End-of-life decision-making, transgender issues, young adult pro-lifers and embryo adoption are among the topics to be tackled at the annual Respect Life Conference on Oct. 14 at Holy Angels Parish Center in Meriden.
Presented by the parish’s Pro-Life Outreach Ministry, the 18th annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in observance of Pro-Life Month.
After registration and hospitality, participants will be given a choice of morning workshops. Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will welcome all participants and open he conference.
The keynote speaker is Father Thadeusz (Tad) Pacholczyk, Ph.D. A priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Mass., he did laboratory research as an undergraduate on hormonal regulation of the immune response. He earned degrees in philosophy, biochemistry, molecular cell biology and chemistry. He later earned a doctorate in neuroscience from Yale University.'
Father Tad worked for several years as a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He studied for five years in Rome, where he did advanced work in dogmatic theology and in bioethics. He has testified before members of the Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Virginia and Oregon state legislatures during deliberations over stem cell research and cloning. He has given presentations and participated in roundtables on contemporary
bioethics throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. He has done numerous media commentaries, including appearances on “CNN International,” ABC’s, World News Tonight, “NBC Nightly News” and “National Public Radio.” He is director of education for The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia and directs the center’s National Catholic Certification Program in Health Care Ethics.
Father Tad also writes a monthly column on timely life issues.
“End-of-Life Decision-Making: Physician-Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia, Pain Management and Hospice” is the title of Father Pacholczyk’s first talk. His presentation will offer a brief discussion of subjects families face in making morally sound health care decisions for their loved ones in chronic or end-of-life situations, including suffering, physician-assisted suicide, appropriate pain management, and hospice and palliative care.
The second talk is titled “Thinking through the Ethics of the Transgender Question.” This presentation will examine “gender dysphoria” and the expanding medical practice of hormonal treatments and sexual reassignment surgery.
Guest speakers who will moderate the morning workshops are C.J. Williams; Elizabeth B. Rex, Ph.D.; and Michael C. Culhane. Williams is the education and outreach director at Life Matters and program coordinator for the Pro-Life Future young adult network, an initiative of Students for Life of America.
Rex is an adjunct professor of bioethics at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell and the assistant director of its St. John Paul II Bioethics Center. She also is the president of the Children First Foundation, which sponsors “Choose Life” license plates in the Northeast to help fund pregnancy care centers, maternity homes and safe havens. Culhane is the executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference, the public policy office of the
Catholic Church in Connecticut.
The title of Williams’s workshop is “Young Adults: Loud, Proud ... and Pro-life?” Rex will speak about “IVF, Surrogacy and Embryo Adoption: What Does the Catholic Church Teach?” The title of Culhane’s
workshop is “The Role of the Catholic Conference in State Politics.”
After the morning session, Very Rev. Douglas L.Mosey will be the celebrant and homilist at the noon Respect Life Mass. Father Mosey, a member of the Basilian Fathers, is the president/rector of Holy Apostles College and Seminary.
There also will be representatives of or displays by various pro-life agencies.
The $25 registration fee, which includes hospitality and lunch, may be made payable to Respect Life Conference and mailed to Holy Angels Center, 585 Main St., South Meriden, CT 06451. The event is free for priests, deacons, seminarians and religious, although registration isrequired.
The conference is presented by the Pro-Life Outreach Ministry at Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish. Information is available between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. at 203.235.3822, ext. 402.