“We Are the Pro-Life Generation!” ITI Students Stand for What is Right!

On 17 October 2020, the community of the International Theological Institute was once again able to proudly participate in the annual March for Life in Vienna. It is an ever-growing event in which people of all ages and nationalities come together in public defense of life.


In addition to many supportive leaders in the Austrian Pro-Life movement - including ITI alumna and member of the Federal Parliament of Austria, Dr. Gudrun Kugler - we were blessed with the presence of two bishops at the March this year: His Excellency Klaus Küng, the Bishop-Emeritus of the St. Pölten Diocese, and His Excellency Stephan Turnovszky, the Auxiliary Bishop of Vienna. Bishop Küng started off the event with the celebration of a Pontifical Mass in the Vienna St. Charles Church (Karlskirche), offered for unborn children and for their families. In his sermon he stated: “We cannot and must not arbitrarily dispose of our lives or the lives of others. To depart from this notion is a fundamentally wrong path and has grave consequences for the individual, as it is concerned with his attitude towards life itself.”


After the opening Mass, all the participants of the march gathered to hear addresses from prominent speakers in the European Pro-Life community before beginning the march in the Charles' Square (Karlsplatz) public walking round. Despite the difficulties of COVID-19 and cloudy weather, the attendance of the march exceeded two thousand participants - more than double the anticipated number.


The March for Life is an entirely peaceful display, supporting human rights from conception to natural death. However, not all of the people standing in the Charles' Square area were in favor of this reality. Many pro-choice activist groups made an appearance in counter-protest, blocking the march’s route, and harassing the peaceful participants. Thankfully, the presence of the Vienna Police ensured full protection for the participants of the march and allowed them to complete the route safely.


From the very beginning of the group to its tail end, all the participants of the march joined together in peaceful pilgrimage towards the goal of universal recognition of the sanctity of life. Throughout the large group were seen combinations of participants - some chanting, some praying the Rosary, some singing, and some marching together in silent prayer. A large group of ITI students joined together to sing hymns and other songs throughout the course of the afternoon. A student of the ITI’s Marriage and Family Study Program, Patricia Walsh, said: “We sang as a form of prayer, but also in thanksgiving for the joy of life!”


As the march came to an end when participants once again reached the Vienna Charles' Square, musician Vero Deo Gloria performed an original song written for the event. The March for Life - Austria came to a strong and hopeful conclusion, resonating with the powerful words of the song: “We are the Pro-Life generation! We will fight for Life! We will rise on this road and not give up, for we are the Pro-Life generation!”


The March for Life 2020 showed an important truth: that even in difficult times, there are those willing to take a stand for what is right. In both fervent prayer and active participation, the ITI community stands exemplarily in this truth, and especially now holds fast to the reality of its values. We stand for Truth. We stand for Beauty. We stand for Goodness. We fight for Life.