Marching along Constitution Avenue, Sofia Yucis couldn’t help but feel overwhelming joy.
“It was amazing to see people come together from all over [the nation],” said Yucis, a junior from Gloucester Catholic High School, Gloucester City, who took part Jan. 20 in the March for Life in Washington, D.C. “There’s still a sense of hope in this world.”
Yucis and her fellow Gloucester Catholic students made the trip to Washington with other faithful from the church communities of Mary, Mother of Mercy, Glassboro; Mater Ecclesiae Mission, Berlin; Saints Peter and Paul, Turnersville; Our Lady of Peace, Williamstown; and Saint Bridget University Parish, Glassboro, which included members of Rowan University’s Catholic Campus Ministry.
While some prayed the Rosary or sang, Yucis proudly held up a sign that someone had given her of a mother holding a child inside a heart. “Love them both,” the sign read.
It was Yucis’ first time taking part in the march, and she vowed that after returning home, she would be getting involved with the pro-life ministry at her parish, Mantua’s Church of the Incarnation. The ministry is overseen by her grandmother.
Yucis was among the tens of thousands of pro-life advocates who took part in the 50th annual March for Life in the nation’s capital. It was the first march since the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion.
The 2023 March for Life’s theme, “Next Steps: Marching in a Post-Roe America,” was a nod to the pro-life movement’s new landscape. With the Dobbs ruling sending the issue of legal abortion back to the U.S. states to legislate upon, this year’s march switched its end point from the U.S. Supreme Court to the U.S. Capitol.
March for Life events in Washington included the National Prayer Vigil for Life on Jan. 19 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and National Holy Hour. A closing Mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph L. Coffey of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. Also in the morning, a Youth Mass of Celebration and Thanksgiving was celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle. All Catholic faithful who took part in events in Washington could obtain a plenary indulgence, according to a decree from the Holy See.
Speakers at the march included actor Jonathan Roumie, known for his role as Jesus in the biblical television drama “The Chosen,” and Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.
Max Medica, a sophomore education and history major at Rowan University, said he was inspired by the passionate speakers and huge crowd.
“I have no fear in standing up for the truth [of respecting life], seeing so many” do the same, he said. “I’ll do this again.”
Robert Fini, Deputy Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Millville Council #17778, helped coordinate a bus that departed from the Diocese of Camden. He was among a group of 40 women and men from Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland Counties. Seeing the “complete spectrum” of ages and backgrounds present at the National Mall – seniors, families, young adults, high-schoolers and middle-schoolers – all “enthusiastic and engaged” made him feel “gratified, inspired and uplifted,” he said.
The collective witness present “helped me to find strength,” and to keep going in the fight for life, he said.
OSV news contributed to this article.