Joe Scheidler (right) with St. Joseph Right to Life County President Tom Gill [Photo by Ann Scheidler]
On Thursday, October 6, I gave the keynote address at the 20th anniversary celebration of St. Joseph County Right to Life in South Bend, Indiana. I had also been the speaker at the group’s inaugural banquet, way back in March 1992.
I congratulated Indiana on its decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood, a move that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius immediately objected to, claiming that Indiana had no right to make such a determination. I assured the crowd that many other states are watching the drama over de-funding Planned Parenthood, with the aim of taking the same action. The Indiana law is presently awaiting a ruling from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, likely to come in early 2012.
“Ora et Labora”: Prayer Leads to Action
I emphasized the importance of prayer and action in our battle against abortion. As a former Benedictine seminarian, I still adhere to St. Benedict’s motto, Ora et Labora—Pray and Work. “Remember that motto. To pray, then to work, in that order. Prayer is essential,” I told my audience. “But it is not enough. We have to take action to change the culture.”
Among the 400 attendees at the banquet was Zane Trinkley, a classmate of mine from Notre Dame’s class of 1950. Zane serves as secretary of the Notre Dame Alumni Association. Also attending the banquet were many members of various pro-life organizations at Notre Dame University. Since 2009 when the Pro-Life Action League protested the University’s invitation to Barack Obama to be the commencement speaker and receive an honorary doctor of laws degree, there has been an increase in pro-life activity on campus, particularly among faculty members.
Time with Pro-Lifers Well Spent
Also in attendance were several members of my family: Niece Rita Lyden and her husband, Packy, niece Alicia Nagy and her husband, John, and Alex Scheidler and his wife, Nicole, all of whom are actively involved in the pro-life movement and work at the University.
The 20th anniversary celebration included the presentation of two awards to members of St. Joseph County Right to Life. The Pillar of Life Award was presented to Ray and Anne Black, who have been active in the organization since its inception. The Annette M. Macknick Courage Award was presented posthumously to Virginia Black. Joe Scheidler had worked closely with both Annette Macknick and Virginia Black over the past 20 years.
The Brother John Lavelle Scholarship was awarded to local Bethel College student Corrie Ann Belobraydich for her tireless work to raise awareness of the destructive consequences of abortion and her promotion of the pro-life message on campus.
As always, I found this evening spent in the company of pro-lifers to be an enjoyable and energizing experience.