It’s that time of year for you, your family, your friends, your parishioners, your neighbors, your enemies, and anybody else you can think of to register for this year’s Bishops’ Pro-Life Banquet and Conference, which you can do at www.necatholic.org.
This year’s event is Sept. 17 and 18 at the Embassy Suites in downtown Lincoln. The theme is “A People of Life & For Life: The Next 25 Years of Evangelium Vitae.” Pope Saint John Paul II gave us a wonderful gift with his beautiful encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), and we are excited to discover how this prophetic work can continue to inspire the pro-life movement into the next 25 years, so that we bring more hearts and minds to the Gospel of Life!
The event begins Friday, Sept. 17 with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by a banquet dinner at 6:30 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan. Archbishop Naumann has been a stalwart in the pro-life movement throughout his priesthood and episcopacy. While our country faces countless attacks on unborn life and conscience rights, Archbishop Naumann is at the helm of leadership on pro-life matters for the U.S. Bishops. Committed to defending the unborn and walking alongside mothers and families in need, you won’t want to miss Archbishop Naumann’s inspiring and edifying keynote.
As a little aside, as much as I love the pro-life conference, I love the banquet even more. Every year, it is an event that re-energizes me for the Church’s pro-life work. There is nothing better than getting together with hundreds of Nebraska’s pro-life leaders for a time of celebration. As well, we get to honor incredible pro-life leaders who further draw me toward courage and greatness. This year will be no different as we get to honor Lisa McInerney of North American Martyrs Parish in Lincoln as our Gospel of Life Award recipient.
Come out and celebrate with us for the banquet, even if that’s the only part you can make. And if you have kids ages 5-12, we are offering free childcare for them; they will have their own little evening of pro-life activities!
As for the conference on Saturday, Sep. 18, you won’t want to miss it, either. We’ve got a great line-up of speakers scheduled.
The morning will focus on renewal of the self, the family, and the political community. Father Sean Kilcawley of the Diocese of Lincoln will focus on how we can renew our own lives. To do the work of the pro-life cause, we must have our own spiritual house in order. Professor Maria Fedoryka of Ave Maria University will speak about renewal of the family. She will address the ways the culture of life can be built through the family. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry will offer a vision for the renewal of the political community, so that the proper pre-conditions are in place for it to truly serve the cause of life.
The afternoon will feature numerous “lighting round” mini-sessions. These will range from pro-life messaging in a digital age, preparing for a post-Roe v. Wade world, combatting the increasing influence of assisted suicide, building up the next generation of pro-life leadership, setting up the family to be pro-life missionaries, and identifying ways to live a consistent ethic of life in a world facing so many other attacks on human dignity. These mini-sessions will be given by a variety of local pro-life leaders, including your friends on staff at the Nebraska Catholic Conference.
As I said, you won’t want to miss out this year. But the event’s success ultimately depends on your attendance and participation. So, again, take some time and register for the event: www.necatholic.org. Invite your friends, family, parishioners, whether they are new to the movement or have been fighting the good fight for years!
Health Standards Update. As a very brief update, last week the Nebraska Department of Education, surprisingly and with little notice, terminated the public comment period on their second draft of the Health Standards.
We at the NCC have provided formal comments to the Nebraska Department of Education. While the second draft was a significant improvement of the first draft, which could hardly have been more problematic, there remains several outstanding issues which need resolved.
We will continue to keep you updated on their development. In the meanwhile, continue to remain vigilant to education matters in your local communities, especially regarding human sexuality and sex education.