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Life Fest returns to DC Armory ahead of National March for Life with Mass, Ulma family relics

Sister Bethany Madonna, vocations director of the Sisters of Life, speaks during the first-ever Life Fest at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington Jan. 20, 2023. The Sisters of Life and Knights of Columbus announced Dec. 21 that they will be teaming up for a second year to host Life Fest in conjunction with the National March for Life in Washington in January. (OSV News photo/Jeffrey Bruno, Knights of Columbus)

(OSV News) — The Sisters of Life and Knights of Columbus announced Dec. 21 that they will be teaming up for a second year to host Life Fest in conjunction with the National March for Life in Washington in January.

The event will be held Jan. 19 at the 10,000-seat D.C. Armory in southeast Washington prior to the march, which begins around 1 p.m. along Constitution Avenue. The march will be the second following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade in 2022 and the return of abortion policymaking to the states.

According to organizers, Life Fest will feature “dynamic speakers and testimonies” and music by Sarah Kroger and Damascus Worship.

It will also include Mass celebrated by Knights of Columbus Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore; Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of Boston; and Msgr. James Shea, president of the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota; as well as a Eucharistic healing procession.

Life Fest attendees also will have the opportunity to venerate first-class relics of the Ulma family, who were recently beatified in their native Poland.

“On March 24, 1944, Jozef and Wiktoria Ulma and their seven children, one of whom was still in the womb, were killed by Nazis in Markowa, Poland, for hiding members of two Jewish families,” Life Fest’s organizers noted in a Dec. 21 media release, noting that the “Ulma family bears special significance to the pro-life movement” and their “lives exemplify what it means to value the dignity of every human person.”

“The Good Samaritans of Markowa: The Sacrificial Love of the Ulma Family,” a special exhibition on the 80th anniversary of the Ulmas’ martyrdom, will be on display at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington until at least March 24. The exhibition also includes the Ulmas’ relics.

“I’ll never forget the first time I attended a rally before the March for Life when I was a teenager,” said Sister Mary Grace, a Sister of Life, in the media release. “I knew the pro-life movement was important, but standing in a packed stadium, listening to stories and seeing countless other youth celebrate the gift of life, changed the trajectory of mine. I marched differently. It was no longer simply another cause — it became for me a whole new way of looking at the world we live in. None of us are here by mistake; every single person is wanted and necessary. I left the rally with a fresh conviction that every single human person is precious, and your value is worth cherishing again every year.”

The Sisters of Life are a Catholic religious community of women founded in New York in 1991 and committed to the protection of human life and to the promotion of new life in Christ.

The Knights of Columbus, founded in 1882 as a fraternal benefit society by Blessed Michael McGivney, is a lay Catholic men’s organization and one of the world’s leading international charitable organizations.

Doors will open for Life Fest at 6:30 a.m. on the day of the event. Worship begins at 7 a.m., with the event culminating in Mass at 9:15 a.m. More information about the event and registration is at www.lifefestrally.com.

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