MERIDEN – The 17th annual Respect Life Conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Holy Angels Parish Center in South Meriden.
Presented by the parish Pro-Life Outreach Ministry, the day is part of the observance of October as Pro-Life Month.
Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will welcome participants and open the conference.
Mother Dolores Hart of the Order of St. Benedict of the Strict Observance, dean of education at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, will be the keynote speaker.
Mother Dolores turned her back on Hollywood in 1963 when she left a coveted contract at Paramount films to enter a cloistered monastery. Between 1957 and 1962, she made 11 highly successful feature films, including “Loving You” and “King Creole” with Elvis Presley, and the very popular “Where the Boys Are.”
Mother Dolores has received numerous awards from the church, including, most recently, the Christopher Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of her commitment to promote excellence in the arts and serve the church through her profession. With the late Dick Deneut, Mother Dolores wrote The Ear of the Heart.
“From Hollywood to Holy Vows” is the title of her talk.
Guest speakers who will moderate the morning workshops are Alicia Kinsman, Lynn Campbell, Bill and Wendy McCloskey, Deacon David W. Reynolds and Very Rev. Douglas L. Mosey of the Basilian Fathers.
Ms. Kinsman is the managing attorney for the legal immigration program at the International Institute of Connecticut (IICONN), which serves over 3,000 clients and their families each year. She provides legal representation in immigration matters to victims of trafficking and other crimes; offers immigration law training to pro bono attorneys, volunteers and law enforcement; and speaks throughout the state to raise awareness of the issue of humanitarian relief for foreign born victims of crimes.
Lynn Campbell, executive director of the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry, will provide practical ways individuals and parishes can combat trafficking.
The title of their workshop is “Stolen Lives: A Gospel Response to Human Trafficking.”
The McCloskeys live in Somers. One of their daughters died when she was just six days old from a chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 13. The McCloskeys started a foundation in her memory, the Macie Grace Foundation. They facilitate a bereavement support group for parents and families in Hartford.
Their session is titled “Families Who Have Lost a Child.”
NARAL’s National Attack on Pro-Life Pregnancy Care Centers: Are Connecticut Centers the Next Target?” is the title of Deacon Reynolds’s workshop.
Deacon Reynolds, a registered lobbyist, promotes the agenda of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference (CCPAC), the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops. His responsibilities include tracking legislative issues of interest to the church, grassroots organizing, legislative research and discussing the church’s views on public policies with legislators and various groups. Also a permanent deacon, he serves the linked parishes of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Harwinton and Immaculate Conception in New Hartford. He also is chair of the board of the Two Hearts Pregnancy Care Center in Torrington.
Father Mosey is president-rector of Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell. He will be the celebrant and homilist at a respect-life Mass at noon.
The $25 registration fee includes hospitality and lunch. It is free for priests, deacons, seminarians and men and women religious.
Checks, payable to Respect Life Conference, may be sent to Holy Angels Parish, 585 Main St., South Meriden, CT 06451. Information is available by calling 203-235-3822 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.