More than 1,200 students gathered at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church Wednesday morning for the 26th annual Respect Life Celebration, which rainy weather forced indoors from its usual location on the lawn at Franciscan Health Dyer.
Speaking on this year’s theme, “Christ Our Hope: In Every Season of Life,” guest speaker Bishop Noll Institute Principal Lorenza Pastrick joked that we’ve seen virtually every season in the past 48 hours. She emphasized the value of God’s creation, having the students tell each other "You are a masterpiece because you are made in the image and likeness of God."
"You are called to be like Jesus, you are called to come and do his work. Today, you are doing his work, today you kissed an unborn child, today you embraced God's miracle," Pastrick said.
Father Michael Yadron, diocesan administrator of the Diocese of Gary, presided over the service, telling the students, "When we talk about respect life, we talk about respecting and cherishing and protecting life from the moment of conception, all the way through to natural death."
"Know that you're wonderful, and cherish the fact that you're wonderful, because only then can you go on to carry that forward to respect all other life," Yadron said. “God is beautiful, and so are we.”
“Thanks to the principals and teachers of our Gary Diocesan Schools, Franciscan Health Dyer’s Celebration of Life program is celebrating its 26th year. The annual program now gathers more than 1200 junior high and high school youths to celebrate their goodness and potential coupled with the challenge to be instruments of God’s love to others,” said Sister Aloysius Albert, hospital chaplain.