March for Life OKs New Leaders After Nellie Gray’s Passing

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 21, 2012   |   3:22PM   |   Washington, DC

The March for Life has approved new leaders following the passing of founder and longtime president Nellie Gray. The March for Life board selected board members Patrick Kelly and Jeanne Monahan, to head up the annual event.

As the March for Life organization tells LifeNews:

The Board of Directors of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, which organizes and runs the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, met on August 14, 2012, and approved a transition plan that will continue the legacy and vision of their former President, Nellie J .Gray, who passed away last week.

In a unanimous decision, the Board of Directors elected board member Patrick E. Kelly as Interim Chairman of the Board of Directors and board member Jeanne F. Monahan as Interim President. Mr. Kelly and Ms. Monahan will guide the day-to-day operations of the March for Life and ensure the continuation of the vision of its founder, Nellie Gray.

Mr. Kelly serves as Vice President for Public Policy for the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization, where he is responsible for matters relating to public policy, legislation, and government affairs. He has over twenty-five years of distinguished military and government service, which has included work in the U.S. State Department, the Justice Department, and on staff in the U.S. House of Representatives. A Captain in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps Reserve, he holds a Bachelor’s Degree and Juris Doctor from Marquette University and a Master of Theological Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America.

Ms. Monahan is the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council in Washington, DC. In this capacity, she is an expert on life issues and is a regular media contributor on issues related to the dignity of human life. Previously, Ms. Monahan served in various capacities at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A life-long advocate for life, Ms. Monahan holds a Bachelor’s Degree from James Madison University and a Master of Theological Studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America.

“Patrick and Jeanne are fantastic and intelligent leaders in the prolife movement who will continue the great legacy set forth by Nellie Gray,” said Terrence Scanlon, who has served as Vice President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund for more than two decades.

The 40th March for Life will be held on the National Mall on January 25, 2013.

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and President of the National Pro-life Religious Council, announced recently that a special prayer service will be held for March for Life founder Nellie Gray. The service will be held on the morning of Friday, January 25, in Washington, D.C. will be dedicated to the memory of the March for Life leader who led the national event every year since 1974.

The service, known as the National Memorial for the Pre-Born and Their Mothers and Fathers, is interdenominational, and has taken place for nearly two decades. The planning for the January service has been in the works for a couple of years already, due to the significance of this January being the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.

“Now, we have an even deeper meaning to the service,” said Fr. Pavone. “We will thank the Lord for Nellie, we will commend her to the Author of Life, and we will beg God that He will bestow on us all a double-portion of her spirit. Attending this service will be a wonderful way to honor her memory and renew our determination to fulfill her vision.”



The service will take place from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 25 in the DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D Street Northwest, Washington, D.C. It is open to the public. That same afternoon, the March for Life, which Nellie Gray led, will take place.

Nellie Gray passed away last week and, since then, there has been an outpouring of support.