EWTN's Teresa Tomeo speaks with Fr. Sean Sheridan, TOR, at the March for Life.
STEUBENVILLE, OHIO—Braving sub-zero temperatures, nearly 500 Franciscan University of Steubenville students departed on nine buses shortly after midnight January 22 to attend the 2014 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
At the march, they were joined by an additional 300 Franciscan students, alumni, staff, and faculty under Franciscan’s iconic green banner that proclaims, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. . . Before you were born, I dedicated you. . .” (Jer. 1:5).
Class of 2013 Franciscan graduate Michael Villanueva decided to march under the Franciscan banner because “it’s home” to him even though he is now a seminarian for the Diocese of Phoenix. “I’m here with other seminarians because every moment of life is sanctified and is a true gift from God. So why wouldn’t we march to protect life when it’s being attacked?”
Looking across the National Mall filled with hundreds of thousands of marchers, Franciscan University president, Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, said, “We are here today to defend the sanctity of human life and to defend those who society has chosen not to listen to. This is a public witness of the dignity of the human person, made in the image and likeness of God.”
When asked during a live interview by EWTN’s Teresa Tomeo what it will take to change society’s view of abortion, Father Sheridan said: “Public witness. We are going to stand up for life. And we’re not going to back down.”
As he did for 13 years, Franciscan University’s former president, now chancellor, Father Terence Henry, TOR, also marched with the students. “It’s not a good day for the beach,” Father Henry said. “But a good day to be here to stand up for those who do not have a voice of their own yet but are part of our human family.”
The bitterly cold weather hovered at -2 wind chill temperature during the noontime rally. Most participants coped by bundling up with lots of layers of clothing; some brought hand warmers and other protective gear.
Franciscan University senior English major Theresa Sullivan said, “The cold weather can’t dampen our joy. Everyone is passionate to be here and knows exactly why they are here—to proclaim the value of human life.”
The day before the march, several members of Franciscan University’s Students for Life Club attended a national Students for Life Conference in the nation’s capital. Jenna Leighton, the president of Franciscan’s club, said they discussed how to handle “the hard questions you get asked” about abortion. As to the purpose of the march, she said, “I think it’s important that America knows that its people do not believe in abortion.”