Annual Ecumenical Breakfast Celebrates Life
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 24, 2019
ROCKFORD—The annual January Life Breakfast sponsored by the International Organization for the Family was held Jan. 16, the morning of the departure to Washington D.C. of diocesan March for Life buses.
The ecumenical event at Giovanni’s restaurant welcomed Bishop David Malloy to give the invocation, while Rev. Kevin Olson of Redeemer Lutheran Church provided the closing prayer. 
In between, two awards were presented and the room heard a talk from Touchstone magazine executive editor, James M. Kushiner.
“Life surrounds us. We live in a world that is teeming with life,” Kushiner said. 
Reflecting on his participation at the past weekend’s March for Life in Chicago and noting its usual opponents, he said those opponents don’t understand that the prolifers “have a prior commitment to say ‘Yes’ to life wherever it appears,” seeing it as a gift from God.
He shared a lesson he learned when he was 26 years old, that we “have a moral obligation to make our convictions known about life, and if we don’t, we’re complicit in abortion.”
In speaking of the sanctity of life, Kushiner said that “we have a unique connection to the Divine.” 
He pointed to the Book of Genesis, how God breathed the breath of life only into the man. 
He spoke at length about the “ecumenical ties” across religions and cultures in the cause for life, saying, “the prolife witness spans the globe ... Your witness today joins with the witness of the ancient Church and faithful men and women throughout the world and throughout time, making a clear witness to the wrongness of abortion and the supreme value of human life.”
“You and me,” he concluded, “are all connected, and we are truly blessed to be in the land of the living.”
Pro-life work honored
The Family Heritage Award was presented to the Marty and Katrissa Howard family, parishioners at St. Mary of Pine Bluff Church near Madison, Wis. Married for 16 years, they have eight children, grew up involved in prolife work and have continued their involvement with their children through prayer vigils, sidewalk witnessing and raising money for prolife causes.
The White Rose Award, in memory of two teenagers who were killed by the Nazis for their short-lived effort to speak out against that regime, was presented to 16-year-old Ellie Schneider. 
Growing up in a family that regularly prayed at the former abortuary in Rockford, Ellie continues participating in prolife efforts. Since 2013, for example, she has raised close to $19,000 for the Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford. She attends and is active in the choir at St. Mary Oratory in Rockford.