Annie and Mary at Chicago’s Festival of Faith
An old friend from youth ministry, Rachel Clausen of Elmhurst, IL, has come up with a clever spin on the pro-life club idea that I’m excited to share with readers of GFL News. Rather than organize her own small pro-life club, Rachel is reaching out to other youth ministers in the Elmhurst area to start a larger Generations for Life club. This way the youth ministers can share the workload and more kids can be involved.
Contact us if you would like to be involved with Rachel’s group or start a similar “cluster” GFL club in your area. The concept has already been embraced by Diane Herman of Lemont, IL.
I met up with Rachel to discuss her exciting new idea on Oct. 29, only a day after I spoke to the entire student body of Aquin High School way out in Freeport, IL on chastity. This is typical of how busy we have been at Generations since the start of the new school year.
GFL at Chicago’s Festival of Faith
On Oct. 30, Mary and I attended the Youth Day activities at the Archdiocese of Chicago‘s Festival of Faith. Thousands of Catholic teenagers participated in the Youth Day prayers, seminars, and Mass with palpable energy.
During the remainder of the Festival, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, we manned a booth in the Exhibitor’s Hall along with our helper from last summer, John Jansen. We shared information about GFL and the GFL Pro-Life Club Curriculum with hundreds of teachers, principals, parents, and students.
Inspiring Talk by Erika Harold
On November 15, I attended a banquet launching the Chastity Initiative of the Archdiocese of Chicago‘s Respect Life Office, with guest speaker Erika Harold, Miss America 2003. The event was well attended by both teens and adults and gracefully organized by Mary-Louise Kurey, Director of the Respect Life Office.
The charming Erika Harold was an inspiration not only to purity, but to godliness. Her words about the value of being single were especially poignant, capsulized by a scripture she quoted: “The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit” (1 Cor 7:34).
On November 18, Sr. Kathleen invited me to speak to the seventh graders at Sacred Heart in Winnetka, where I had been a youth minister for two years. I knew this class well because my sister, Sarah, had been their teacher in the fourth grade and I used to visit them often. It was wonderful to see this great group of kids again.
More Familiar Territory
After speaking to the St. Cornelius Religious Education students for the third year in a row, I was invited by Principal Marge Campbell of the day school to speak to over 60 seventh and eighth graders about chastity on Nov. 20. St. Cornelius is not far from Albany Abortion Clinic at Elston and Cicero where we sidewalk counsel every Thursday morning. A few students had seen us there but didn’t realize what we were doing. They were horrified to learn there is an abortion clinic in their neighborhood, and some of them said they would come out to pray with us.
For the fourth year in a row I returned to St. Mary’s in Sycamore, IL, where I took my first youth ministry position after college. I spoke to the ninth grade religious education students about chastity on Dec. 3. It’s always a treat to be back in familiar territory.
While in DC for the March for Life, I spoke at the American Collegians for Life conference on the importance of our collaboration in the pro-life moment and encouraged them to get active. Back in Chicago the next day, I gave a presentation with Mary-Louise Kurey at SpeakOut Illinois on how to talk to your children about sex and abortion.
Thriving Pro-Life Clubs
Meanwhile, our GFL pro-life clubs are busy around Illinois and elsewhere. In addition to Diane Herman’s Lemont, IL club, Lena Hudson has started up an active club for homeschooled teens in Wauconda, IL. See the new “Club Updates” section for more on GFL pro-life clubs, and please continue to pray for Generations for Life.