By Megan Erbacher
The Message assistant editor
Mater Dei High School held a special assembly April 28 as a way for students and the entire school community to stand up for life. Guest speakers included Mater Dei Priest-Delegate Father Ed Schnur; Indiana Republican State Sen. Jim Tomes; Right to Life of Southwest Indiana Executive Director Mary Ellen Van D
yke; Jason Gries, who shared experiences he and his wife have had with adoption; and Mater Dei theology department chair Greg Schaefer.
To celebrate the day, students wore red t-shirts that read, "Wildcats Roar for Life," which were donated by Right to Life of Southwest Indiana.
Father Ed said Catholic social teaching calls us to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development. It’s important to celebrate the dignity and well-being of every human life, he said, regardless of race, beliefs, nationality, age, ability or disability.
Sen. Tomes discussed two bills that came through the 2019 state legislative session that he will never forget. One concerned the mistreatment of animals, and the other sought to outlaw dismemberment abortion. Both bills passed, Sen. Tomes said, but the abortion bill received 10 fewer affirmative votes. He said he doesn’t normally speak about a bill unless he’s presenting, but he was called to speak on behalf of the abortion bill.
“I pointed out that, in our session, on the senate side, every day we start with a prayer,” he said. “Someone can volunteer, and I have done it many times because I feel it’s an honor to pray in our statehouse to ask God for guidance, wisdom, direction and to bless our proceedings.”
Tomes said he reminded the senators that they began that day with prayer to ask for those blessings from God.
“I wanted to let them all know they’re about to vote on an important bill about (the sanctity of life), and I wanted them to think about (the fact that), just moments earlier, they stood in silence with their hands folded asking for God’s guidance,” he said. “While we want to make sure we protect our animals because they are gifts from God, we also want to protect the most precious gift God gives us, our babies.”
In conjunction with the special assembly, Mater Dei students collected $1,000 during a Celebrate Life fundraiser. Mater Dei President Andy Morris said those funds will benefit five organizations that support the sanctity of life: Right to Life of Southwest Indiana, Marian Educational Outreach, River Bend Nursing & Rehabilitation, Project Rachel and Little Lambs of Evansville.
Morris said the past year came with many struggles and sacrifices. When COVID-19 entered our culture, Morris said, it impacted every part of our lives.
“The first thing we started to do until we knew more information, was to take precautions to protect one another, to protect the most vulnerable,” he said. “It’s because each one of you matters, and each life is precious and valuable in the eyes of God.”
“Life is a gift, and it is something worth roaring about,” Schaefer said.