people walked through the historic center of the city and joined Pope Francis for the midday recitation of the “Regina Coeli” prayer in St. Peter’s Square.
The pope greeted the marchers, who were led by U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, patron of the Knights and Dames of Malta; Archbishop Luigi Negri of Ferrara-Comacchio, Italy; and Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan.
Organizers said more than 100 pro-life and pro-family organizations participated, including dozens from 29 countries besides Italy. Although the march is not sponsored by the Catholic Church or a particular Catholic group, hundreds of priests and religious joined the marchers.
The marchers carried signs not only urging an end to legalized abortion, but also urging Italian lawmakers to reject proposed legislation allowing euthanasia and a bill — further along in the legislative process — that would recognize civil unions of unmarried heterosexual and homosexual couples.
Before greeting the group, Pope Francis spoke to them and to thousands of other visitors about the feast of the Ascension, which was celebrated May 5 at the Vatican and May 8 in Italy.
“After having seen their Lord ascend to heaven, the disciples returned to the city (Jerusalem) as witnesses who with joy proclaimed to all the new life” that came with the death and resurrection of Jesus, the pope said.
“This is the witness — made not just with words but also through one’s daily life — the witness that every Sunday should go out from our churches in order to enter each week into homes, offices, schools, places where people gather and have fun, hospitals, prisons, homes for the elderly, places crowded with immigrants and the peripheries of our cities,” the pope said. “This is the witness we must give each week: Christ is with us. Jesus, who ascended to heaven, is with us. Christ is alive!”
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
or by credit card: