Annual Respect Life Convention

During October, which is Respect Life Month, the RLA hosts its annual Respect Life Convention. The purpose of the Convention is to provide a forum for Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to gather and listen to informative and motivational speakers discuss the dignity and sanctity of human life and the latest efforts to build a Culture of Life.  

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41st Annual Respect Life Convention

Sunday, October 22, 2017

St. Charles Convention Center

"Celebrate Life"

Celebrate Life!

Keynote Speaker - John Foppe

John FoppeThe Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis is excited to announce that John Foppe will be the keynote speaker for the 41st Annual Respect Life Convention.

Born without arms, John Foppe understands firsthand the difficult gaps between envisioning an outcome and achieving it. He once believed he led a miserable, dependent, and limited existence. At 10-years-old, for example, he couldn't put his own pants on. Today, he operates his own company, travels the world, runs a large non-profit agency, and he is a husband and father.

In 1995, John launched a successful corporate motivation business, Visionary Velocity Worldwide, that has taken him to over 25 countries, pro-football organizations like the Miami Dolphins, and to Fortune 500 clients such as Boeing, GE, and State Farm and international companies such as Fortis, ST Microelectronics, and UniCredit.

He is the author of "What’s Your Excuse? Making the Most of What You Have," which has been translated into six foreign languages.

In the non-profit world, John has put his leadership and motivation skills to work helping the less fortunate by earning a masters degree in Social Service from Saint Louis University and serving as the Executive Director of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul - St. Louis Council.


Pro-Life Success in the States: Strategies for the Current Decade & Beyond, presented by Michael J. New (Ave Maria University)

This workshop looks at the factors that have led to a 50% decline in the U.S. abortion rate since 1980, including state-level pro-life laws, shifts in public opinion, and better outreach to women facing crisis pregnancies. It also looks at why increased contraceptive use has had little if anything to do with this decline in abortion rate. It will highlight a number of positive trends and explain why we should be optimistic about the future.

Vaccines from Aborted Fetal Cell Lines: Church Teaching and Clinical Applications, presented by Dr. Elizabeth Abraham (pediatrician) and Fr. Kent Pollman (St. Francis of Assisi Parish)

This workshop will explain Catholic teaching on the use of vaccines from aborted fetal cell lines. Practical advice will be provided, including information about which vaccine lines have potential moral problems and alternatives available.

How to Create Conversations that Change Hearts and Minds, presented by Rebecca Haschke (Justice for All)

Ever want to talk with family, friends, or coworkers about why abortion is wrong but unsure how to do so charitably? This workshop will arm you with the tools to open up meaningful conversations about abortion that will help change minds and hearts. An introductory workshop will be presented during Session I followed by a more advanced skills workshop during Session II.

Fetal Development, Diagnosis, and Therapy, presented by Dr. Cara Buskmiller (St. Louis University)

This presentation will provide participants with up-to-date information on fetal development from fertilization through viability. A review of prenatal diagnostic techniques builds upon the discussion of development. Additionally, a brief overiew of fetal surgery will be offered along with ethical commentary on the techniques described.

Taking a Pro-Life Stance on Campus, presented by Reagan Barklage (Students for Life of America)

Being pro-life on high school and college campuses is not easy, especially at public schools, but these are the environments where the pro-life message is desparately needed. Attend this workhop to learn how you can make an impact at your school, including resources and guidance to help get you going. Offered during Session I only.

End-of-Life Choices: Fundamental Principles for Healthcare Decision-making, presented by Fr. Donald Henke (Kenrick-Glennon Seminary)

While modern medical treatments have offered (and continue to offer) great opportunities for healing and recovery, making sound moral decisions in the face of an increasingly complex medical landscape has evolved into a fairly daunting prospect for many people today. The progressively technical nature of medical operations, treatments or procedures, in relation to the unique situation of each individual person, has only made the situation appear even more difficult. On the other hand, as challenging as it may seem at first glance, making sound moral decisions is not something that is out of reach for anyone. In fact, from a moral perspective the first (and the most important) place to begin a moral inquiry is not predominantly located in knowing all the technical aspects of a particular choice. Instead, it is in acknowledging and accepting where human beings stand before God that is primary. The purpose of this workshop is to review and examine the important Catholic principles that will enable individuals to make morally sound decisions for themselves and their loved ones.

Adoption: A Pro-Life Option, presented by K. Diane Daly (Archdiocesan Office of Natural Family Planning), Jessica Hartman & Mary Ann Hoeynck (Good Shepherd Children & Family Services), and Matt & Lauren Bohnert

This panel presentaiton will explore resources available to assist families seeking to adopt a child. Presenters from the Office of Natural Family Planning and Good Shepherd Children & Family Services will share the work of their agencies. Additionally, an adoptive family will share their personal experience working with Good Shepherd in adopting their daughter in 2016 and the assistance they received through the Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Adoption Fund.


9:00 a.m.: Exhibits Open 
9:30 a.m.: Mass
11:30 a.m.: Luncheon Programming & Keynote
2 p.m.: Workshop Session I
3:15 p.m.: Workshop Session II


Registration on or before October 4: $45/ticket
Registration from October 5 to October 13: $50/ticket
Student/Seminarian: $25/ticket
Luncheon tables seat 10. 

To register by mail:

  • Click here to download the fillable registration form. Print and return completed registration form along with payment to the Respect Life Apostolate (20 Archbishop May Dr., St. Louis, MO 63119).
  • Cash or check payment only.

To register online:

To register by phone:

  • Call 314.792.7555 to register by phone.

Advertisements, Exhibit Booths, and Sponsors

Opportunities are available to individuals, organizations, and businesses to be a Convention sponsor, have an exhibit table at the Convention, and advertise in our Convention booklet!  

Information on sponsor, exhibitor, and advertisment are available by clicking here.

Download and complete this form today to secure your spot as a sponsor, exhibitor, or advertisor. There are limited exhibitor spots which are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Deadline for these opportunities is September 1, 2017 so don't miss out!


The Annual Respect Life Convention will again be held at the beautiful and spacious St. Charles Convention Center (1 Convention Center Plaza, St. Charles, MO). Free surface lot parking is available. For information about the Convention Center, please click here.

Please Note: Construction to 5th Street and Fairgrounds  is scheduled to conclude April 2017.  For the latest information on road construction and rerouting, please click here.  


St. Joseph Radio will record the keynote address and all workshops. Recordings are available for purchase following the Convention. 

Promotional Materials

We have promotional posters and brochures available. If you would like some materials for your church, school, or organization to help promote the convention contact the Respect Life Apostolate today!