STEUBENVILLE - Braving frigid temperatures, nearly 500 Franciscan University of Steubenville students departed on nine buses early Wednesday morning to attend the 2014 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
They were joined at the march by an additional 300 Franciscan University 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).
Wednesday's event was the 41st anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision in the Roe v. Wade case.
Class of 2013 Franciscan University of Steubenville 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," he asked.
Looking across the National Mall filled with tens of thousands of marchers, Franciscan University of Steubenville President the Rev. 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, 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 of Steubenville's former president, now chancellor, the Rev. Terence Henry, TOR, also marched with the students.
"It's not a good day for the beach," 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 former president added.