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Respect Life Month’s theme suits new challenge in Kansas

Debra Niesen is the archdiocesan consultant for the pro-life office.

by Debra Niesen

I’ll always remember the question posed to me during an interview the morning after the Aug. 2 “Value Them Both” vote: “Was it all for nothing?”

It has been a blessing getting to talk with many of you these past two months, sharing thoughts and learnings from the “Value Them Both” amendment effort.

As people of faith, we all know this to be true: God is in charge and he will turn all things for good. I hope like me, others seeking understanding found comfort through prayer, Scripture, inspiring homilies and podcasts of archdiocesan clergy, quotes from great saints and in the words of Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann: “Those we cannot protect by law, we will protect through love.”

One of my favorite and truly fitting quotes is from St. Teresa of Kolkata, “God has called us not to be successful, but to be faithful.” Her words free us to keep going, no matter the setbacks. Pro-life faithful know how to persevere — after all, it took 50 years for Roe to fall!

I answered that interviewer by saying no matter the result of the vote, pro-life advocates in Kansas knew we would wake up the next day and continue our work to serve women and families in need and change hearts one person at a time.

An immediate fruit of the “Value Them Both” effort is that many have awoken to the lies and harms of the abortion industry, the reality of Kansas being an abortion “tourism” destination and the necessity to do more to serve women in need.

October is Respect Life Month and the USCCB has chosen the theme “Called to Serve.”

I am incredibly moved by the many in the archdiocese who are responding to this call — parishes saying there is great enthusiasm to start the Walking With Moms program with increased volunteer turnout at meetings; pregnancy resource centers seeing an influx of donations and volunteerism; a new pregnancy center opening in Lansing called Sparrow Women’s Center; groups studying the possibility of opening maternity homes to serve homeless pregnant women; having almost 40 trained “Gabriel Angels” in our Gabriel Project ministry ( with interest from more in new areas of the archdiocese; the Church of the Nativity in Leawood hosting our first respite night for heroic foster families caring for God’s precious children; increasing numbers praying outside of the three abortion facilities in our area; and so much more.

We will continue to love, pray for and serve those who have been hurt by an abortion. We must also do the same for those with whom we disagree so that all may know the dignity of each human life.

“Called to Serve” — how fitting for us in Kansas!

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Debra Niesen

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