On Sunday, May 12th, Barbara Sandlin and I attended the Marcia per la Vita (March for Life) Nazionale in Rome, Italy. It was a stroke of luck that we happened to be planning a trip through different parts of Italy when our Italian friend Andrea mentioned that he would be going to Rome for the Italian March for Life in May. It worked with our schedule so we decided to attend as well and I am so glad that we were able to go.
The most striking aspect of the March was definitely how incredible its backdrop was. There were several speakers who spoke (in several different languages) before the March itself commenced right next to the Coliseum--I do mean “that” Coliseum. From there a marching band and a large banner led Barbara, me, and almost 40,000 people, many of whom were young Italians, past the Roman Forum, several other monuments, and the Castel Sant’Angelo. We ended at St. Peter’s square in the Vatican.
Here, the marchers had a pleasant surprise from Pope Francis, who went out to greet the first of the marchers from his popemobile and said a few words of support for the March in addition to blessing the main banner. In this simple act, the Pope managed to turn the entire attention of the press to the March, where there had been almost none before. Our friend Andrea, a journalist for the Bergamo newspaper, told us that his editor was calling him a hero for going to the March despite the lack of interest from the press, because once the Pope had acknowledged it, Andrea’s editor was asking him to write an article on the March as soon as possible. Overall I was most impressed by how much the Italian March for Life had grown in only three years, with only 1,000 people at the first march just two years ago. It was inspiring to see people from all over the world come together to fight for a greater respect for human life.