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Belmont Abbey students inspired by Archbishop Chaput's keynote address at John Cardinal O'Connor Conference
WASHINGTON, D.C. — At the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., opportunities abounded for education, prayer and activism, allowing pilgrims to multi-task on their pilgrimage.
For students from Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, their trip this year included the day-long John Cardinal O'Connor Conference held at Georgetown University, where the students who had organized the event brought in world-class speakers including Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. of Philadelphia, to solidly map out a success plan for the pro-life message.
Archbishop Chaput focused primarily on the importance of winning back the medical and political professions to the pro-life cause.
"American Catholics have tried to fit in," he said. "but now, we have allowed people who don't respect us to get in charge."
He admonished the 750 conference attendees – mostly college aged students – to become doctors and politicians.
"It is going to be your responsibility to change things," he explained. "The government is getting less willing to provide the ability to conscientious objection. But everyone is entitled to conscientious objection. So often people ask me, 'What should we do when it's against the law?' The answer is to go to jail. That's what we should do."
Archbishop Chaput also spent a considerable amount of his address on the joy of accepting a child with a physical disability rather than succumbing to the pressure and temptation to abortion.
"No child is perfect," he explained. "The choice of accepting a child with special needs is a choice of love or un-love. These children are not a burden – they are a gift to all of us."
In deciding to attend the O'Connor Conference this year, Belmont Abbey College campus minister Tricia Stevenson noted, "My student leadership is comprised entirely of freshmen; they don't even know about all of this yet!"
Belmont Abbey College sophomores Clare Miller and Brigid Wilson said they were galvanized by the archbishop's words.
"I am inspired to strive harder in my studies for the sake of the pro-life cause," said Wilson, "especially to help post-abortion women."
"Abortion kills a child and wounds a precious part of a woman's own dignity," Archbishop Chaput told the students gathered at the conference. "Pour your efforts into building a culture of life."
— Mary B. Worthington, correspondent
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FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy