Respect Life Rally and Mass 2014: Delivering The Right Message To Our Youth

"All life has inestimable value. Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect." Pope Francis  

The Pope's powerful words remind us that every human being are all masterpieces of God's creation. In our Catholic school community, we are therefore called to respect every human life and listen and respond to that call by utilizing our resources to help educate future generations about the sanctity of life. On Wednesday, April 30th, St. Benedict Catholic School eighth graders of Holmdel, New Jersey were invited to participate in the Respect Life Rally and Mass at St. John Vianney High School. In preparation for the Rally, the students of SJV posted a banner on the school's front lawn for "Loving Life 2014," along with 1000 crosses, each one representing the 56,000 lives, a total of 56 million, lost to abortion in the US. The Rally consisted of three sessions of motivational talks for St. Benedict School eighth graders and entire SJV high school body and staff; the content of these messages touched specifically on the issue of abortion and referenced other life issues, powerfully reminding them that we are all God's gifts and life is our greatest gift. The speakers were Colleen Kelly Rayner, a local Catholic speaker; Rachel Hendricks, alumna of SJV and past president of the Monmouth Coastal Respect Life Committee; Nathan Maurer and Donna Goodwin, Respect Life and Chanelle Leonhardt from Generation Life. Coordinator for the Diocese of Trenton, as well as the daughter of Joseph A. Mazzella, whom the grant  for this Rally is named after, were also present. 

Catholic motivational speaker, Colleen Kelly Rayner was particularly impactful when she reminded the students that there are 86,400 seconds in the day and we make choices every second, and encouraged them to, "make the right choice out of faith, not fear." Today's youth are especially challenged with a multitude of media delivering the wrong messages. St. John Vianney's Campus Minister & Coordinator of Christian Services Jeff Johnson felt that it was particularly important to start the dialogue now about Pro Life, at this important age group, where they are faced with choices to respect life and need to hear it now, not later. 

So was the faith-filled message delivered? The eighth graders of St. Benedict School were wowed by the presentations and came back with a unanimous, "That was awesome!" reaction.

The day concluded with a school Mass in the gym. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Dan Kirk of St. Benedict assisted by Deacon Matt Nicosia, parent of SJV junior Matthew Nicosi, and member of St. Thomas More, Manalapan. 

St. Benedict School and staff members were excited to participate and partake in this unique opportunity in our Catholic school community.


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