WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of people from around the country, including from the San Diego Catholic Diocese, participated in the 47th annual March for Life on the National Mall on Friday.
María de Lourdes Valencia, associate director of the diocese’s Office for Life, Peace and Justice, was on hand as participants heard speakers at a noon rally and then marched along Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The speakers included President Donald Trump, who was the first president to speak in person in the history of the March for Life.
“Today, as president of the United States, I am truly proud to stand with you. We’re here for a very simple reason: to defend the right for every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential,” Trump said.
He also credited the young people who made up a large portion of the crowd for their commitment to life, saying they were “the heart of the March for Life.”
“It’s your generation that is making this a pro-life nation,” the president said, adding, “You are powered by prayer and motivated by pure unselfish love.”
The previous day, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, delivered a homily at the opening Mass of the National Vigil for Life.
During an “ad limina” meeting with bishops from Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska the week before, Archbishop Naumann said Pope Francis had told them, “If we do not defend life, no other rights matter.”
“The Holy Father said that abortion is first a human rights issue,” added Archbishop Naumann in his homily, delivered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.
“Pope Francis was aware of the March for Life in the United States and was delighted to know the anticipated large numbers of pilgrims, especially the participation of so many young people,” said Archbishop Naumann, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.