On Sunday, October 4, Thomas More students made the short 45 minute trek south to Boston to join thousands of concerned citizens for the events marking Respect Life Sunday, sponsored by Massachusetts Citizens for Life, among other organizations. The day was launched with a Mass in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, followed by a rally on the Boston Common, and a 5k walk through the streets of the city to raise awareness of the Life issue and drum up much-needed funds for a variety of pro-life services for expectant and new mothers.
Students were led by the College’s Writer-in-Residence and literature teacher Dr. John Zmirak. “I think it’s really important that people get involved in fighting for the sanctity of life while they are still young,” Zmirak said. “I started my pro-life activism at age 11, taking signatures for the Right-to-Life Party in New York. That helped me to commit to the issue, learn about it, and embark on a lifetime of activism.”
Students came out of the event eager for more. “The Walk for Life was a great opportunity for me to stand up for what I believe in, and get my opinion on a matter of vital importance out in the public eye,” said junior Julia Baaten, who helped carry the college banner through Boston streets. Another banner-carrier, sophomore Nicole Bertini, said, “I participated in the Walk for Life because unborn children are precious gifts from God and have every right to be born and lead lives of their own. It was an empowering event filled with the glowing energy of people who were happy to be there, happy to celebrate the sanctity of life.”
Junior Micah Kurtz said the event gave him hope: “A beautiful sunny day made the perfect setting for such a worthy cause. Joining thousands of other people committed to the sanctity of life was quite a moving experience. It helped strengthen my own belief that the pro-life cause will one day prevail,” he said.
“I’m moved and edified by the number of students who turned out this week, and the enthusiasm they showed—even in the face of hostile counter-demonstrators who taunted us as we marched, praying the Rosary,” Dr. Zmirak said.
Thomas More College plans more pro-life activities, including internships at the D.C.-based Culture of Life Foundation, where beginning in 2008, TMC students conducted research with leading Catholic bioethicist Dr. William May on the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.
As part of the national initiative 40 Days for Life, each Saturday Thomas More College students make their way to abortion sites in nearby Manchester, to pray and witness outside the clinics.
The school also plans to take part in Boston-area marches on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, January 22, 2010.
Recent alumnus Teddy Sifert, who now works at a school serving handicapped children, recalled: “At Thomas More College, pro-life activities were the parapet upon which we could see reality all around us. All the gifts given to us by God depend on the most basic right to life.”
Even as he took part in the academic search for Truth, Sifert wondered, “How can we claim to pursue truth when the worst falsehood in human history is taking place right in our own neighborhoods? Abortion has killed more people than all the plagues, famines, genocides, and wars combined.”
“After graduation,” Sifert said, “I gave up much more lucrative positions in order to work for Sen. Sam Brownback, who passed laws protecting preborn children with Down’s Syndrome. Some 97% of children who even have a slight chance of being diagnosed with this disability are eliminated through abortion,” he said.
“I’ve noticed that while many graduates from big universities float through life on ever-changing feelings, my classmates chose different careers, grounded in truth and virtue,” Sifert said.
Every four years, presidential candidates make their way through New Hampshire, seeking venues where they can garner support. In its 30 year history, Thomas More College has welcomed a wide variety of such candidates—but only those who stand with the Church in defense of innocent life, Zmirak pointed out. “And that’s the stance every Catholic college ought to take.”