Here at the ITI, the sanctity of life is not something that we merely learn about in the classroom: It is something that we try to live and witness to every day.
Earlier in the semester, the students of the ITI split in two in order to simultaneously participate in both the Marsch für das Leben in Berlin, and also the March for Life in Košice, Slovakia.
15 people from the ITI, including 2 babies, were present in Berlin. A pre-march rally with speakers and song was held in front of the Bundeskanzleramt (seat of the German chancellor) across the plaza from the Reichstag (seat of the German parliament). As the rally came to an end, a large SWAT team joined the police forces to form a line between the marchers and many angry protestors, and so accompanied, they began the 2 hour march through Berlin. The protesters to the march were often quite abrasive, throwing glitter and condoms on the marchers, and topless women and sacrilegious pictures were prevalent at street corners. The march ended in a large grassy plaza, where an ecumenical service was held with songs, a Gospel reading and closing speech. The reported number of marchers this year was over 4500, a significant increase from last year’s 3000 participants. While the marchers faced not a small amount of persecution for their witness, the power of the peaceful statement made is one that will surely impact the lives of the unborn as awareness grows in the years to come.
In contrast, the march in Košice was far less turbulent. Around 20 people attended from the ITI, making up a part of the approximately 65,000 people who marched together in order to witness to life.
Also, as a part of the ITI’s Thursday night lecture series, the ITI hosted Mr. John Smeaton, the president of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. He gave an enlightening talk in the aftermath of the events in Ireland, calling for the laity, led by the clergy, to lead the charge in the public sector, and to not give up in the legal battle for the rights of the unborn. The conversation that was begun by his talk lasted far into the evening, as students gathered afterward to continue discussing this important issue.
Finally, the ITI witnessed to life through the celebration of the baptism of one of the newest members of the ITI community, Octavian. Welcome, Tavi!