In addition, we want to thank Fr. Greg Galvin, the Vocations Director for the Diocese of Norwich, for celebrating Mass and Fr. Sam Fuller, from St. Pius X in Middletown, for concelebrating. The Mass was really beautiful, the homily was more than edifying and in keeping with just about every issue covered in the day’s sessions (and those seminarians and students at Holy Apostles sure can chant! To have the ancient music of the Church washing over us was so haunting, a reminder that we are, after all, pilgrims …)
The pizza from No Anchovies in Cromwell for lunch was very good (Thank you, Connecticut Right to Life, for shelling out for the pizza!) and Holy Apostles supplied a salad bar and drinks. The food service and maintenance workers at Holy Apostles were just as nice as they could be, beyond kind to us! Usually when an institution gets a large influx of strangers in for the day, the staff can be a bit crabby. Not these folks … they could not have done enough for us. During lunch, we heard from our own Ella Beckman, who gave a short talk on Y-LIFE, Mary Lou Peters who spoke about the 40 Days for Life, Bill O'Brien from Connecticut Right to Life Corporation, Jeremiah Rankin, Executive Director of iFIC, the youth wing of the Family Institute of Connecticut, Chris D'Amore, representing St. Gerard's Center for Life and Brother Michael, speaking on behalf of Holy Apostles LIfe League, particularly those who pray at Hartford Gyn on Saturdays and then come back to Holy Apostles for a Holy Hour. Thank you to all of you for taking time out of your day to come and talk to us. It is really amazing how much good is going on in the pro-life movement on so many levels, and how many chances there are for involvement.
Next, we want to thank our speakers. Please see their links on the sidebar. Sean Forrest livened up the Conference participants and gave us a lot to think about going into the break-out sessions. Sister Nancy Piecewicz’s presentation on Euthanasia was excellent, full of history and chilling statistics that either held us captivated or had us busily scrawling notes. Her love and respect for the elderly she works with was palpable, making this talk more than poignant. Mike Barnett of ALL was inspiring and practical at the same time and had young people streaming out of his session brimming over with ideas on how to either start or jumpstart a youth or campus pro-life group. Deacon John Trambley armed the attendees at his session with the truth about stem-cell research, so when the inevitable know-it-all says the equally inevitable, “The Church is against stem cell research,” those who attended Deacon John’s session will not be standing there befuddled and unable to correct the present outbreak of “soundbiteitis,” which is rife and cannot be cured by coughing into your elbow. The second breakout session included talks by attorneys Brian Hoeing and Cal Anderson on how abortion is the civil rights issue of our day, essentially clearing away the defensive posture that many pro-lifers take when pro-abortion folk get in their faces about “a woman’s right to choose” … abortion is no less than the marginalization of a whole class of human beings in order to deny them their rights, and it doesn’t end with the preborn … the slippery slope is fast becoming a rocky abyss, if it hasn’t already. Fr. Reggie Norman took the hard truth about abortion in the black community and laid it out for a mostly white audience, and it brought up the uncomfortable reality that a lot of goodhearted people are clueless about how to reach women who are convinced that they cannot trust anyone: persons, organizations or institutions. The fact that there are 3000 black children in the system here in Connecticut waiting for adoption is pretty scandalous, and his talk gave us a lot to think about. His solution: “You have to see Christ in everyone. No matter what.” He also told us to keep praying outside the abortion mills and to give, when asked, a reason for the hope in us. And for heaven’s sake … learn the Bible! Many black people come from a strong Bible tradition and don’t suffer Bible dummies gladly. And finally, Nicole Peck and the Missionaries for Life brought home the fact that this culture with abortion on demand and all the things that lead up to abortion is bad for women, bad for men and bad for children. Women are no longer willing to shut up and get on with their lives, acting like abortion is like any other medical procedure. A lot of women are coming to realize that a lifestyle that requires killing their unborn children for its existence was never good for women, and ends up destroying love which ruins the surrounding culture.
The day ended with a Holy Hour which included the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and an opportunity for the attendees to go to Confession.
Y-Life would also like to thank all the attendees … giving up a gorgeous last Saturday in September to participate in the Conference was a sacrifice in and of itself. We hope you took away a lot of useful information and comfort in knowing that there are many people out there working to end the culture of death and bring forth that culture of life and love that our suffering world yearns for. Attendees included young people and youth or campus group advisors from: the University of Hartford Catholic Campus Ministry, Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, St. Augustine Church in North Branford, Magdalen College in Warner, New Hampshire, St. Pius X Church in Middletown, Mercy High School in Middletown, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury, St. Therese Church in Granby, The Academy of the Holy Family in Baltic, St. Francis of Assisi in Naugatuck, the Connecticut Right to Life Corportation and of course, Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell.
Last, but in no way, shape or form, least, we would like to thank Our Blessed Mother who did not "leave us unaided." Thank you, Mother Mary, for your prayers on our behalf.
To end this pretty long posting, we are going to steal a quote from the foundress of the Sisters of Charity (these are the Sisters who run the Academy of the Holy Family), Mother Marie Alma, because it applies to our excellent presenters and speakers:
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May God, the Author of LIFE keep us all, and God willing, we'll see you all again at the 2nd Annual Y-LIFE Pro-Life Youth Conference in 2010 (if not before during the 40 Days for Life, the CRLC banquet Oct.24, the Janet Smith talk Nov. 21, praying out in front of one of the abortion mills all year long, or one of the many other pro-life activities going on in our sad, blue state)!