On Saturday, September 15, 2012, more than 100 people gathered at Our Lady of Lourdes in Raleigh to attend the Respect Life Conference, sponsored by the Diocese of Raleigh. Fr. John Forbes, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, began the conference with the celebration of Mass.
Presentations covered a range of topics, including the formation of conscience, capital punishment, bioethics and defending our fundamental right of religious freedom. The Respect Life teaching of the Church covers all aspects of the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. In addition to the topics noted above, the teaching also includes poverty, homelessness and immigration.
Mrs. Jackie Bonk, Director of the Diocesan Office of Pro-Life, presented a talk titled “Building a Culture of Life Following the Vision of Pope John Paul II.” Mrs. Bonk emphasized the importance for Catholics to focus on prayer, outreach, advocacy and education. “It’s fair to say we’re doing all of those things … but you can’t advocate or get involved unless you’re educated on the issues and how they relate to our Catholic teaching,” she said.
“We are a people of life, and a people for life,” said speaker Cathy Jarboe of the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End Use of the Death Penalty. Mrs. Jarboe referred attendees to her organization’s website, which provides resource material from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the question of capital punishment.
The conference was an opportunity to learn the Church’s teachings. Rudy Poglitsh and Joan Beall traveled to Raleigh from Kitty Hawk in order to gain a better understanding of Diocesan Respect Life goals and programs.
Parishioners of Holy Redeemer by the Sea, Mr. Poglitsh and Mrs. Beall are part of a team that recently opened a thrift store to generate funds for a crisis pregnancy center. “We have been amazed. It reinstates your faith … it gives you more energy,” said Mrs. Beall, who was pleased that Mrs. Bonk spoke about Diocesan initiatives on issues facing voters in the upcoming election.
For many who attended the conference, it was an opportunity to share, collaborate, question and pray together.
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Above: Cathy Jarboe, Catholic Mobilizing Network, discussing Catholic teaching on capital punishment at Diocesan Respect Life Conference. Click photo to view larger.
Below: Diocesan faithful attending Respect Life Conference held at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Raleigh. Click photo to view larger.