Dr. Charles Camosy
Dr. Charles Camosy
Scheduled between two significant dates in the pro-life movement, a new diocesan Respect Life event, “Standing Together for Life,” is planned for the new year – a theme that marries Respect Life initiatives to other ministries of social concern, focusing on their common goals.

The special day will begin with Mass celebrated at 11 a.m. Jan. 20 in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., along with other invited priests, followed by a luncheon and seminar featuring Dr. Charles Camosy as keynote speaker.

The event takes place between the first anniversary of the New Jersey Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act signed into law Jan. 13 (codifying the right to abortion into state law), and the Jan. 22 anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the now-overturned 1973 Supreme Court case making abortion legal at the federal level.

All are welcome to participate in the Mass, which will also be livestreamed on diocesan media. Advance registration will be required to attend the lunch and speaker seminar; information will be forthcoming about online registration.

The Mass and seminar will offer an opportunity for members of the Diocese to participate in a locally-based pro-life event, particularly those who are unable to attend the annual March for Life Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C., and for those who prefer to focus their efforts here in New Jersey. The Rally for Life at the Statehouse in Trenton, normally a January event, has been moved to June 24 in celebration of the anniversary of the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Those encouraged to attend include clergy and members of Respect Life groups, but also those involved in social concerns ministries focused on assisting the poor and marginalized, including food pantries, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Charities, Knights of Columbus and more.

“It’s the responsibility of the entire Church community – not just Respect Life groups – to build a culture of life,” those involved in planning the Jan. 20 event attested. “This is an opportunity to reframe the issue for a broader audience.”

Referring to a recent call issued by leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to enter into “radical solidarity” with mothers and children, Terry Ginther, diocesan Chancellor and executive director of the Office of Pastoral Life and Mission, said, “I think this is an important message. It’s not about ‘going back.’ It is about moving forward toward a culture of life. Take away the labels. We all have a part to play in this radical solidarity, by our prayer and our attitudes, by our action and our advocacy.”

Featured speaker Dr. Camosy – currently a professor of medical humanities in the Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Neb. – has taught in the theology department of Fordham University, N.Y., and is Msgr. Curran Fellow in moral theology at St. Joseph Seminary, N.Y. He holds a doctorate in theology from University of Notre Dame, Ind. Dr. Camosy is the author of seven books, including his most recent release in July, “Bioethics for Nurses: A Christian Moral Vision,” soon to be followed Nov. 25 by “One Church.” He is the founding editor of a new book series with New City Press called The Magenta Project. He and his wife Paulyn have four children.

Dr. Camosy will work to address the separation and division often experienced – consciously or subconsciously – in Church ministry work, and to approach the building of a culture of life by involving the entirety of the Church.

“It is abundantly clear that overturning Roe v. Wade did not stop abortion; it will become illegal in some states, but people will simply travel to get abortion services – to places like New Jersey,” Ginther emphasized. “Only changing hearts and minds will stop abortion. Building a culture of life … also means we need to advocate for policies which improve access and affordability of healthcare, social safety net issues like hunger, affordable housing, daycare [and] family leave.”

Ginther drew attention to the strong corollary between abortion and poverty, pointing out, “We need to work against the ‘throw-away’ culture – no one is without value; not the unborn, not the disabled, not the sick or the elderly.”

Visit dioceseoftrenton.org/standing-together-for-life to register. Registration deadline is Jan. 15. St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral is located at 61 Georgia Rd., Freehold.