Tag Archives: pro-life

Why this scientist is pro-life

January 22, 2016


Although temperatures were in the low 20s, Ken Cobian — double hip replacements and all — joined in both the annual Jan. 22 Prayer Service for Life at the Cathedral of St. Paul and the March for Life down to the State Capitol. Bob Zyskowski/The Catholic Spirit

Although temperatures were in the low 20s, Ken Cobian — double hip replacements and all — joined in both the annual Jan. 22 Prayer Service for Life at the Cathedral of St. Paul and the March for Life down to the State Capitol. Bob Zyskowski/The Catholic Spirit

Two new hips and all, Ken Cobian walked from the annual Jan. 22 Prayer Service for Life at the Cathedral of St. Paul down to the March for Life rally at the Minnesota State Capitol.

I first spotted him with his gray and blue knitted cap pulled over his ears as he slowly but steadily made his way back up St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill, Prolife Across America poster in hand, at the end of the rally.

Cobian, retired from his job as a material scientist at Medtronics, stopped back in the Cathedral to warm up before heading home, which was where I caught up to him.

I asked the question I’ve been asking folks at this Jan. 22 event since the first one back in 1974, when snowflakes kept smearing the ink on the notes I was taking outside the federal building in Peoria, Illinois: “Why is it important for you to be here today?”

Cobian had a ready answer, just as people have had since 1974: “I’m very much opposed to abortion, ever since I saw my children born years ago. That turned the light on for me.”

A parishioner with his wife, Susan, of St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony, Cobian earned a chemistry degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and did graduate work at both the University of Minnesota and at UCLA. Like some in the science fields, at one point he had turned away from his faith, he admitted. “My wife brought me back,” he said. “She’s my rock.”

He was at the pro-life rally two years ago, too, he said, but last year he couldn’t make it because he was in the midst of having hip replacements on both sides. “I’m fine now,” he said. “It’s nothing compared to the sin of abortion.”

He grabbed his hat to leave. “I’ve got to get home and get cleaned up,” Cobian said. “We’ve got a pro-life Mass tonight at St. Charles.”


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‘I thought, I could do that’

January 26, 2015


A full 45 minutes before the Jan. 22 Prayer Service for Life was to begin at the Cathedral of St. Paul, a white-haired woman had already garnered one of the best seats in the house.

Madonna ArelPews in the front half of the big church were being reserved for the thousands of young people who would be attending, so Madonna Arel prayed in the first pew after the break, right on the center aisle. It’s the perfect place to see the altar and to take in both the processional and recessional when dignitaries take part — in the case of the annual pro-life prayer service, that would be five bishops from dioceses around Minnesota.

I went up to talk with her after she’d sat back.

Although this was the 41st year for the Jan. 22 prayer service for life, Madonna told me this was only the fourth year she’d been coming.

“I was working,” she said. “Before I retired I was a corporate switchboard operator for Excel Energy. You wouldn’t believe the calls I took,” she added with a roll of the eyes.

Along with getting good quotes for my story about the prayer service, I got a little bit of an education about what it means to be pro-life. Madonna, you see, doesn’t just say she’s pro-life, she acts on her pro-life stance. It’s nothing big, really. But it’s what she can do.

“Some one asked me to write to women who were on a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat,” she told me, “and I thought, I could do that.”

Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry of healing for those who have had an abortion.

“I’ve written to three women. I just let them know I’m praying for them,” Madonna said. “I even got to meet one of them. She just said, ‘Thank you for praying for me,’ because going on the retreat is really a healing process.”

She went on, “Life is so important. I don’t know what people go through who had an abortion, but I see the healing and the difference it makes by going on those retreats.”

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Actress Lauren Roman speaks out for life

March 31, 2014



The other night, I was at the 12th annual Knights for Life Banquet which benefitted Wakota Life Care Center. It was held at St. Joseph’s Church in West St. Paul and was emceed by the “newest Knight of Columbus out there,” Matt Birk (who was knighted three hours before the event). Birk, a former all-pro football champion, thanked Wakota for the work it does saving lives since 1976. (Each year, over 800 individuals find the help they need through social and medical services.) Birk introduced the guest speaker of the night, Lauren Roman, who received a standing ovation when she was done telling her story. I wanted to share a little bit about her life:

All My Children star

Lauren Roman had a successful career in NYC starting at the young age of 19. She had a major role on ABC’s popular soap opera named All My Children for three yearsBefore all this, however, she was a freshman in college and pregnant with her high school boyfriend’s baby. Scared and alone, she turned to a confidant who led her to an abortion clinic. She told the full room, “If only I would have opened the phone book and found a number for a pregnancy help center! Maybe my baby would be here now if I had done so!”

For years following the abortion, Lauren grappled with depression and anorexia. Eventually, she found healing and forgiveness through a church in California and then a Pregnancy Resource Center.

Making a difference

Today, Lauren appears all across America giving her personal testimony. Using excellent public speaking skills she gives talks to pro-life organizations and events. With a lovely, polished voice, she even sings a song about losing a child–which delivers a powerful message.

As far as acting goes, Lauren was most recently seen in the Nicole Kidman thriller, Stoker, and the hit Christian film, Grace Unplugged.

What is her greatest joy?

According to Wakota’s literature, it’s the fulfillment found working with Pregnancy Centers, testifying to the life-changing impact of their ministry.

Quotes by Lauren Roman:

(From the Knights for Life Banquet)

  • “We have to do everything we can to fight this darkness!” (Referring to abortion)
  • “It’s spiritual warfare!” (Referring to abortion)
  • “We need to get a woman in crisis through the door…so she can choose life!”
  • “We can help her by supporting Wakota and other Pregnancy Resource Centers!”
  • “One out of three women will have an abortion by age 45!”
  • “I think Jesus is weeping over the millions of babies that have been aborted!”
  • “Every life is a gift from God!”

Thank you, Lauren, for sharing your story and working so hard to defend life! And thank you to Wakota Life Care Center and all the Pregnancy Resource Centers out there!

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9 days, 4 high tech ways to pray to end abortion

January 17, 2014


9days-day1-color-ENGThis year, to mark the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the USCCB has made available four different ways to engage in a novena for life:

  • App for iPhone or Android
  • Daily text messages
  • Daily emails
  • Online novena page

To sign up for any or all of these, visit the 9daysforlife website.

The USCCB also has a People of Life Facebook page which includes a 9 Days for Life event page.


More about 9 Days for Life

9 Days for Life: Get your information here! Kathy Schneeman on what’s going on locally

A day to march for the unborn and a culture of life Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville, Ky on the pro-life efforts of the Church nationally

Nine days of prayer part of Roe v. Wade anniversary General information from Catholic News Service

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9 Days for Life: Get your information here!

January 1, 2014



Together, let’s build a culture of life.

On January 22, 2014 America will remember the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Since that tragic decision, more than 55 million children’s lives have been lost to abortion, and the lives of millions of their parents have been shattered. In prayerful recognition, “Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage” will take place January 18-26, 2014 and is sponsored by the bishops. (Visit 9Days Resources for Leaders)

The heart of this prayer effort is a simple, youth-friendly novena. Here’s an example:

Day four: Tuesday, January 21

Intercession: For the doctors, nurses and counselors who now know they were wrong in cooperating with abortion: may God grant them the courage to renounce their involvement in the abortion industry and open their hearts to doing his will from now on.

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Today we honor the life of St. Agnes, a 12-year-old girl martyred in Rome in 304 AD, during the Diocletian persecution. Agnes never wavered in her commitment to remain a virgin and to give her whole life to the Lord, refusing proposals to marry. Her innocence and heroism facing death helped bring an end to the persecution of Christians in Rome. Following the example of St. Agnes, let us remain steadfast in recognizing Christ, who is Love Incarnate, as the source and summit of our lives. May his love give us the determination and courage to live for him and for others, especially the most vulnerable among us.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Go to an abortion clinic and pray, or set aside an hour today to pray for those who are struggling with a decision of life or death for their unborn child.
  • Pray the Rosary today for someone who has hurt or disappointed you, and ask for the grace to forgive that person.
  • Instead of donating “old clothes,” offer to buy a new piece of clothing or item a charity is seeking.

On your mark…Get set…Pray!

Would you like to subscribe to receive emails or text messages of this novena? If so, click here. It’s as easy as 1-2-3! (And for the tech-savvy–a free app is coming soon!)

Youth = Our hope for a new principle of life

Do you work with youth or young adult ministries? Perhaps you’d like ideas to help you incorporate the novena into your January programming?

And consider promoting Minnesota Youth for Life’s second annual conference (Information here):

Monday, January 20 from 9am-4pm

At Sacred Heart in Robinsdale

Bishop Cozzens will be the celebrant!

And the speakers are: Jason Evert, Dr. Mike Adams, Dave Sterrett and Lila Rose

Join the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-Saint Paul in Prayer

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 10:30 a.m.

MCCL Rally to follow Cathedral of Saint Paul

239 Selby Avenue, St. Paul

Information here: PrayerforLife_flyer (3)

Attend an all night prayer vigil sponsored by Project Rachel

Tuesday, January 21-Wednesday, January 22


St. Mary’s Chapel at the University of St. Thomas

Information here:  HopeHealingMercy_flyer (2)

“Promote a new way of looking at human life.” (Gospel of Life #99) Thank you!

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Something Beautiful…

October 14, 2013


Something Beautiful

Something Beautiful

Last week a speaker/entertainer came to speak at the Champions for Life luncheon.  Danielle Rose, a music missionary sang from her prolife CD and spoke about her missionary work in China.  Because of the one child only policy and the poverty of most of those who live there, many families abort their daughters in favor of having a son who can care for them in their old age. As she was explaining this horrible reality, she described that this country had 20 million young men who will never have a wife and family.


What happens in a country where you have millions of young men with no future?


With such hope and innocence she said.  “Maybe God will raise them up to become priests.”  I am sad to say that most of us in the audience chuckled at that statement.  Maybe we have become so cynical that we don’t believe God can really do such things. China is, after all, an atheist country where it is illegal to evangelize.  Then, Danielle caught our attention and said compellingly “No, really! God can make something beautiful.”


At that moment, Danielle asked the Holy Spirit to help her find the right words to say.  I wish I could remember her exact words but she went on to compare Christ’s passion to the situation in China.



She said, “God can take something ugly and sinful and horrible and make something beautiful happen from it.” Of course I know this; I just need to be reminded.


I don’t know about others in the audience, but I wasn’t thinking about the situation in China.  I was thinking about situations in my own heart, situations closer to home.

Her words reminded me to hope and trust that “God really can make something beautiful!”


Here is to something beautiful!

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Britain’s Got Talent–an act that shows the gift of life

September 12, 2013

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This powerful performance by a shadow theatre troupe brought the show’s judges to tears–even Simon Cowell! The performance is by Attraction–a group from Budapest which was founded in 2004 by Zoltan Szucs. They became well-known when they danced at the Hungarian Olympic Oath Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics. This performance (shown below) won the seventh series of Britain’s Got Talent which was on June 8, 2013.

I love the beating heart of the unborn baby and the adoration the son has for his aging mother. What magnificent messages! (For other faith-filled stories visit News and Faith.) Enjoy!

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Children become pro-life by example and instruction

August 26, 2013


Licensed under Creative Commons

Licensed under Creative Commons

How are children supposed to learn about respect for human life if no one teaches them by role modeling and giving instruction? Oftentimes, I hear parents say, “I don’t want little junior to know about abortion or euthanasia. The thought of killing sweet babies and the elderly would disturb them too much!”

Of course, we want to respect the age of innocence, but there comes a time when parents have a moral responsibility to encourage their children to promote life. To make this possible, parents need to “walk the walk,” and  kids need to be taught that we live in a culture of death. The goal is to give them the truth sprinkled with hope and mercy. Eventually, as the young ones grow up, they can expand on the knowledge that Mommy and Daddy gave them, and use these tools in order to teach others.

But to do this, they need to know about some yucky things that are plaguing our world today.

What’s a good age for kids to learn about the atrocities out there?

Well, given the stuff they see by means of the media, I think that children can handle information about the evils of abortion and euthanasia–and heck, we’d better throw pornography and genocide into the mix as well–by the time they enter junior high. Kids’ bodies are changing around that time and they are curious about everything. They appreciate and deserve the truth, and they crave adults being level with them. They want to be guided along the right path, and they start to develop leadership skills. And boy, we need this next generation to be our leaders for the marginalized! If  right and wrong is not ingrained in their heads by the time they hit puberty, they are more apt to be led astray by peer pressure as they get older, and not carry the torch for life.

My husband and I started discussing respect for human life with our nine children when they were in the stroller (See my blog called, My Prolife Running Stroller). They’d be strapped into the contraption when I took their big brothers and sisters outside Planned Parenthood to pray. As they got more mature this practice fueled many good questions:

“Why are people going in that naughty building?”

“Why are the police letting them go in there?”

“How can we help?”

The other aspects of life were taught as the subjects arose. When they read a book about Anne Frank or see a presentation on The Lost Boys of Sudan we discuss genocide. I tell them to look the other way as we stroll past Victoria’s Secret, and I tell them why pictures with women falling out of their tops are bad. And appreciation of the elderly was learned by spending time with older family friends and grandparents.

It’s not that hard, and it must be done.

 Pope to parents: Teach your children to respect, defend life

The Catholic News Service wrote this article (Printed in The Catholic Spirit’s August 15, 2013 issue):

Respect for human life from conception until natural death is something children must be taught, not mainly with words, but by the example of their parents, Pope Francis said.

“Parents are called to pass on to their children the awareness that life must always be defended,” Pope Francis wrote in a message to people joining in the Brazilian Catholic Church’s celebration of Family Week, which began Aug. 11.

The pope returned to his condemnation of the “throwaway culture,” something he spoke against several times during his July 22-28 visit to Brazil. He had said that modern cultures tend to treat even human lives as disposable, pointing to the way people, societies and even governments tend to treat both the young and the old.

In his message for Family Week, he said parents have a responsibility to fight that disposable culture by teaching their children that human life, “from the womb,” is a gift from God. New life ensures the future of humanity, he said, while older people — especially grandparents — “are the living memory of a people, and transmit the wisdom of life.”

The pope also charged married Catholic couples and their children with the task of recognizing they must be “the most convincing heralds” of the beauty and grace of Christian marriage.

I think Pope Francis is spot on! Don’t you?


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Thanks again, Matt Birk!

June 8, 2013

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I’m sure you’ve heard of Matt Birk– a Nativity boy (I taught his brother) and a Cretin graduate who eventually played football for the Vikings? You probably know that he went on to help the Ravens win the Superbowl this year. But, did you know that he spoke out publicly one year ago today on behalf of traditional marriage at the Minneapolis Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally? See Pro-Life Action Ministries’ video: YouTube Preview Image

And did you know that he defends the pre-born?

This retired six-time All-Pro NFL player skipped the Ravens’ visit to the White House on Wednesday because of President Obama’s support of Planned Parenthood. Let me quote him:

“I would say that I have great respect for the office of the presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood.’

“Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am a Catholic, I am active in the pro-life movement, and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t endorse that in any way. I’m very confused by (Obama’s) statement. For God to bless a place where they’re ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend.”

An article by the Baltimore Sun reported that President Obama closed his speech at a Planned Parenthood national conference in April with: “Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you, and God bless America.”

According to an article by LifeNews.com (and many other sources–just Google it!)

“Obama, as a member of the Illinois Senate, opposed a state version of the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, a measure that would make sure babies who survive abortions are given proper medical care.

It also protected babies who were “aborted” through a purposeful premature birth and left to die afterwards.

On the federal level, pro-abortion groups withdrew their opposition to the bill after a section was added making sure it did not affect the status of legal abortions in the United States. Ultimately, the bill was approved on a unanimous voice vote with even leading pro-abortion lawmakers like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry backing it.”

(How could our president have voted against this bill when he was a senator? Geez…the name Dr. Kermit Gosnell comes to mind–you know, the guy who was just indicted for killing babies born alive in abortions.)

So good work, Matt Birk! And thanks to your family, too (He and his wife have six kids.) You are our heroes! All eight of you! (Oh yes, and your parents, too!)

(View my previous blog about Matt: http://catholichotdish.com/embracing-life/my-favorite-matt-birk-quote/)

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Novena for Life

January 15, 2013


novenaCan you believe it’s been nearly40 years since Roe v. Wade? The tragic court decision that made abortion on demand legal? Since 1973,  about 55 million babies have lost their lives. Let’s pray to end this atrocity. As part of the bishops’ recent call to prayer, “Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage” will take place January 19-27, 2013. It’s a little thing that we can do to make a big difference in the case for Life.

If you click here, you can sign up to receive daily email messages during the novena, or text “9days” to 99000 to get the reflections each day via text messaging. I don’t know about you, but I think a reminder is very nice!

 Here’s a Sample of Day One’s Reflection:

Day One: Saturday, January 19, 2013 Intercession: For the mother who awakens each morning with the memory of abortion fresh in her mind: that the Lord may still the terror in her heart and lead her gently to the well-spring of his love and mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. May she, and all who’ve been involved in an abortion decision, find healing and hope through Project Rachel Ministry.

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Today’s Gospel reading from Mark recounts Jesus dining with tax collectors and sinners. When the Pharisees question Jesus about this, he responds, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” In a society where millions of people have fallen prey to the false promises of the culture of death, let us witness to the mercy of Jesus and invite all who’ve been harmed to experience his abundant love and healing.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Take time to write a handwritten note to someone who is lonely or needing encouragement.
  • Pray for your deceased relatives and those who have no one to pray for them.
  • “Spiritually adopt” a baby by saying this prayer every day: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of [baby’s name], the unborn baby that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion.” – Prayer of Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Did you know? Women who’ve had an abortion have a 138% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who’ve given birth, according to a 2011 article in the British Journal of Psychiatry that analyzed 22 major studies on women’s mental health following abortion. Together, the studies involved over 800,000 women. Visit HopeAfterAbortion.org for more information on abortion’s aftermath, and much more.

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