Gathering at St. Mary Magdalen Parish focuses on issues that ‘drain and chip away at our sanctity of life’
BY ANNA WEAVER
Marriage and family issues, abortion, bioethics, secularism and human trafficking are among the array of pro-life issues being spotlighted at an all-day gathering Oct. 19.
Carol Loya, left, of Holy Family Parish in Kirkland traveled to Thailand last year to help workers like this young woman get into a safe house and out of the sex trade. Photo: Courtesy Carol Loya
"Life is Sacred: A Conference of ProLife Ministries," is being organized and hosted by St. Mary Magdalen Parish. Archbishop J. Peter Sartain will celebrate the opening Mass; keynote speaker is Tom Curran of Sound Insight. The event includes presentations in Spanish and Vietnamese.
Father Hans Olson, St. Mary Magdalen pastor, has long wanted to host such an event to bring more "awareness of what we ourselves can do to fight against anti-life legislation and attitudes," said Dawn Myers, the parish's pro-life ministry coordinator.
St. Mary Magdalen's pro-life committee also wanted to make sure the conference included a variety of life issues, such as bioethics and human trafficking, Myers said. "There are more attacks on life than just abortion," she said. "All are issues that drain and chip away at our sanctity of life."
One of the conference speakers, Carol Loya of Holy Family Parish in Kirkland, has combatted human and sex trafficking in Western Washington, in Thailand and beyond. Working to raise trafficking awareness throughout the archdiocese, Loya said she hopes the conference will get Catholics to be more vigilant about spotting trafficking.
"You really don't see it unless you are aware of it," Loya said. "Because people really think that it's happening in other places and they don't realize it's happening right here in Bellevue and Kirkland and Seattle."
The conference will begin with Curran's keynote presentation, "What's at stake in being pro-life?" He will also present a workshop on intimacy in marriage. Other speakers include:
• Mark P. Shea, writer, speaker and "Words of Encouragement" radio host, who will talk about family life.
• Sarah Bartel, who earned a doctorate in moral theology and ethics from The Catholic University of America, will speak on bioethics.
• Angela Connelly, co-founder and president of the women's pro-life advocacy group Washington Women's Network, who will focus on abortion.
• Valerie L. Call Jacobs, coordinator of the Project Rachel post-abortion healing ministry in Western Washington for 10 years. Her presentation will include testimonies in Spanish and English by those who have attended Rachel's Vineyard Healing Retreats.
• Christian Spencer, St. Mary Magdalen's pastoral assistant for adult faith formation, who will talk about Catholics and secular culture.
LIFE IS SACRED
When: Saturday, Oct. 19, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
October 04, 2013