By Ryan O’Connor, Guest Column, Brother Martin
Over the past month, the Crusaders for Life, Brother Martin High School’s Pro-Life Club, planned a Respect Life Week for Oct. 30-Nov. 3.
Many potential ideas and projects emerged from weekly club meetings such as the documentary, “I Lived on Parker Avenue,” by David Scotton, a diaper drive, a baby bottle coin drive and a fetal development walk to be displayed in the backyard outside of school. These are ideas the club hopes to pursue throughout this year.
Two Crusaders For Life – Chandler Bonvillian (’21) and Liam O’Connor (’21) – wrote a daily prayer which they read in the morning over the intercom. With the student body listening, they opened up the week by praying in thanksgiving for the gift of life.
Bonvillian opened the week by saying, “Today marks the beginning of Respect Life Week. Let us reflect on life being a gift from God. Think of all of the gifts that we receive: birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, Valentine gifts, and anniversary gifts. France even gifted the Statue of Liberty to the United States. Even the individual who is in last place in a game show receives a parting gift. However, life is the ultimate gift. As Pope Francis said, ‘The great gift of life is the first gift we have received.’ How do we respond when we receive a gift? Usually with a thank you and a hug. How much greater should our response be to God for this great gift of life?”
O’Connor followed by praying, “God, we thank you for the gifts that you have given us. The day we received the gift of life is the day you gave us great responsibility. As humans, help us to be thankful for all the gifts we receive. Help us to cherish especially God’s ultimate gift of life for us. Lord, you told us in the Gospel of John ‘to ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.’ You have given us so much, including your own life. Now we ask of you one thing more today; give us a grateful heart.”
Throughout the week, students continued to pray for the end of actions such as human trafficking, abortion, poverty and gave thanks for the progress the pro-life movement has made, especially in Louisiana.
On Monday and Tuesday, members of the Crusaders for Life sold baby feet pins for $1 teach to benefit Louisiana Right to Life. Each student who purchased a ‘baby feet pin’ was able to wear the pin on his left collar the whole week. On Tuesday, Brother Martin hosted students visits to the Life Bus – a mobile crisis pregnancy center that provides resources to women in the area. A schoolwide Mass was celebrated Wednesday, and Louisiana Right to Life’s Alex Seghers visited campus to talk to students and distribute resources.
Every year, Brother Martin closes Respect Life Week with eye-opening projects. In recent years, the Crusaders for Life built: a Cemetery for the Unborn with blue and pink flags, a display of death row and a post-it note display to represent the number of babies aborted daily in the United States.
This year, the Crusaders for Life desired a more positive project, so the number 1,239 was displayed throughout the entire campus on Thursday.
This number became the conversation piece of the day. Many students thought it represented the number of students in the school. Other students thought it equaled the number of abortions in a day.
On Friday morning, the Crusaders for Life president senior Tanner Olsen led the morning prayer and explained, “One thousand two hundred and thirty-nine. You may have noticed this number on campus yesterday. What does it mean? Unfortunately, abortion is legal in every state in America, and, in Louisiana, abortion rates steadily rose each year from 2008 through 2014. In 2014, there were 10,211 legal abortions in Louisiana, but by 2016, the number of abortions declined by the significant number of 1,239 to 8,972. While this number represents progress, even one legal, direct abortion is too many.”
Respect Life Week provided many opportunities for students to gain knowledge and understanding on the world’s most important pro-life issues such as abortion, unplanned pregnancies, euthanasia, human trafficking and many more.
Even though Respect Life week is over, the Crusaders For Life are working on events and fundraisers to get other schools involved in the pro- life movement. The Crusaders are proud to be a part of the Pro- Life Generation. We can’t wait to see what is next on the horizon.
Ryan O’Connor is a junior at Brother Martin High School in New Orleans.