Most Rev. Dale Melczek, bishop of the Diocese of Gary, prays and exhorts an audience made up of hundreds of area parochial students Oct. 9 during an annual Celebration of Life program on the grounds of Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer. The program, which takes place during Respect Life Week, praises the gift of life and preaches how each person’s existence is meaningful and commands respect and dignified treatment. Also participating were the Rev. Theodore Mens, diocese coordinator of pro-life activities; Tom Gryzbek, Franciscan St. Margaret Health president; and Violet Stephenson, a young mother, who told how she was able to bounce back and have a meaningful, spiritual life, after suffering through years of hardship in her younger days.
She urged the students to never give up, no matter how hopeless things may seem, and to keep faith in God. Ron Foltman, worship leader and guitarist at St. John Evangelist Parish in St. John, led the crowd in spiritual songs. Schools represented at the event included Andrean High School, Merrillville; Aquinas School, Merrillville; Bishop Noll Institute, Hammond; Highland Christian School, Highland; Our Lady of Grace School, Highland; St. Casimir School, Hammond; St. John Bosco School, Hammond; St. John Evangelist School, St. Mary School, Griffith; St. Michael the Archangel School, Schererville; St. Thomas More School, Munster; and Calumet College of St. Joseph, Hammond.