by Mickey Kelly
Voices for Life
Pro-lifers in Northeast Philadelphia held their 3rd annual “Rally for Life” at St. Katharine of Siena’s parish on January 20th, just only two days following the National March held in Washington, DC.
The rally brought 120 people from all across the area. The goal of the rally is to learn how to build the future of the movement. The speaking lineup featured millennials who are making a difference in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs. Many of the seasoned pro-lifers gathered are determined to build up a culture of life.
The event began with a prayer and reflection from Deacon Robert Hall of the parish. Connecting to the theme of Sunday’s gospel, Deacon Hall reminded those in attendance to follow Jesus’ “commands, not the culture.”
In his opening remarks, Tom Lacey, a thirty year pro-lifer from St. Dominic’s, reminded those gathered that “the tide is turning” and it’s amazing to see young people get involved in the movement. He even shared a song from “Amazing Grace”, a Broadway play based on William Wilberforce’s fight to end slavery. The song is called “We Are Determined.” It was used to correlate Wilberforce’s relentless efforts to end slavery with pro-lifers ending abortion.
The first to speak was Shannon Donnelly, a school minister from Nazareth Academy High School. She shared firsthand on what it means to stand alone. When attending Cabrini University, she asked the question “Why doesn’t anyone talk about it?” when her school never acknowledged Respect Life Month. She was even disheartened by how the school never promoted her event for Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation, yet it drew fifty people, including a friend who was pregnant and was moved by his message.
“The pro-life issue should be discussed with family and friends.” It helps get “people to think about the issue more.” Says Donnelly.
The next two that speak were Lisa Beck and Peter Berensky from Legacy of Life. Using an analogy of a life lesson growing up, Berensky, a parishioner of Assumption of BVM in Feasterville and former seminarian at St. Charles Borremeo Seminary, reflected on how his mother would make sure all of her children were safe and well. He used her loving example on how the center welcome abortion-minded women.
“Young people long for authenticity and truth.” Berensky shared. The best way to combat the lies of the culture is “with compassion and love.”
The group also took time to acknowledge David and Betty Maier as the recipients of the John Stanton Faithful Servant Awards. It’s named after the founder of the Pro-Life movement of the Philadelphia area. “We hope that our example will inspire more young couples to defend life” said Betty.
Sister Magnificat of the Sisters of Life took time to reflect on the annunciation. Sharing an example of ‘Patty’ when she was in New York, Sister Magnificat shared how she made a difference in her life from the time she lived in her convent to her conversion to the faith. Through the advice their founder received from St. Teresa of Calcutta, we must, “give God permission to love.”
The last to speak was Dr. Monique Ruberu of Immaculate Conception in Jenkintown. She shared how it’s great to attend the March for Life, but we must have one every day of the year. Though it’s easy to be pro-life, we have to make it “a daily commitment. Pro-lifers are a movement of love”