DUBLIN, Ireland, June 30, 2011 ( – With the All-Ireland Rally for Life just days away, Catholic bishops across the country are urging their flocks to participate in the annual pro-life march.

The rally will take place July 2, 2011 at the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Park, Dublin.  A promotional video has been posted on the Rally’s website, calling Irish pro-lifers to “Save the Date” for the cause of life.

“Life is our most precious gift,” said Bishop Philip Boyce of the Diocese of Raphoe, calling the rally a “celebration of life.”  “To attend or take part in it in any way is a worthwhile endeavour to pursue as Catholics. We stand up for God’s gift of life.”

Ireland, both north and south, is one of the last remaining places in Europe where abortion is still illegal. However, the country’s pro-life laws are under assault from pro-abortion campaigners in Ireland, the UK, European Union, and United Nations.

Thousands of pro-lifers gather annually in Dublin or Belfast to voice their opposition to abortion.  Last year’s event saw up to 4,000 pro-lifers of all ages descend on Belfast in early July. 

“I am happy and honoured to give my unequivocal support to this year’s ‘Rally for Life,’” wrote Bishop Noel Treanor of the Diocese of Down and Connor to organizers.

As part of a kick-off to the annual march a children’s art competition, “Art4Life,” was launched earlier this year to promote the pro-life movement to Ireland’s youngsters. Under the theme “Life is Precious,” the competition was open to children under 12 years of age.  Art submissions have been posted on the Rally’s website.

“In a rapidly changing society one of the values we need to uphold with constant vigilance is respect for life at every stage of its existence. Life is a very precious gift. It deserves reverence, nurturing, protection. I support those values and I support those who share these ideals,” said Bishop Martin Drennan of the Diocese of Galway. “I hope that it will, like last year, be a festive occasion, a true celebration of the great gift of life that God has given us.”

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI sent organizers and participants his support and prayers, invoking God’s blessing on the Rally.

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