October 8, 2021

‘It’s just not right to kill babies,’ says Respect Life Award winner

By Natalie Hoefer

Mary HowardMary Howard said she never sought an award.

“I just want to do this for the babies,” she said. “I’m all about the babies and the mothers, working with the mothers.”

Despite her lack of desire to seek recognition, recognition is what she received during the Respect Life Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral on Oct. 3 when she was announced as the recipient of the archdiocesan Office of Human Life and Dignity’s annual Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Respect Life Award.

Nominees for the award are adults or married couples who show leadership in promoting the dignity and sanctity of human life in the parish community and the archdiocese.

Howard was unable to receive the award in person—she was busy living out her pro-life leadership at the Greencastle Life Chain event that same day, an event which she coordinated this year as she has for many years prior.

“I was torn [about coming to Indianapolis to receive the award] because I want to be with my community,” she admitted in a phone interview with The Criterion.

Howard was recommended for this award by her friends and community of St. Paul the Apostle Parish and the Knights of Columbus Council #6989.

“Mary is a true Christian prayer warrior as well as an activist,” they wrote on the nomination form. “Twice a year, in the spring and in the fall, she heads up the 40 Days for Life Campaign at St. Paul [Parish] and has organized and promoted the October Pro-Life Chain in Greencastle.

“She promotes and helps organize her parish attending the annual Indiana March for Life and is active in the Right to Life of Indianapolis and Indiana Right to Life organizations. She is always willing to present pro-life topics to groups, including the Knights of Columbus Council, and encourages her community to be involved and help moms in need.”

Howard, 69, said she was raised pro-life as one of eight children.

“My mom was very pro-life. I grew up pro-life.”

Most of her volunteer time is spent praying in vigil in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion center in Indianapolis, where she also serves as a sidewalk counselor.

“I’ve been doing that a long time,” said Howard. “It’s like an hour to get there. I also [substitute] for people who can’t come.”

There are many reasons people get involved in the pro-life cause, she said.

“I just feel the unborn have a chance for life. The right to life is sacred. If you don’t respect life, nothing can be respected. It’s a moral thing. It’s just not right to kill babies.” †

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