This week in Christian history: Patriarch Kirill elected; John Donne ordained; first March for Life

First March for Life held – Jan. 22, 1974

Nellie Gray is the founder of the annual March for Life. Gray died in August 2012 at age 88.
Nellie Gray is the founder of the annual March for Life. Gray died in August 2012 at age 88. | (Photo: March for Life Education and Defense Fund)

This week marks the anniversary of when March for Life, a gathering originally organized by the Knights of Columbus and Catholic attorney Nellie Gray, was held in Washington, D.C.

The event came exactly one year after the United States Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide and struck down numerous state laws.

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“I received a call from the Knights of Columbus,” recounted Gray, who ended up emceeing the event, in a 2010 interview. “I didn't even know who they were, but they explained their stance against abortion and needed a place to meet to discuss plans for a march. That place was my living room.”

The 1974 march brought an estimated 20,000 attendees, including members of Congress who vowed to champion pro-life legislation. Originally meant to be a single event, organizers later turned it into an annual observance, with many non-Catholic Christian denominations and groups eventually taking part.

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