Events planned around diocese in October, Respect Life Month

By: By Catholic Post staff

October is Respect Life Month. Following are several of the events planned in the Diocese of Peoria. Many take place on Sunday, Oct. 4, which is Respect Life Sunday.



St. Joseph Church in Peoria will host a Respect Life Mass for students and parish respect life representatives on Friday, Oct. 2. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, will be the celebrant for the 10:30 a.m. liturgy at 103 Richard Pryor Place in Peoria.

An open house will follow at the Family Resources Center, 415 N.E. Monroe St., across the street from the Spalding Pastoral Center. The afternoon includes a meeting and lunch for the parish respect life representatives.

The annual event is traditionally held in August but was moved nearer to Respect Life Sunday because printing was delayed on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Respect Life Program materials, according to Sister Ana Pia Cordua, SCTJM, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Peoria. Those packets have been mailed to the parishes so local planning could take place.

In a letter sent to the parish respect life representatives, Sister Ana Pia thanked them for “all the wonderful work you are doing.”

She added that everyone is invited to the Oct. 2 Mass “to celebrate the dignity and sacredness of human life.”



Burke Balch, director of the National Right to Life Committee’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics, will be keynote speaker at the 34th annual Respect Life Dinner on Sunday, Oct. 4.

This year’s dinner will take place at Barrack’s Cater Inn, 1224 Pioneer Parkway in Peoria, beginning at 6 p.m. The evening will include a tribute in memory of longtime pro-life volunteer Allan Waldschmidt of Henry, who died July 31, 2015.

Balch has served as the director of the medical ethics center since 1994. A graduate of the New York University School of Law, he formerly served on the federal Protection of Handicapped Infants project for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and as chief staff counsel for the National Legal Center for the Mentally Dependent and Disabled.

Among his current goals, Balch lists protecting patients from involuntary denial of life-saving medical treatment, food and fluids by hospital ethics committees and other health care providers; reversing and replacing the rationing of life-saving care in the Affordable Care Act; and the prevention of widespread legalization of doctor-prescribed suicide and non-voluntary and involuntary active euthanasia.

His wife, Mary, currently serves as state legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee.

Cost for the dinner is $30 prior to Oct. 1, and $32 after that date. Tickets must be paid for in advance by sending a check, along with the number and names of attendees, to Respect Life Dinner Committee, PO Box 368, Morton, IL 61550. Make checks payable to the committee.



For 27 years people of all faiths have sought an end to abortion through a prayerful witness known as Life Chain. Next Sunday, Oct. 4, they will do it for the 28th time at communities across the Diocese of Peoria — as well as the United States and Canada.

The “links” in Life Chains are men, women and children who peacefully line the streets of a major intersection in their community and hold signs to remind passersby that “Abortion Kills Children,” “Jesus Forgives and Heals” and “Abortion Hurts Women.” Life Chain’s principles discourage the use of graphic signs.

In addition, participants are asked to maintain a true “prayer chain” without idle chatter and interaction with motorists. Political activity is also discouraged, since “only God can end abortion and meet our nation’s vital needs,” according to Life Chain officials.

In central Illinois, Life Chains were reported to be taking place on Oct. 4 at the following locations:

— Champaign: Along Kirby Avenue at the southwest corner of Hessel Park, between 1:30 and 3 p.m.
— Galesburg: Knox County Right to Life will sponsor the Life Chain on the Public Square, with participants standing in prayer on Broad, Losey and Fremont from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m., rain or shine. Signs may be picked up at 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot south of the old armory at 1:30 p.m. Seniors and others who have difficulty standing may bring a chair to sit on.
A rally will follow in the Public Square at 3 p.m. Barbara Brody, who has done sidewalk counseling in Southern California and Dubuque, Iowa, will talk about reaching out in love and compassion.
— Macomb: At the intersection of Route 136 and Route 67, between Lafayette and Randolph at Chandler Park, from 1 to 2 p.m.
— Mendota: Along Route 34 at Highway 51, from 1 to 2 p.m.
— Normal: People will line up on East College Avenue, starting at the entrance to David Anderson Park and continuing east on both sides of the street, at 2 p.m. The prayerful vigil on behalf of “past and future unborn victims of abortion” is expected to last an hour.
— Peoria: From 2 to 3 p.m., people will line University Street from Whole Women’s Health of Peoria at 7405 N. University St., where abortions are performed, to south of the Metro Center at 4700 N. University St. Signs will be distributed at the corner of University and Northmoor. Church groups are encouraged to sign up for blocks along the route by calling Dan Smith at (309) 691-3611.

To find other communities near you, visit for a continually updated list.



40 Days for Life campaigns of prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigils to end abortion began Sept. 23 in Champaign, Ottawa, Peoria, and the Quad Cities.
Participants are sought to sign up for a prayer hour on sidewalks outside abortion facilities at the following locations:

— Champaign, Planned Parenthood, 302 E. Stoughton St. Contact Ivy Jelks, (217) 778-4895,
— Ottawa, Planned Parenthood, 612 Court St. Contact Bill Ecker, (630) 774-2348,
— Peoria, Whole Women’s Health of Peoria, 7405 N. University St. A midpoint gathering is planned on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 3 p.m. at the Women’s Care Center, 7319 N. University St., or at St. Vincent de Paul Parish hall in case of rain. Contact Karen Guth, (309) 453-7493,
— Quad Cities, Planned Parenthood, 2751 Tech Drive in Bettendorf, Iowa. Contact Jeanne Wonio, (563) 355-4188,
More information is available at



WEST PEORIA — A holy hour for the Rights of the Unborn Child will take place at the Rosmini House, 2327 W. Heading Ave., beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5.

It will include Benediction, the rosary, and other prayers.



GALESBURG — Knox County Right to Life is inviting people to take a stand in support of life throughout Respect Life Month.

The group will honor area pastors “who work tirelessly to support and protect all human life” at the annual Pro-Life Pastors’ Dinner, which is planned for Saturday, Oct. 17, in the McAteer Center of Corpus Christi Church, 273 S. Prairie St. It will begin at 7 p.m.

There is no charge for the pastors and a guest. All others are asked for a $10 donation to cover costs. For reservations, call Pat Conklin at (309) 343-2852 or Pat Regnier at (309) 375-6816. The deadline for reservations is Oct. 5.

The “Festival of Life” will take place the following day at Bethel Baptist Church, 1196 N. Academy St. It will start with a pro-life youth presentation at 6:30 p.m.

The speaker for both events is Ryan Bomberger, who was conceived when his biological mother was raped. She continued with the pregnancy and made an adoption plan for him, allowing him to grow up in a loving, multi-racial Christian family of 15.

Bomberger is the co-founder of The Radiance Foundation and its chief creative officer. Based in Virginia, the organization’s core values are that every human life has purpose, that God is love and so people are called to love one another and show compassion to those in need, that the most fundamental right is the right to life, and that family is everything.

Admission to the Festival of Life is free. Refreshments will be served.
Members of Knox County Right to Life also plan to travel to Peoria to pray in front of Whole Women’s Health of Peoria, where abortions are performed, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29. Galesburg residents who would like to join them in two-hour shifts are asked to call Dick at (309) 343-2852.

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
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