WARWICK — The Annual Human Life Guild Day is an opportunity for Catholics to come together to pray for and affirm all human life — at all stages. It is also an occasion to learn from speakers, who offer their engaging personal stories and expertise, and discuss challenges facing today’s culture. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at SS. Rose & Clement Church. Bishop Thomas J. Tobin will be the main celebrant and homilist for the 9 a.m. Mass which all are invited to attend.
“First and foremost is the unborn child, no doubt, but there are other stages and circumstances in life that we need to be aware of as the baby in its mother’s womb journeys from beginning of life to end life,” said Carol Owens, director of the Office of Life and Family. “This year’s theme is “Moved by Mercy,” a reminder that all we do in our work in the pro-life movement needs to done with the compassion and love of Jesus.”
Following Mass there will be a brunch and a speaking agenda including guests who will expound on a variety of topics.
One of Human Life Guild Day’s featured speakers will be Kevin Alviti, president of Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island (DSSRI). Alviti will serve as a “Tour Guide Into the World of Down Syndrome,” sharing his moving and personal story of how his faith was tested by a particular doctor who encouraged him and his wife to abort upon discovery that their child, Natalia, had Down Syndrome.
“I wanted to abort,” he said. “At one point, I stopped and said, ‘All I am thinking about is me, I’m not thinking about Natalia. After that I was back on board, I wanted Natalia so bad.”
It was through learning about Down Syndrome and seeking the information he needed, that he came completely around — choosing a wonderful life for his daughter Natalia. He and his family now work diligently to raise awareness about Down Syndrome, offering support and advice to families going through the same diagnosis.
“I am going to share our whole journey. It is so close to my heart,” said Alviti. “That’s what prompted me to join the Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island. I never wanted another parent to feel the pressure and negativity from a doctor telling them that they should abort. My job is to educate people and once I can explain about what Down Syndrome really is, I can almost guarantee you won’t abort.”
Barth E. Bracy, executive director of Rhode Island Right to Life, shared that the annual Human Life Guild Day is one of his favorite pro-life events of the year.
“The speaking program provides an unrivaled opportunity for parish respect life leaders and pro-life activists to hear speakers plumb the depths of Catholic teaching on life and marriage, while also hearing of contemporary opportunities and challenges, the latter usually being the focus of my own words at the event. I have always left feeling inspired, enriched and grateful to have been invited,” said Bracy who will also present a talk entitled “Pray, Get Informed, Vote!”
Father Christopher Mahar, rector of Our Lady of Providence Seminary and Human Life Guild chaplain, will speak of the Church’s teaching on “Amoris Laetitia,” “Familiaris Consortio,” and St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body,” discussing “The Joy of Love,” fertility and fecundity as gift in the Church.
Dr. Nicholas J. Healy, Jr., associate professor at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, will present a lecture on the recent developments in the Catholic doctrine of marriage, discussing “Gaudium et Spes,” “Familiaris Consortio” and “Amoris Laetitia.” The aim of Dr. Healy’s talk is twofold, he explained. First, he will provide an overview of recent magisterial documents on marriage. The second aim of his talk is to reflect on some of the current cultural challenges facing the Church.
“The Second Vatican Council presented a rich teaching on the dignity and vocation of marriage as ‘an intimate partnership of life and love.’” Explained Dr. Healy, referring to “Gaudium et spes.” “The attempt to redefine the nature of marriage, together with the cultural acceptance of contraception, in vitro fertilization, and genetic screening with a view to selective abortion, represents a profound threat to human dignity and human life. A deeper understanding of the sacramentality of marriage and the reality of a child as a gift opens a path for new forms of pastoral care that bear witness to God’s abiding and merciful love.”
For more information, call Carol Owens at 421-7833 ext. 218.
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