Pre-March for Life rally to feature Mass and performances by Brother Isaiah and other Catholic artists


The Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus are holding a rally, Life Fest, on the morning of the March for Life, Jan. 20, 2023. / Sisters of Life

Washington D.C., Dec 29, 2022 / 13:30 pm (CNA).

The Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus will be hosting an all-new “Life Fest” rally on the morning of the 2023 March for Life to inspire the next generation in a “new spirituality of love and life,” according to a press release.

Life Fest will take place on the morning of the March for Life, from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., on Jan. 20, at Washington D.C.’s Entertainment and Sports Arena.

“In the wake of the recent Dobbs decision, we see a profound opportunity to build the culture of life in a new way,” Sister Maris Stella, S.V., said in the press release.

The rally’s theme, “Because love is the answer,” highlights a Catholic, pro-life response to an increased need to support vulnerable women after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade allowed many states to restrict or ban abortion.

“As Sisters of Life, we’ve been walking with women facing unexpected pregnancies for the past 30 years and we see the miracles born of hope,” Sister Agnus Dei of the Sisters of Life, told CNA. “We see that when a woman is loved and supported, she can do anything, she can make that choice for life.”

The sisters and Knights hope that Life Fest, which will feature live music and speakers as well as Mass and adoration, will move attendees to build a new culture of life, founded on a spirituality that embraces “every human life as a gift.”

Life Fest will showcase the musical talents of Catholic artists such as Brother Isaiah and Sarah Kroger as well as talks from inspiring speakers including Pete and Tricia DeMaio and Sister Bethany Madonna.

Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June, 13 states have enacted total bans on abortion. Unsurprisingly, states with total abortion bans have seen dramatic drops in abortion rates. An example is Texas, where abortion is illegal except to save the life of the mother. Texas saw 4,879 abortions in July 2021, and only 68 in July 2022, according to data gathered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

“The end of Roe is a crucial milestone, but we should not mistake the ruling as the end of abortion. The fight to protect life will now evolve,” Patrick Kelly, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said in prepared statement.

“Even with the overturning of Roe v. Wade,” Sister Agnus Dei told CNA, “there are new battles, and there’s really a call to renew our commitment to love and really to press on forth from the foundation that these last 50 years have built.”

As abortion rates have dropped, organizations like the Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus are calling for a new sense of compassion and care from the pro-life movement.

“We exist to love,” Sister Agnus Dei said. “Each and every person has a gift to give at the service of life … this is the time to give it. This is the time to recommit ourselves to love.”

Sister Agnus Dei told CNA that early registration numbers have made the sisters hopeful they will fill the entire 4,200 capacity of the DC Entertainment and Sports Arena, located adjacent to the Congress Heights Metro station.

All are welcome, but the sisters note that “Catholic youth and young adults will especially benefit from this dynamic experience.” Tickets are required and may be purchased for a suggested donation of $5 here.

According to Sister Agnus Dei, registrants are coming from across the country and though the majority are young, the sisters expect to see participation from the “whole human family.”

After the rally attendees can head to the March which is 12 minutes away by car or bus, and 25 minutes by Metro.

In past years, the March for Life has gathered crowds from across the nation, with estimated numbers ranging from the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, a large percentage of which are Catholic. The 2009 March for Life is said to have been the largest on record, with 650,000 attendees.

The 2023 March for Life will be the first since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The Archdiocese of Washington announced last month that it had cancelled its youth rally, which it had held a rally before the March for Life for the last 25 years.

“As difficult a decision as it was to cancel, we encourage groups traveling to Washington, D.C., to participate in the National March for Life at the National Mall and to attend the Vigil Mass at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception,” the statement said.

“Wilton Cardinal Gregory, archbishop of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, would like to express his deepest gratitude for the support and participation of archdiocesan youth and young people who traveled to Washington, D.C., over these past 25 years,” the statement said.

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