October 3, 2008

Archdiocese honors pro-life supporters for their work

By Mary Ann Wyand

The founder and director of Birthright of Terre Haute, a crisis pregnancy assistance ministry started in Vigo County 34 years ago, and a home-schooled Nashville teenager, who volunteers for a variety of pro-life causes, will be honored by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis on Respect Life Sunday.

St. Patrick parishioner Cecelia Lundstrom of Terre Haute will receive the 2008 Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Respect for Life Award, and St. Agnes parishioner Sherry Bube of Nashville will accept the 2008 Our Lady of Guadalupe Pro-Life Youth Award at the conclusion of the Respect Life Sunday Mass.

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein is scheduled to be the celebrant for the archdiocesan pro-life liturgy at 1 p.m. on Oct. 5 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1347 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis.

The annual Central Indiana Life Chain, a one-hour prayer vigil dedicated to ending abortion, will follow the Respect Life Mass from 2:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. along North Meridian Street between Ohio and 40th streets.

Life Chains also are scheduled in the archdiocese on Respect Life Sunday in Bloomington, Columbus, Connersville, Greencastle, Greenfield and Terre Haute.

“Hope and Trust in Life!” is the theme for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national observance of Respect Life Sunday. The theme was inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s homily on Dec. 31, 2007, when he said a lack of hope and trust in life is “the ‘obscure’ evil of modern Western society.”

Servants of the Gospel of Life Sister Diane Carollo, director of the archdiocesan Office for Pro-Life Ministry, said the award recipients exemplify hope in their distinguished volunteer service for the cause of life.

Lundstrom retired as principal of John Paul II Catholic High School, a private secondary school in Terre Haute, last July and continues to teach two classes there.

When the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion during all nine months of pregnancy in its Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, 1973, Lundstrom recalled, she was shocked and knew that she had to do something to stop the killing of unborn babies.

On the first anniversary of Roe, she started Birthright of Terre Haute to help women experiencing crisis pregnancies choose life for their unborn babies.

“I was heartbroken,” she recalled after learning about the Supreme Court decision. “It was and is impossible for me to comprehend the thought that some women in our country would voluntarily take the life of their own offspring. … It was such a profound disappointment because I was under the impression prior to this that the United States of America was the most fair and ideal country that ever existed.”

Lundstrom read about the Birthright International organization founded by Louise Summerhill of Toronto, and decided to organize the volunteer pro-life ministry in Vigo County.

“I think the Holy Spirit … puts it into our hearts when we do something good,” she said. “Many Terre Haute Catholic women came to the Birthright formation meetings because they, too, were severely saddened by the legalization of abortion.”

With the help of Catholic Charities Terre Haute, Lundstrom explained, Birthright volunteers were trained in pro-life telephone counseling.

The Birthright office is located at 227 S. 9th St., in downtown Terre Haute. Office hours are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon.

“We have seven women who volunteer and talk with the girls,” she said. “We’re working to save the life of the child then help the mother bring her child to term. … It’s very emotional, especially if we fail to save the child. … The Terre Haute community has supported us. … Sometimes the mother will bring the child in for us to see. It’s impossible to describe looking at a child that is alive, and you know that you helped save the life of that baby. It’s an extremely emotional event.”

Sherry Bube enjoys doing pro-life volunteer service with her five sisters and parents, Mike and Sharon Bube.

Her church and community service includes parish projects, the national March for Life, the Relay for Life, nursing home visits, and other volunteer efforts to help the poor and defenseless.

She is a peer mentor for the archdiocesan A Promise to Keep: God’s Gift of Human Sexuality chastity program, and helps at St. Agnes Parish as a lector, altar server, extraordinary minister of holy Communion and music minister.

“Babies are such a miracle from God,” Sherry explained. “I would tell [a teenage girl experiencing a crisis pregnancy] that there are options for allowing her baby to live and there is a support group that will help her. I think, if I was in a situation like that, God would help me come up with something [to say] that would touch her life, something that she needs to hear at that time to support her.” †

Local site Links: