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monahan-keyes-framed-2Jeanne Monahan/Alan Keyes

MERIDEN – Ambassador Alan Keyes and Jeanne Monahan will be the keynote speakers at the 14th annual Respect Life Conference, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 19, at Holy Angels Parish Center.

The parish Pro-Life Outreach Ministry plans the day in observance of October as Pro-Life Month.

Dr. Keyes is a conservative political activist, talk show host, author, former diplomat and perennial candidate for public office. He served 11 years with the United States State Department. He also served in the United States Foreign Service and on the National Security Council before becoming President Ronald Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for international organizations. From 1983-95, he was ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

A pro-life champion, he has consistently raised the standard of unalienable rights and biblical truth in defense of the unborn. The title of his talk is “The Righteousness of Rights: Why There Can Be No Rights to Abortion.”

Mrs. Monahan is the president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, which organizes the annual March for Life. The march is held each January on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Before her appointment, she directed the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, serving as the spokesperson on life issues. She also has worked at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

In her talk, titled “The Power of One: Making a Difference,” she will reflect on current cultural realities that either denigrate or uplift the dignity of the human person and the ramifications of those realities. She also will discuss the role each person has in promoting the culture of life.

Participants will be offered a choice of morning workshops with guest speakers Theresa Bonopartis, director of Lumina Hope & Healing After Abortion, an outreach of Good Counsel Homes in the state of New York; Deacon Thomas J. Davis Jr., a deacon at St. Ann Melkite Catholic Church in Danbury, who is associate director of the Pope John Paul II Bioethics Center at Holy Apostles College in Cromwell and is an assistant attorney general of the state of Connecticut; and Elizabeth Gillen, director of the 1st Way Life Center in Enfield since 1984.

Ms. Bonopartis’s workshop is titled “Reaching Out with Compassion to Those Who Have Been Touched by Abortion in Communities, Families and Churches.”

“Loving Life: Physician-Assisted Living and End-of-Life Health Care” is the title of the workshop Deacon Davis will lead.

Ms. Gillen’s workshop is titled “Abortion: The Answer that Prevents Us from Asking the Right Questions.”

Father Robert J. Rousseau, pro-life director for the Archdiocese of Hartford and pastor of St. Augustine Parish in North Branford, will celebrate and preach at a Mass at noon.

Father Rousseau is the founder and a member of the board of directors of Carolyn’s Place, a pregnancy resource center in Waterbury.

Following lunch at 1:30 p.m., Dr. Keyes will deliver the keynote address.

Archbishop Henry J. Mansell will welcome attendees.

There will be exhibits by pro-life agencies.

The $25 registration fee includes hospitality and lunch. Checks, payable to Respect Life Conference (RLC), may be sent to Holy Angels Parish, 585 Main St., South Meriden, CT 06451.

Additional information about the conference or participation with an exhibit is available by calling 203-235-3822 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.