Almost Eighty Thousand PRO-Lifers Gathered In Bratislava
The 2nd National March for Life was held on September 20, 2015, in Bratislava, upon the initiative of the Bishops´conference of Slovakia, in collaboration with various pro-life and pro-family organizations and institutions. The event was held under the motto „Joy of Life“, and its aim was to put protection of life from the moment of conception until natural death and human dignity at the center of public discussion. The march took place on Sunday afternoon, but the whole weekend made Bratislava a „city of life“, with over 90 cultural, spiritual, political and social events at 33 places around the center of the capital of Slovakia and tireless help of around thousand volunteers. The program included pro-life workshops, lectures, discussions, movies, theatre and music performances, as well as plenty of activities for families with children. Thousands of people of all ages, regardless of their religious belief or political adherence, participated at these events. Eucharistic celebrations were held with pro-life homilies on Sunday morning, offering a spiritual preparation.
The National March for Life started shortly after 2 p.m., with 2,4 km route winding around the streets and squares at the center of Bratislava. The interest of people exceeded all expectations – it is estimated that almost 80 thousand of pro-lifers from all corners of Slovakia participated at the event. This number – if we take into account that Slovakia has only around 5 million inhabitants – is a great success. If the march of this kind took place in the U.S., over 4,75 million participants would have to come, if they wanted to reach the same percentage of participation comparing to number of citizens.
The National March For Life
The main aim of the National March for Life is to celebrate life, express joy of life and appeal to everyone to protect life of every person from the moment of conception to natural death. The Second National March for Life will focus onto improvement of assistance to the pregnant mothers in need, to their families and for encouragement of such assistance by everyone.
Marches for Life are the most common forms used by pro-life movement all around the world to express own attitudes. Through National March for Life, the Slovak pro-life organizations join this world-wide movement.
The National March for Life will take place in Bratislava – the Capital of Slovakia. It will be preceded by a rich program of pro-life activities during the whole week before the 20th September. The official program starts on Friday, September 18th with an pro-life film festival, a youth meeting and a benefit concert, continues on Saturday the 19th with workshops and lectures on many topics concerning life protection, family rights, and culminates on Sunday, September 20th with pro-life masses in Bratislava celebrated by the bishops of Slovakia and a peaceful march of the nation through the streets of Bratislava. The march will start on Námestie SNP at 14:30.
Main organizer of the march is The Slovak Episcopal Conference. They invite other churches and ecclesial communities, organizations as well as individual persons of good will, who share the need to protect human life from conception to natural death to be involved in the preparation of the event. Altogether, about 100 pro-life and Christian organizations and 30 media partners will be involved in the preparation of The Second National March for Life.
In 2013, the first National March for Life in Slovakia took place. It was the most numerous civic manifestation since the Velvet revolution in 1989 and also a strong impetus for civic participation and public discourse. Thanks to this event a new climate was created. One of its aims, to include a definition of marriage as a bond of a man and a woman into the Constitution, was reached in June 2014. Besides that, in December 2013 the Alliance for the Family was created, currently supported by more than 140 Slovak NGOs and civic associations. The Alliance for the Family subsequently initiated a referendum aimed to protect the family.
Despite that, there are more than 7 thousand children killed annually by artificial abortion in Slovakia (country of 5 million living citizens who have the right to live). Therefore, the next March for life will be aimed to the improvement of specific assistance to the pregnant mothers in need, to their families and to an encouragement of such assistance for them. All participants of the march will be informed about ongoing projects for pregnant mothers in need (consultancy phone line, counseling office, financial network of donors, emergency accommodation) and will be motivated to assist them.
We do realize many Slovak families or single mothers experience hard times and therefore, the main theme: „Joy of life“ was chosen in order to support them and help them to find the way out from their seemingly unsolvable situation. Beside that the main goals of the March remain focused on the protection of life:
1. Exert pressure on change of legislation towards protection of life
2. Mobilize people to provide help in protection and development of life
3. Sensibilize the society in life protection issues
We are convinced that The Second National March for life, to be held in Bratislava the capital city of Slovakia in September 2015, will bring even stronger voice and will have a positive impact on the legislation, on the sensibility of citizens and media towards pro-life issues, and on the improvement of the aid to pregnant mothers in need.
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