September 30, 2005

Archdiocese honors pro-life supporters
for their work

By Mary Ann Wyand

St. Susanna parishioner Karen Burkhart of Plainfield, the Indiana death penalty abolition coordinator for Amnesty International, will be honored with the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Respect Life Award and Sacred Heart of Jesus parishioner Jennifer Wulf of Terre Haute will receive the Our Lady of Guadalupe Pro-Life Youth Award during the archdiocesan Respect Life Sunday Mass at 1 p.m. on Oct. 2 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein will celebrate the pro-life Mass and present the annual archdiocesan pro-life awards in recognition of their outstanding leadership in promoting the sanctity and dignity of life. Father Kevin Morris, pastor of St. Susanna Parish, will concelebrate the liturgy, which is open to the public.

In addition to 30 years of abolition work for Amnesty International on the international, national and state levels, Karen Burkhart is a member of the faith formation commission and liturgy committee at St. Susanna Parish. She also assists with the parish ministry to offenders incarcerated at the Plainfield Correctional Facility by coordinating a twice-a-month Bible study group and serving as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion at the prison.

Father Morris said Burkhart is “the wonderful wife and mother of a warm, giving, loving family,” and will “jump in and try to help whenever there is an activity in the parish.”

Burkhart and her husband, Joseph, are the parents of one son, Michael, who is a junior at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis.

“I’ve been a member of Amnesty International since 1975, beginning as a student,” she said. “We won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977, and as a member I’m actually a Nobel Prize winner.”

The Catholic faith is based on respecting life and loving others, Burkhart said. “God said we are made in his image and likeness, … and we need to be looking for him in everyone that we see.”

Janet Roth, youth ministry coordinator of Sacred Heart, St. Ann and St. Benedict parishes in Terre Haute, said Jennifer Wulf is “a perfect example of a young person who promotes the Gospel of Life, … lives her Catholic faith and serves as an inspiration to all who know her.”

The daughter of David and the late Kimberly Wulf, Jennifer is a member of the Archdiocesan Youth Council, participates in the Terre Haute Deanery’s annual Peace and Justice Retreat, and finds time to help with many church, school and community service projects.

“Jennifer has a strong faith and is a person of prayer,” Roth said. “She takes the time to learn more about factors that contribute to the oppression of others and seeks ways to work toward making the world a better place.”

Twice, she has participated in the annual March for Life held in January in Washington, D.C., as well as the annual Life Chain on Respect Life Sunday in the archdiocese. She also helps serve the poor at Nazareth Farm in West Virginia and Indiana’s Nazareth Farm in Brown County. Last summer, she helped build a Habitat for Humanity home for a low-income family in Terre Haute.

“The sanctity of human life is so important and it’s so neglected in our society,” Jennifer said. “I think it’s really important to volunteer in my community and get my friends involved with me.”

Respect Life Sunday events will focus on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ educational campaign to end violence in all its forms. The national theme for the annual pro-life observance to be celebrated by Catholics in dioceses throughout the country is “Help Build a World Where Human Life Is Always Loved and Defended, Every Form of Violence Banished.”

After the liturgy, pro-life supporters from many denominations will assemble along North Meridian Street at 2:30 p.m. for the 15th annual Central Indiana Life Chain to spend an hour praying for an end to abortion. †


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