by Kara Hansen
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It’s a whole day dedicated to life.
Co-sponsored by the archdiocese and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, the second annual Gospel of Life convention will be held April 18 at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park.
The day begins with registration at 8 a.m., followed by a variety of speakers selected for their pro-life expertise and ability to teach, inspire, and energize Catholics around the church’s teachings on life.
“This will be an exceptional event which features several distinguished speakers, including Dr. Janet Smith,” said Ron Kelsey, archdiocesan consultant to the pro-life office. “Over one million copies of her talk ‘Contraception: Why Not’ have been distributed.”
Smith has taught at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Dallas, and currently teaches at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. She holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart. Smith serves as a consultor to the Pontifical Council on the Family and is the author of “Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later” and “Why Humanae Vitae Was Right: A Reader.”
Smith’s talk for the Gospel of Life conference is entitled: “Creating a Culture That Is Open to the Blessings of Children and Free from Contraception, Abortion, and Other Ills.”
“Catholics have been charged by Christ and the church to build a civi- lization of love,” said Smith. “They will learn why our culture has become a culture of death. What ways of thinking have led us to support or tolerate abortion? Why are there more and more efforts to legalize assisted suicide? What are Christian values that we need to support to help build a cul- ture of life?”
Bishop Robert Finn is giving the opening keynote address and Archbishop Joseph Naumann is celebrating the closing Mass. In addition to Smith’s talk, there will be a breakout session for teenagers; adults have the option of choosing from sessions on Planned Parenthood, how abortion affects women and how Project Rachel helps them, and new developments in the stem-cell debate.
Kelsey will co-lead a session on how to motivate, educate, equip, and effectively activate your parish in pro-life advocacy. This year’s theme is: “You Are Called to Stand Up For Life.” Kelsey said the convention was an important way for Catholics to become better able to evangelize and share their faith.
“Catholics must bring Christ to the culture around us; we must become evangelists. We need to become more like Christ — more in love with God the Father, more ready to sacrificially challenge the culture around us,” said Smith. “We must be more in love with the church Christ established.”
“Many of the church’s teachings are difficult to understand,” she continued. “To be effective evangelizers we must know our own culture and know the reasons for the difficult truths we need to advance. This event should help Catholics know both their faith and the culture better.”
Child care is available.
Participants are encouraged to begin the day by praying at a local abortion clinic between 7 and 8 a.m.
To find out more about the Gospel of Life convention or to register online, go to the Web site at: www.RespectLife Missouri.org. Advance registrations are due by April 13.
If you have questions, call the archdiocesan pro-life office at (913) 647- 0350 or send an e-mail to: prolife@ archkck.org.