By Tom Venzor
I will never grow tired of repeating these words of Pope Benedict XVI: the Church “cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.” The Church has a responsibility to “reawaken the spiritual energy” that produces the search and commitment to justice in our political society. Justice does not come about by passivity or apathy. It is an effort that requires courage, vigilance, and regular activity.
But we can only exert effort where there is opportunity to do so. Fortunately, during this legislative session there will be several opportunities for engaging in the political process, with the aim of transforming the culture.
Annual Pro-Life Mass and Nebraska Walk for Life (Jan. 26 – Lincoln). Every year, the Nebraska Catholic Conference sponsors the Pro-Life Mass, which precedes the annual Nebraska Walk for Life which is sponsored by our friends at Nebraska Right to Life.
The Nebraska Walk for Life is Nebraska’s longest running, largest 1st Amendment demonstration that takes place on the steps of our State Capitol. The event, which is in its 45th year, is an opportunity for pro-lifers to join in solidarity in opposition to Roe v. Wade, the atrociously decided Supreme Court case that fabricated a constitutional right to the killing of unborn children throughout all nine months of pregnancy. After listening to a variety of pro-life public officials at the Capitol, the Walk makes its way down the streets of Lincoln to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Student Union for a program.
This year’s program features Catherine Adair, who will talk about her “Journey of Hope and Healing from Planned Parenthood to Pro-Life.” Catherine will share about her personal experience with an abortion at age 19, and her career as a Planned Parenthood worker. In particular, Catherine will share about the second-trimester abortion she saw that opened her eyes to the horror of abortion and how God has provided her conversion and healing.
Prior to the Nebraska Walk for Life, the Pro-Life Mass will take place at St. Mary’s Church directly north of the State Capitol (14th & K streets). The Pro-Life Mass is a special and transcendent opportunity of grace to join our prayers and petitions, as an appeal to God the Father of Mercies, for an end to abortion in our country. The Pro-Life Mass is always standing room-only, though this year we intend to have additional seating available in the basement of the Church. The Pro-Life Mass will be celebrated by the Bishop of Grand Island, Joseph Hanefeldt, who for many years, as a parish priest was the Pro-Life Director for the Archdiocese of Omaha.
The Pro-Life Mass begins at 9 a.m. The Nebraska Walk for Life follows at 10 a.m. Dress appropriately and bring a generous spirit of prayer and joy (and five friends) as we hang out with thousands of our closest pro-life friends.
Catholics at the Capitol (March 27—Lincoln). Catholics at the Capitol is a morning/lunch event where Catholics across Nebraska gather to learn about major legislative issues, how to be an effective citizen-lobbyist, and go to the Capitol to advocate on behalf of these issues to state senators.
Every year, we hear from Catholics who share how Catholics at the Capitol finally empowered them to realize the difference they can make in the political process and that talking to a state senator is not as intimidating as it might seem. Along the way, they make new friends with Catholics who share their values, worldview, and passion to build up the common good in our own backyard.
National School Choice Week Rally (Jan. 23). For the last several years, the Nebraska Catholic Conference has joined forces with other school choice advocates to host the National School Choice Rally at the State Capitol. This event draws in around 500 students and school choice advocates to let our voice be heard about the fundamental need and right of parents to direct their child’s education in a way that is best for their child. The rally is energetic and impactful and could use even more energy and impact from school choice advocates. For those interested, the rally begins at 11 a.m. in the Warner Chamber (located on the second floor of the State Capitol).
We’ll see you at some of (or, God willing, all) these events!