ROME, February 10, 2014 ( – The canonization of Pope John Paul II on April 27th will launch a pro-life week in Rome culminating with the May 4th Italian March for Life that was energized last year by a personal visit from Pope Francis. 


On the occasion of the Italian March for Life, pro-life leaders from all over the world are meeting in Rome for an International Pro-Life Conference, organized by in partnership with Human Life International and Family Life International New Zealand. It will take place on May 3, the day before the march, beginning at 2:30 p.m. Rome time.

Cardinal Raymond Burke and George Weigel will give the major addresses at the conference.

Other preeminent leaders in the pro-life movement from around the world presenting at the conference include:

  • Charmaine Yoest, Americans United for Life
  • David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life
  • Rebecca Kiessling, director of Save the 1, an organization focused on fighting abortion in cases of rape
  • Colleen Bayer, Papal Dame and director of Family Life International New Zealand
  • Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers
  • Virginia Coda Nunziante, lead organizer of the Italian March for Life
  • Steve Jalsevac, managing director of LifeSiteNews
  • John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews
  • John Smeaton – director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

Attendance at the March for Life in Rome has grown quickly, from about 1,000 three years ago, to 15,000 two years ago, to between 30 and 40 thousand last year.

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March organizer Virginia Coda Nunziante told LifeSiteNews last year that the swelling number of people opposed to abortion is an indication that the country is ready to revisit the issue.

Among the Italians and people from all over the world who took part in the march last year were the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, who marched with the first banner at the front of the column; American pro-life hero Cardinal Raymond Burke; and Gianna Emanuela Molla, the daughter of St. Gianna Beretta Molla.

Pope Francis surprised the Italian and international participants in last year's Marcia per la Vita when he left the Apostolic Palace to greet them personally from his popemobile in the street where they were lined up.

“I invite you to keep the attention of everyone on the important issue of respect for human life from the moment of conception,” he told the marchers.

More details on the 4th Italian National March for Life and the conference will be published at as the dates for the events approach.