LaPlace Pro-Life movement hears moving speakers at annual benefit breakfast

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 27, 2008

LAPLACE – It was a moving morning for the crowd of about 200, who gathered in LaPlace recently in support of pro-life.

The LaPlace branch of the Knights of Columbus, in conjunction with St. Joan of Arc Champions for Life, sponsored a pro-life breakfast on May 3 in an effort to strengthen local support of the anti-abortion movement, a hot button issue throughout the nation.

Champions for Life member Earline Lemoine said the pro-life group got its start four years ago, when one of the members took a trip to Washington D.C. for the March for Life, a rally against abortion in the U.S. Lemoine said the group consists of members of St. Peter, Our Lady of Grace, and Ascension of our Lord.

Lemoine said the group spends time each Thursday walking the sidewalks outside of the Ridgelake Causeway Medical Clinic, a local abortion clinic, doing what they can to convince the men and women coming to the clinic to reconsider what they are about to do.

“They find this ministry very rewarding,” said Lemoine. “It is most satisfying when they learn that a baby’s life has been saved because of their efforts.”

Lemoine said the attendants on hand at the breakfast were treated to three guest speakers, who told stories about their experiences related to the pro-life cause.

Brother Paul O’Donnell of the Franciscan Brothers of Peace of Minneapolis, Minn. was the first to take the stage. O’Donnell was a well-known figure during the very public fight involving the family of Terri Schiavo. O’Donnell talked at length about the case, in which Schiavo’s husband wanted to take her off life support, but the family did not. He also spent time discussing other issues regarding the sanctity of life.

Rosa Schoolmeyer, a local representative of “Silent No More,” and a post-abortion counselor, recounted her own life-changing story. Schoolmeyer told the crowd that she had two abortions before converting to Catholicism. She encouraged teenagers in attendance to always consider abstinence until marriage.

The final speaker of the morning was Father Anthony Anokete of Nigeria, who is now working in the diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. Fr. Ankote discussed his work spreading the “Devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus,” as a “healing ointment for the wounds of souls.”

After hearing from the speakers, Monsignor Robert Guste, pastor for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Kenner, presented Paul Sutphen, the local promoter of a bus trip to Washington D.C. for the March for Life, with the first annual Proudly Pro-life award, for his efforts in generating interest in the pro-life movement in the St. John area.