September 30, 2011

Respect Life Month

Archdiocese honors pro-life supporters for their service

By Mary Ann Garber

A woman who tirelessly promotes Church teachings about the sanctity of life and a teenager who enthusiastically volunteers as a pro-life cheerleader are the recipients of the 2011 archdiocesan Respect Life awards.

St. Mary parishioner Dianna Meinecke of Navilleton and Bishop Chatard High School senior Victoria Nondorf, a member of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis, will receive distinguished pro-life volunteer service awards during the archdiocesan Respect Life Sunday Mass at 1 p.m. on Oct. 2 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1347 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis.

Msgr. Joseph Schaedel, pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis and director of the archdiocesan Mission Office, is the principal celebrant.

The public is invited to participate in the liturgy with representatives of 38 Catholic parishes, schools and organizations from most of the 11 archdiocesan deaneries.

After the Mass, pro-life supporters will join the Central Indiana Life Chain, a peaceful, prayerful pro-life vigil from 2:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. along North Meridian Street in Indianapolis.

Life Chains also are scheduled in the archdiocese in Bedford, Bloomington, Brazil, Columbus, Connersville, Greencastle, Milan and Terre Haute.

A mother’s love

St. Mary parishioner Dianna Meinecke of NavilletonServants of the Gospel of Life Sister Diane Carollo, director of the archdiocesan Office for Pro-Life Ministry, said Meinecke will receive the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Respect Life Award for her efforts to promote respect for life and greater holiness of families by establishing a Confraternity of Christian Mothers chapter at St. Mary Parish in Navilleton.

She said Meinecke’s “commitment reveals that the liberating message of the Gospel of Life has ever new ways of being communicated and lived in the world today.”

Meinecke was nominated by Gayle Schrank, pastoral associate, and Conventual Franciscan Father Pius Poff, pastor of the New Albany Deanery parish.

“Dianna Meinecke has been a pro-life advocate as long as I have known her,” Schrank said, “and she is always supportive of Church and family life.”

Schrank said the confraternity’s mission is to foster “the Christian home education of children by truly Christian mothers.”

The mother of three grown daughters participates in the annual 40 Days for Life prayer vigils in front of an abortion center in downtown Louisville.

Schrank said Meinecke’s pro-life witness is “a true beacon of Christ’s light.”

Meinecke said she “has always been pro-life—even back to 1973 when Roe vs. Wade was decided. … It is wrong to kill unborn babies. … We also need to have respect for elderly people, … for all people at both ends of the life spectrum.”

A cheerleader’s voice

Bishop Chatard High School senior Victoria Nondorf, a member of St. Pius X Parish in IndianapolisSister Diane said Bishop Chatard cheerleader Victoria Nondorf will receive the Our Lady of Guadalupe Pro-Life Youth Award for her efforts to educate teenagers about the need to respect and protect the sanctity and dignity of life from conception until natural death.

“Victoria’s involvement in the pro-life movement has led her to give public witness against legalized abortion in a variety of ways,” Sister Diane said. “Being pro-life has also motivated her to consider missionary outreach to people in a developing country. It’s obvious that she has internalized the values that are so important to being unconditionally pro-life, which include proclaiming Christ, who is at the heart of the Gospel of Life.”

Victoria was nominated by Jennifer Rea, assistant director of campus ministry at Bishop Chatard High School, who described the senior as having “endless energy, an inspiring attitude [and a] strong faith.”

Rea praised Victoria as “a staple in the pro-life group at Bishop Chatard, and an active promoter of the dignity and sanctity of life in the community at large.”

During her high school years, Victoria has participated in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., as well as the annual 40 Days for Life prayer vigils, Respect Life Sunday Mass and Central Indiana Life Chain, all in Indianapolis.

At her school, she has helped organize the Teens for Life Forum, Pro-Life Week and Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity.

“Victoria has a true heart of service, promoting life in all its forms and applying the ‘seamless garment’ approach to the pro-life movement,” Rea said. “This past year, Victoria spent her spring break on a mission trip to El Salvador. This experience has inspired her to become a teacher in a third-world country, … thus combining her love of teaching with her passion for service.”

Bishop Chatard principal John Atha said Victoria is committed to promoting the cause of life among her peers, and always “treats others with love and compassion and respect.”

Victoria said she decided to become a stronger youth voice for the unborn after walking in the March for Life in Washington during her freshman year.

“Abortion is murder,” she said. “This is such an injustice. This is so incredibly wrong. … I just kind of felt like that [march] was God’s way of saying, ‘Hey! This is something that I need you to do.’ I’ve gone back to the march every year. … I just know that what I am doing is right, and it’s what God wants me to do.” †

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