When Megan Glaudini, a student at Loyola Marymount University (LMU), heard that her Catholic Jesuit university wasn’t stopping an on-campus fundraising drive for Planned Parenthood, she felt “convicted” that she had to do something.
“When I heard about the” Planned Parenthood “fundraiser on campus, I was originally just completely disgusted and embarrassed and disappointed that the university would allow it,” she told CNA in a phone call on November 6th.
“It took me a while to realize what I really wanted to do, what kind of action was going to make a difference in the first place, and I really felt judged and had to do something,” she said.
It turned out that this “something” revived the long-standing, inactive pro-life group and was planning a rosary rally before the “Planned Parenthood” fundraiser.
After meeting a university official and many meetings, phone calls and emails with students, Glaudini decided “two days before the event” to revive the campus ministry’s VITA program.
VITA, a Latin word for “life”, is the respectful group of students at LMU.
Glaudini ran VITA with her friend Andrew DiCrisi and planned a rosary on the corner of Lincoln and LMU Drive on campus.
Glaudini, a junior theology student at LMU, told CNA that the purpose of the rosary is to “emphasize the spread of love.” Some groups on campus made things political, she said, but their intent was to stand up for “human dignity and the right to life.”
“I just feel that my job here on this earth, and especially on this campus, is to uphold the dignity and values of my faith,” she said. “And that’s exactly what I thought to myself when we can found this group and pray this rosary together.”
The Women in Politics student group held the Planned Parenthood fundraiser in Roski’s dining room on November 5th. The club described the event on an online college calendar as “an opportunity for us to raise money for something we really care about and have fun at the same time!”
In a November 3 statement, the university told CNA that it did not sponsor or endorse the event.
Glaudini’s rosary rally gathered more than 20 people, including faculties, Jesuit priests on campus, and students.
She told CNA that “everyone was very grateful that we wore this, because here on campus it feels like the Catholic population is just losing weight and with that go hand in hand with our values and dignity.”
“The professors and some of the professional staff really told me how refreshed they felt after what we created because they felt that Catholic students on campus wouldn’t care about this fundraiser for Planned Parenthood is happening, but we’ve proven them wrong, “she said.
Glaudini said the students who attended the rosary rally were “so grateful” that they found other people with like-minded values on campus.
After the on-campus fundraiser was originally announced, it sparked a petition from an organization called RenewLMU asking for the university’s president, Timothy Law Snyder, to cancel the event, but he didn’t. The group describes itself as “an alliance of students, alumni, lecturers, donors and other LMU supporters who strengthen the Catholic mission and identity of the LMU”.
Loyola Marymount alumnus Samantha Stephenson, who led the petition for RenewLMU, told CNA, “A Catholic university should honor and defend the principles of Catholic social teaching, the core of which is human dignity.”
The petition received around 1,800 signatures by Thursday afternoon.
The Catholic School’s fundraising campaign received a lot of media attention, to which the school responded on the Friday before the event:
“The event, which is being organized this evening by Women in Politics, an independent student organization, is neither sponsored nor supported by the LMU. The university does not support planned parenting, nor does it collect donations. The LMU regrets the concerns that this situation has caused our parishioners and Catholic partners. The university remains firmly committed to its Catholic, Jesuit and Marymount values. In the future, the LMU will review and revise its guidelines and practices in relation to student-organized activities to ensure a stronger focus on our mission. “
In a statement published in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles newspaper, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles reacted to the event before it took place.
“I am deeply disappointed that this abortion fundraiser is proceeding as planned, despite recognizing the university’s statement that it does not support Planned Parenthood and its promise to review its procedures for future events.”
“As I have indicated in my conversations with Loyola Marymount officials, respect for the holiness and dignity of all human life is central to Catholic identity and must be a central obligation in Catholic higher education. I am confident that the conversation that has begun will continue, ”continued the Archbishop.
In addition to attending the Los Angeles March for Life on Jan. 22, Glaudini told CNA that she is making plans for the VITA club to be more active on campus and interested in doing more rosaries in the future.
Gualdini said she was hoping to meet President Snyder because she felt “we are due to talk”.
She added of the pro-life effort, “But we’ve been thinking about running our own fundraiser for emergency pregnancy centers and adoption centers too, so we talked about it.”