Valley students working for life
St. Mary Central group sponsors an activity each month to promote life
By Joanne Flemming
Katelyn Mineau, freshman at St. Mary Central High School in the Town of Menasha, has a personal reason for being pro-life.
Her birth mother "could have had an abortion, but she had me and put me up for adoption. I'm just really glad about that. I want to help other people to do that too."
Being pro-life is St. Mary Central freshman Maria Schumacher's passion. "It's probably one of my most firm beliefs. I am extremely passionate about the whole thing. I really want to make a difference."
Kelly Morey, also a St. Mary Central freshman, attributes her pro-life stance to a verse she read in Scripture that showed how a fetus had life as soon as it was created.
"From that point I decided I was a believer in that. I wanted to show other people that was right," Morey said.
The trio are among the 10-12 mostly freshman members of the school's chapter of Rock for Life, a youth outreach project of the American Life League.
Rock for Life seeks to educate people about pro-life issues and involve them in pro-life activities. At St. Mary, members have focused on activities, said Mark Miller, campus minister.
"It's a very social group," he said. The girls are "very eager" and "really want to do a lot of things."
Their goal is one activity a month. In October, for "Respect Life Month," they sponsored a pro-life speaker from the World Youth Alliance. They put up 140 crosses on the school lawn for the 140 abortions that occur hourly in the U.S.
Some participated in Bowl for Life, which raised money for Mothers and Unborn Care of the Fox Valley. A couple, including Mineau, raised $100 each.
Morey said she talked about abortion at a children's Mass at her parish, St. Gabriel in Neenah. "I don't think they (the kids) understood as much as I wanted them to, but they all got the idea it was wrong," she said.
The group joined in the Jan. 20 March for Life in Appleton on Sunday, carrying from Appleton's City Park to the courthouse a banner they made identifying their organization.
Miller hopes they will become more involved in education as the school year progresses and to understand that being pro-life is more than being anti-abortion.
It's a "whole gamut of life issues," he said, which, in the words of Pope John Paul, runs "from the moment of conception to natural death."
It involves respecting "the dignity of each person throughout their lives." Miller said. "That is a God-given quality that each person possesses."
The students' involvement in other pro-life issues includes helping St. Mary Parish, Menasha, cook and serve the evening meal on the fourth Sunday of the month at the Emergency Shelter in Appleton.
Schumacher said residents "were so grateful for everything we did. We didn't do that much."
In late February, the group will avoid solid food and only drink liquids while participating in Catholic Relief Services' 24-hour fast fund-raiser. Rock for Life organized a committee to explain the fast to the St. Mary Central student body.
The girls bought hooded sweatshirts from the national Rock for Life with this message: "Abortion is mean."
"There it is in black and white," Mineau, Schumacher and Morey said, as they modeled the garments.