Respect Life Apostolate

 

Respect Life Apostolate

The Respect Life Apostolate (RLA) promotes the Catholic Church’s teachings on respect for and legal protection of every human life from conception to natural death by coordinating educational, spiritual, pastoral, and public policy advocacy efforts with particular focus on those issues in the culture that threaten life - abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and unethical advances in scientific technology.

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A Pro-Life Generation!

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Hear some of our Archdiocese youth share why they are pro-life and chose to participate in this year's March for Life!

January: A Time for Prayer, Reflection, and Witness

Every January, we remember the United States Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion in our country.

On January 17, hundreds gathered at the Cathedral Basilica for the RLA’s Annual Roe v. Wade Memorial Mass celebrated by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson. Joining him were half a dozen priests as well as numerous seminarians from Kenrick Glennon. The Mass was immediately preceded by a Rose Procession, consisting of individuals born every year since 1973 honoring their peers lost to abortion. RoseDuring the homily, Archbishop Carlson reminded all gathered that “we are called to witness our faith as Jesus did, never afraid of those who opposed him,” words that were put into action following Mass with a Rosary procession to Planned Parenthood. A powerful witness was made as hundreds gathered to offer the Sorrowful Mysteries outside of the abortion facility.

On January 22, 2,000 youth, young adults, and chaperones on the Generation Life pilgrimage and hundreds of others from our Archdiocese joined 500,000 others in the March for Life in our nation’s capital. The sheer magnitude of the crowd combined with the prayerful exuberance was truly inspirational. Several of these young people shared their reasons for being pro-life here. With pro-life hearts such as these, we have much reason to hope that abortion will soon no longer be legal or desired by anyone.

Beyond the March, pilgrims partook in other spiritual and educational activities, ranging from the Youth Rally and Mass for Life at the DC Armory to the National Prayer Vigil for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Generation Life pilgrims got to hear from pro-life speakers such as the Sisters of Life and Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation.

Cathedral Holy HourMeanwhile, numerous parishes held their own special prayer opportunities to allow all to join in prayer for an end to abortion. For example, young adults from around the Archdiocese gathered at the Cathedral Basilica for a special Holy Hour and pro-life Rosary. The event, sponsored by the RLA and the Office of Young Adult Ministry, drew over 60 young adults in addition to a dozen seminarians.

Although it has been 42 years since the legalization of abortion and it is easy to become discouraged when we reflect on the number of lives lost, there is hope. We know that much is being done materially, legally, and spiritually to end abortion.  Let us all work together so that we will no longer have to commemorate Roe v. Wade, but rather live in a country where every human person is respected as a child of God.

St. Monica Youth

38th Annual Respect Life Convention a Success

On Sunday, October 28th, the Respect Life Apostolate welcomed nearly 800 attendees to its 38th Annual Respect Life Convention.  The day-long convention, held at the St. Charles Convention Center, reflected on the theme "Respect God's Masterpieces."  The day included Mass, luncheon, numerous speakers, exhibits, and an opportunity to network with like-minded pro-lifers.  Present were families, young adults, parish pro-life coordinators, representatives from other area pro-life organizations, and elected officials.

ICD Youth GroupDuring the luncheon program, the winners of the Bishop McNicholas and Cardinal Carberry awards were announced.  The youth group from Immaculate Conception Parish in Dardenne Prairie took home the Bishop McNicholas award for their pro-life service efforts.  The ICD youth group, led by youth minister Kristina Radley, have been regular attendees at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. as well as the monthly Helpers of God's Precious Infants Mass and 40 Days for Life.  The youth have also been involved in a wide variety of service projects focused on upholding the dignity of all human life.   

Photo by Lisa JohnstonThe winners of the Cardinal Carberry award were Emily Newsham and Jim Reardon.  Both Emily and Jim have been long-time volunteers at the Respect Life Convention as well as being involved in the parish pro-life groups and March for Life bus captains.  Jim is a parishoner of St. Alban Roe and was part of the first pro-life gathering in downtown St. Louis in 1973.  For him, the 1973 Roe decision was particularly touching since his youngest son was born in January of 1973.  Emily is a parishoner at St. Paul Parish in St. Paul and has been described by friends as being "100% volunteer with a servant heart."  In accepting the award Emily noted, "When you're in it for life, you're in it for life!"

The highlight of the day was the keynote presented by Melissa Ohden.  Melissa shared how she discovery the real story behind her birth and life, as a survivor of a failed saline abortion.  Far from being tragic or full of hatred, however, Melissa's story showed the beauty of God's remarkable love.  Through God's great timing, she was able to meet her biological paternal grandparents and share with them the joy of her oldest daughter, Olivia.  Her keynote was a reminder that abortion is not an abstract concept, but one with a face and a name and how much our prayers and pro-life efforts can make a difference.  (News coverage of Melissa's address is available here.)

Dr. ReardonFollowing the luncheon and keynote address, attendees had the opportunity to select from a variety of workshop presentations.  Presenters included Dr. David Reardon, Nancy Valko, RN, Tyler McClay, and Sheryl Crosier.  An adoption panel presented the perspectives of those who had made an adoption plan for their child, adoptive parents, and Archdiocesan efforts to assist adoptive families.  Additionally, a panel of young adults presented tips and information to help young people remain pro-life on college campuses and at work.

Attendees also had the opportunity to visit with over 45 exhibitors.  Exhibitors included pro-life organizations and other Catholic vendors sharing information about their programs and services as well as selling merchandise.Knights of Columbus Exhibit

Overall, the day was a great success, allowing attendees to be nourished spiritually and intellectually.  Attendees left armed with new information to share with family, friends, and fellow parishoners and were inspiried to continue building the Culture of Life.  A heartfelt thanks to all of the staff and volunteers who helped make the day possible.  

If you missed the Convention this year, make plans to join us for the 39th Annual Convention next October!

Keynote

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