On Saturday, August 6, 2011, more than 200 parish pro-life leaders from across the Diocese gathered at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Raleigh to hear speakers, share experiences on various pro-life concerns, and to pray. Mrs. Jacqueline Bonk, Director of the Diocesan Office of Pro-Life, welcomed those in attendance and delivered opening remarks summarizing the various tasks and initiatives facing those involved in pro-life ministries. She was followed by Carrie Griffith, Director of Project Rachel in the Diocese, who spoke about the importance of educating Catholics on pro-life issues.
In the afternoon, Mrs. Bonk addressed the need to create effective Respect Life Committees at the parish level. She also explained the challenge of Planned Parenthood and its pro-abortion advocacy. Other speakers discussed public policy concerns and end of life issues. The day-long event concluded with leaders meeting with colleagues from their Deaneries to share questions and observations from their ministries.
After the morning session, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated Mass for the gathering. In his homily, noting that Saturday was the Feast of the Transfiguration, Bishop Burbidge told the pro-life leaders that “like the disciples, we have to go up to the mountain -- in other words, find space and time each day to be alone with the Lord so that we can listen to Him as He speaks to our hearts and gives us the reassurance we need.
“Our work on behalf of the Gospel of Life is never easy and will involve suffering,” the Bishop continued, “but when we do it with the strength that comes from God, with profound trust in His promises, we have every reason to be filled with joyful hope.”
Later, the Bishop expressed his gratitude for the work done by leaders, volunteers and all those who support the Gospel of Life with their prayers. “The great turnout at today’s conference is a very positive sign,” he said. “I’m greatly encouraged by the zeal and commitment of so many in witnessing to the sacredness of human life in all its stages, and to spreading the Gospel of Life in our Diocese and in our society.”
Above: Mrs. Jackie Bonk, Diocesan Pro-Life Director, during presentation at Parish Pro-Life Leaders gathering August 6.
Above: Mrs. Carrie Griffith, Director of Project Rachel, speaking on the importance of educating Catholics on pro-life issues.
Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge at the celebration of Mass for Parish Pro-Life Leaders held at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Raleigh.