ROME, May 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Hundreds of participants, peacefully chanting the Rosary and witnessing to the dignity of unborn life, took to the streets of Rome last week for Italy’s second annual march for life.

The Marcia per la Vita 2011 took place on May 22, tracing a path from St. Peter’s Square to the Italian Senate in protest against the killing of unborn children, legalized by lawmakers 33 years ago.

Pope Benedict XVI issued a warm greeting to members of the pro-life movement the day of the march.

“Dear friends, I congratulate you, in particular for your commitment to assisting women facing difficult pregnancies, and fiancés and spouses who desire a responsible procreation,” said the pontiff at his Sunday Regina Caeli audience. “Thus you are concretely supporting the culture of life.

“I will also ask Our Lord that thanks to your contribution, the ‘yes to life’ will be a cause for unity in Italy and each and every country worldwide.”

Many of the participants in the march had taken part the night before in a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love, where they consecrated their efforts to the Virgin Mary.

Pro-life leaders, including Movimento per la Vita’s Carlo Casini, March organizer Mario Pirovano, and America’s Marie Cabaud Meaney of Heartbeat International, delivered remarks. The crowd also listened to audio excerpts of Pope Blessed John Paul II, who called the pro-life movement a “holy cause.”

The Italian Catholic pro-life organization Centro Culturale Lepanto notes that the marches in Rome have been kindled by similar demonstrations in other countries, particularly the U.S. and recently, Belgium

“It was time also for Rome, with this March in its historic centre, to finally join the protest in the other capitals around the world for such slaughter of innocents to be terminated once and for all,” wrote the group.