WESTERLY — With the joys of Ecclesiastes in mind, which tells us that to everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven, St. Clare Parish, on May 4, hosted the first annual evening of “A Toast to Life & Liberty!”, an event conceived and organized by Maria Parker, former coordinator of the diocesan Office of Life & Family.
Three speakers, Lisa Cooley, coordinator of the Office of Life & Family; Barth Bracy, director of Rhode Island Right to Life; and Kiki Latimer, executive director of Choices Women’s Pregnancy Center in Westerly, shared their expertise respectively concerning education and resources in Rhode Island for women in need, and discussed pressing local and federal legislative concerns surrounding issues of life. As the gathering sought God’s pastoral divine guidance on these issues, harpist Maria Shaver entertained with her enchanting music while an evening of wine, cheese and great conversation was shared by the 75 people in attendance.
While the sorrowful issues of abortion and euthanasia were being addressed, as well as the needs associated with them, both legally and pastorally, the night was directed to the hope all must continue to have in the grace of Christ Jesus. The underlying message was that a call to action in cooperation with God’s grace is the key to the continuity of our dearly held beliefs in the intrinsic right to life for all persons, born and preborn, young and old, as well as our inherent right to religious liberty.
The discussions of the evening focused on how liberties will be found and remain in existence only in a land where people have the courage to act on their convictions, whether it be by writing letters to the editors of the secular press and to local legislators, or helping to provide resources for men, women and children in need, or stepping forward to help in local outreach to pregnant women.
Attendees were told that we cannot wait to act until we feel confident to act; we must act because God calls us to act and because he is there with his sufficient grace even when we are afraid.
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