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LAKE CHARLES – The second annual presentation of the “Pro Vita” awards highlighted the 2017 Respect Life Banquet, sponsored by the Office of Pro-Life of the Diocese of Lake Charles, held recently. Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the founder and president of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization, dedicated to creating a Christ-like solution to family breakdown was the guest speaker.  The honorees were Hailey Guth of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in the youth category and Lea Poncho of St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in the adult layperson classification.

Hailey Guth, right, a parishioner of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church receives the 2017 "Pro Vita" Award in the youth category from Bishop Glen John Provost, center, and Rickard Newman, left, Director of the Office of Pro Life, during the annual Respect Life Banquet. The award was given in recognition of Guth's work and service protecting the unborn.

According to Rickard Newman director of the Office of Pro-Life, the jury panel that chose Guth made the following comments, “Hailey began to pray for guidance from God on how to fight for the rights of the unborn and started a Pro-Life group at Barbe High School – their first Students for Life group. In the summer of 2016 she also worked with Pulse to put on a successful one-day rally in Lake Charles. Hailey will attend the March for Life pilgrimage to Washington D.C. this year and continues to learn about what it means to pro-life and share it with others.”

The citation for Poncho read, “Aside from being a busy wife and mother of four, Lea Poncho volunteers in support of pro-life causes not only in her home parish of St. Martin de Porres but in the diocese at large as well.

“Lea’s chief ministry is the Gabriel Project. She never hesitates to come to the aid of a Gabriel Project mom. No matter how hopeless or desperate the situation might seem, Lea finds a way to provide and does this with a joyful and prayerful spirit. She generously shares her experience and wisdom with others who are working in the diocese and other Gabriel Project groups. 

Bishop Glen John Provost, center, presents the "Pro Vita" Award in the adult category to Lea Poncho, right, for her work and service in the past year protecting the unborn. The presentation took place at the Respect Life Banquet. At left is Rickard Newman, director of the Office of Pro Life.

She also volunteers at Immaculate Conception Cathedral School, coordinates “Angels” in her parish and ministers to women in prison. Lea has heard the Lord’s call in her life and answers by giving her life in return. She has said yes to life and makes it her daily mission to share this belief, this love, this way of life with everyone she meets.”
The fund-raising banquet provides support for a number of Pro-Life projects, including the newly instituted Grief to Grace, a spiritual and psychological program for anyone who has suffered degradation or violation through physical, emotional, sexual or spiritual abuse and is appropriate for those who have endured traumatic violations during childhood, adolescence or as adults. Contact Mrs. Marjorie Long or the Office of Pro-Life at 337-439-7400, Ext. 317 for more information and how to become involved in this ministry.
Other pro-life ministries helped by the banquet proceeds include, Rachel’s Vineyard, which offers two weekend retreats at the Saint Charles Center to those who have been involved in abortion(s) and are seeking healing and repentance. During these weekends the retreatants have a chance to express and reconcile post-abortive emotions and begin the process of restoration and renewal; the annual March for Life Pilgrimage to Washington, DC calling to end abortion; the Gabriel Project, which helps bring hope and assistance to women experiencing crisis pregnancies.

Dr. Morse earned her doctorate in Economics at the University of Rochester in 1980 and taught economics at Yale University and George Mason University. She has authored several books and spoken around the globe on marriage, family and sexuality and was named one of the “Catholic Stars of 2013” by Our Sunday Visitor – a list that also included Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI.

In her talk Dr. Morse spoke about the sexual revolution, its victims, and “that the sexual revolution airbrushes all the bad things away from the picture.

“You have been supporting the pro-life cause for many years, and my goal tonight is to hopefully, to put the pieces together so you can see just how big the sexual revolution really is and how the pro-life issue fits into that larger scheme of things,” she continued. “Everyone in American are victims of the sexual revolution; all of those around us, every family in America s affected in one way or another.” 

She pointed out the three big ideas that are involved in the sexual revolution and provided the contradictions to those ideas.
“First, a good and decent society should separate sex from babies, which I call the contraceptive ideology,” Dr. Morse said. “The second, is that a good and decent society should separate both sex and babies from marriage; you can have babies you can have sex, it doesn’t matter. I call that the divorce ideology; and finally, the third point of the sexual revolution is that a good and decent society should eliminate all differences between men and women.”

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