A pro-life mainstay of the Jersey shore area, recognizing stellar efforts to promote the Respect Life cause has been the aim of Mary’s Child Pro-Life Ministry for many years with its Champion for Life awards dinner.
Deacon Rich Weber
The 34th annual event will take place Oct. 29 at Spring Lake Manor, 415 Hwy. 71, Spring Lake Heights, beginning with a 5 p.m. reception followed by 6 p.m. dinner.
This year’s honorees will be Deacon Rich Weber of St. Rose Parish, Belmar, as 2023 Champion for Life; and Father Jim Whelan, weekend assistant in St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Bradley Beach, with the 2023 Lifetime Achievement award.
“The Champion for Life award was established to recognize the person or persons who most distinguish themselves in protecting and defending innocent human lives,” described Mary Reilly, president and founding member of MCPLM. “The annual dinner has been an excellent opportunity to educate others on pro-life issues as well as renew our strength for the battles we face in defending the innocents in our society. It has also given us an opportunity to raise funds for outstanding pro-life organizations such as Birth Right, Madonna House, Good Counsel Homes and the Legal Center for the Defense of Life.”
Cynthia Wagner, MCPLM representative from St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish, nominated Father Whelan for the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Father Jim Whelan champions life by always saying ‘yes’ to God, and for showing us how to live God's will in our many walks in life,” Wagner said. “He continues to show us God's mercy in Confession and Holy Communion… In the Mass, he brings Jesus to us, which is the single most life-giving force in the world. When our pastors need support, he is there, not just to fill in the gaps, but to shore up our local Catholic community. This is God's grace right before our eyes.”
Father Jim Whelan
Deacon Weber was nominated by Msgr. Edward Arnister, pastor of St. Rose Parish. “Deacon Rich is a very dedicated man of faith and deacon at St. Rose,” he said. “In his preaching he often reminds us of our call to respect life at all stages, to defend the lives of the unborn, and to work for pro-life causes. He is not afraid to confront the present ‘culture of death’ by calling us to prayer, sacrifice, and support all that promotes a culture of life.”
Mary’s Child Pro-life Ministry consists of members from the parishes of St. Catharine-St. Margaret, Spring Lake; St. Rose; St. Denis, Manasquan; St. Mark, Sea Girt; St. Teresa of Calcutta and Holy Innocents, Neptune. Raising more than $200,000 to support local pro-life charities in its 34-year history, MCPLM has run bus trips to the Washington March for Life, participated in Life Chains 40 Days for Life, where its members pray the Rosary weekly outside Planned Parenthood facilities. They have also committed to assist organizations that strive to end human trafficking, especially that of children, and those that house, educate and teach the faith to children who are survivors of human trafficking.”
“Our love for the unborn and the victims of child trafficking is grounded in our love for Jesus,” Reilly said. “We can be there today for those whom he called the ‘least brethren in our world.’”
IF YOU PLAN TO GO:
Dinner Reservations: Must be made no later than Oct. 15. Cost is $70 for adult dinner and $35 for child’s dinner. Please indicate name(s), phone number, email address and parish with registration, as well as number of adult and child dinners, and table seating requests. Checks can be made payable to “Mary’s Child Pro-Life Ministry” and mailed to: Mary’s Child Pro-Life Ministry, P.O. Box 169, Spring Lake, NJ 07762.
Booklet Advertising: Program ads are due Oct. 6. Full-page ad (6” X 7.5”) – $500; Half-page ad (6” X 3.75”) – $250; • Quarter-page ad – $125. Ads can be mailed to Mary’s Child Pro-Life Ministry, P.O. Box 169, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 or emailed to Barbara McLoughlin, Heytwi[email protected]. Contact Barbara with questions: 973-543-4596.
For more information contact Cynthia Wagner, 732-718-0876, or Catherine Minall, 732-749-3090.