Courtesy of Catholic News Agency

By Eduardo Castillon

“God is love, and true love gives way to life, not death.” Spoke Chosen actor Jonathan Roumie before a crowd of thousands last Friday, January 20, at the first March for Life since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Student organizations such as Cardinals for Life, Young Americans for Freedom, and the CUA Knights of Columbus gathered in the harsh cold during a watershed moment in the pro-life movement. Many marchers saw the Dobbs Decision as a victory, but organizers of the movement were eager to remind everyone that now is the time for work on the state level.

After federal protections on abortion were removed, the matter came down to local state governments to decide for themselves. The Guttmacher Institute has actively tracked abortion laws by state as recently as January 16th at the time of writing. This new development has led the March for Life to plan new strategies such as local marches in every state. Standing with other leaders, Liberty University Students for Life president Summer Smith emphasized the needed attention for crisis pregnancy clinics, saying, “If our generation doesn’t step up and care for the child, the mother, and the father, this noble movement and this sacred effort will die.” Certainly, the country faces a new future concerning the abortion issue and only time will tell its outcome. 

The movement’s new direction was also represented by a change in the typical route taken by the march. Instead of finishing near the Supreme Court, this year marchers continued along Constitution Avenue towards the United States Capitol. Along the way, lesser known political factions of various creeds mobilized to engage in their first amendment freedom, including Rehumanize International and Catholics for Choice. With the number of people in the streets, it is clear the Dobbs decision did not calm the fervor of the abortion debate, but rather the contrary.

Later that day, the March for Life hosted the annual Rose Gala Dinner at the Renaissance Hotel. Cardinals for Life president Sophia Cook, vice president Larissa York, Co-Sidewalk Chair Brennan Stone, and other student members attended the dinner where the Most Rev. Michael F. Burbidge started the opening prayer. After a toast to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Chairman Director of the March Timothy M. Saccoccia gave a welcoming speech to notable members of the audience. In particular he showed gratitude to Patrick E. Kelly, the current Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus.

Afterwards, in a moving moment, March for Life President Jeanne Mancini presented a symbolic trophy to Gianna Emannuela, daughter of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, in recognition of all her services to the pro-life cause. Mancini spoke about the history of the march and reinforced the overall theme of this year’s march: How the Pro-Life Movement will continue in a post-Roe America.

The final speaker of the night was Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the popular Chosen series. Roumie spoke with charm and honesty, discussing the difficulty of speaking out on such a hotly contested issue while working in the entertainment industry. Along with other christian actors, the Chosen actor visited Vatican City for the Vitae Summit and personally met Pope Francis.

The meeting’s goal was to inspire cultural transformation that advances the common good. Inspired by the Holy Father’s message, Roumie came out firmly against trends in the entertainment business that he described as “becoming increasingly sinister.” He highlighted the value of sticking to one’s convictions even when it was tough, a message that foreshadowed the pro-life movement’s new horizon.

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