Punta Gorda | Time is running out to register for the 2018 Statewide Florida Respect Life Conference which is Sept. 28-29 at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center in Punta Gorda. Registration closes Sept. 7 for this opportunity to hear some of the best national and international pro-life speakers close to home. Register at www.dioceseofvenice.org/RLC2018.
“This is an opportunity for anyone who has an interest in life issues from conception to natural death,” said Jeanne Berdeaux, Diocese of Venice Respect Life Director.
The Diocese only hosts this important statewide event once every seven years. The Conference will include international, national and state speakers who will inspire and empower participants with their expertise and amazing personal stories on today’s critical issues, demonstrating how to “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Bishop Frank J. Dewane serves as host for the Conference. He currently serves on several committees at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including its Administrative Committee, Chairman of the Committee for Domestic Justice and Integral Human Development, and is a member of the Committee for Religious Liberty. Most recently, Bishop Dewane has been named a Consultant for the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.
The Conference keynote speaker is Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas. He is a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Ordained a priest for the Diocese of Dallas in 1980, he was ordained a bishop in 2010 and installed as Bishop of El Paso in 2013.
He served as spiritual director for a pregnancy help center in Dallas and served on the board of directors for another Dallas pregnancy help center. He also serves as a member of the Episcopal Advisory Board for the Theology of the Body Evangelization, and serves on other boards and associations. Her serves on USCCB’s committees and subcommittees on Hispanic Affairs, Divine Worship and the Church in Latin America.
Bishop Seitz has been described as a man who “walks the walk.” His passion for life and for seeing that it is respected at all stages, especially from its conception, has been a great inspiration to many. He is often seen on the sidewalk outside an abortion center leading prayers to end abortion.
Stephanie Gray is a seasoned and international speaker who began presenting at 18. Gray is an author and president of “Love Unleashes Life.” She has given more than 800 pro-life presentations across North America, as well as in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Latvia, Guatemala and Costa Rica. Gray has debated abortion advocates including physicians who do abortions. She spent 12 years as executive director and co-founder of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, a ministry that took her to Alberta and Ontario.
National speaker and author Terry Beatley is founder of Hosea Initiative, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to bringing healing truth to a broken world devoured by secular lies. Beatley is dedicated to restoring a culture that values the gift of life and the principles of American liberty.
As the founder of Enlighten Communications Inc., Pam Stenzel created an organization that empowers parents, youth leaders and educators to lead informed discussions on sexual abstinence and its benefits. Her experiences taught her that before teen pregnancy and STD rates could decline, attitudes of teens toward sex first had to change. Desiring to bring about that change, she speaks to more than 500,000 teens a year. Stenzel recently became Senior Regional Clinic Coordinator for Community Pregnancy Clinics in Naples, Fort Myers and Sarasota, adding to her previous role as S.H.A.R.E. (Sexual Health and Relationship Education) Program Director.
Catherine Davis is a public speaker and civil rights champion, and the founder and president of the Restoration Project. She often partners with the National Black Pro-life Coalition, the Network of Politically Active Christians, and the Frederick Douglass Foundation in an ongoing effort to educate Americans about the issues that are impacting the black community. She is focused on positive change through education, local/state involvement and peaceful action.
Marietta Jaeger Lane is an outspoken critic of the death penalty. Her 7-year-old daughter, Susie, was kidnapped from the family’s tent during a camping vacation. For a year, the family knew nothing of Susie’s whereabouts. Lane will share her personal journey through tragedy and healing. She is co-founder of Journey of Hope and speaks about the death penalty and forgiveness in numerous venues throughout the United States and Europe.
Dr. F. Michael Gloth III, is a geriatric physician from Naples, and consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee. He is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the Chief Medical Officer for Moorings Park Healthy Living in Naples.
Another local connection is Deacon Alfred J. Mauriello II, who serves at St. Finbarr Parish in Naples, as well as the Philadelphia Archdiocese. As a Catholic physician and later an ordained deacon, medical-ethical issues have always been an area of his concern. He has served on hospital-based medical ethics committees. In March 2015, he completed training in Catholic Health Care Ethics through Catholic Distance University under the sponsorship of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Life and Family. In September 2016, he was appointed to a board of three deacons to implement the goals of expanding the role of ordained deacons in medical ethics and charged with the education component throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He has recently become involved in similar activities through the Venice Diocese Respect Life Office.
Besides hearing great presentations on hot-button issues such as abortion and euthanasia, vendors will offer materials that will be of interest for individual use and for pro-life volunteers. It’s a wonderful opportunity to spend time learning and praying with like-minded individuals from across the state.
A free pre-conference event featuring end-of-life issues will be held Friday, Sept. 28, 2-5 p.m. Besides a more comprehensive presentation, one talk will be on dementia, which affects an estimated 14.7 percent of persons older than 70 years of age in the United States, according to recent report of the New England Journal of Medicine.