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UST, Friends March for Life in D.C., Austin

By Bridget Hardy, University of St. Thomas
February 7th, 2013
University of St. Thomas (stthom.edu)

Twenty two University of St. Thomas students, faculty and staff, along with a few students from University of Houston, Rice University and Texas A&M University-Galveston, joined together on the  40th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade for the "largest human rights demonstration in the world," March for Life, on Jan. 25 in Washington D.C.

In his third year attending March for Life, Celts for Life President Austin Cruz said he thought this year was the best one, and the coldest, so far.

"The vast majority of people from UST attending the march this year had never gone before," Cruz said. "It was great to share in their first experience. From the beginning of the trip to the end of it, you could see their enthusiasm for the pro-life movement increase more and more."

During March for Life, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of the Galveston-Houston, visited with the UST group and was the principal celebrant at the pro-life youth rally and Mass. University President Dr. Robert Ivany and his son, the Rev. Mark Ivany, also joined the group.

Cruz said it was inspiring and rewarding to the Celts for Life to not only have such an amazing and supportive advisor in Sister Damien Marie Savino, FSE, but also the fact that Dr. Ivany has been so supportive that he even came out with his son to march.

"Dr. Ivany led the way for the Celts in the march, and I know that was a tremendous boost in our morale," he said.

Sister Damien Marie, assistant professor and chair of Environmental Science and Studies, who was on her 12th march overall and the fourth with UST Celts for Life, said she was impressed by a statement the Cardinal made at the end of Mass.

"It was Jan. 25, the feast of the conversion of St. Paul," she said. "He commented that St. Paul was blinded by the light, and it was this that precipitated his conversion. But then he went on to say that in our day, the light - the light of truth, the light of the Gospel - is being dimmed, and we need to be the light. We need to shine forth the light of the truth, of the Gospel, of life, for others to see so that they might be changed by our witness. It was a powerful summons and very beautiful, especially as we were preparing to go out into the cold to march with the hundreds of thousands of people gathered."

Cruz was encouraged by march attendees and several students told him they were now considering running for an officer position with Celts for Life next year.

"As president of Celts for Life, hearing things like that makes all the hard work, the organizing and fundraising that we put into the trip, worth it," he said. "That's why we go on this trip each year, to join the hundreds of thousands of people witnessing for life at the Capitol - 650,000 was the count this year according to EWTN Global Catholic Network - and with the hope that those students we take bring that fire for defending the unborn back to campus."

Cruz, a junior theology and philosophy double major, was elated when a number of this year's March for Life attendees came to the first meeting of the semester for Celts for Life on Jan. 29 "ready to make a difference on campus."

UST also had a group of 20 students attend the March for Life on Jan. 19 in Austin, Texas.
For more information about Celts for Life and to get involved, contact Cruz at cruza1@stthom.edu.

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Pictured: University President Dr. Robert Ivany (second from left) and Archbishop of Galveston-Houston Daniel Cardinal DiNardo (third from left) join UST students and friends at March for Life, in 20 degree weather, on Jan. 25 in Washington D.C.

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