PRLC Day Nuts and Bolts of Pro-Life Work
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
September 15, 2022
DEKALB—Christ the Teacher Parish was the setting for a gathering of around 45 Parish Respect Life Coordinators (PRLC) on Sept. 10, where they also were formally commissioned for their work on behalf of life.
The event was sponsored by the Life and Family Evangelization Office headed by Therese Stahl who gave an overview of the ministry and PRLC work.
“The PRLC serves both the parish and the diocese,” began a worksheet about their role that includes being appointed by their parish pastor and being in service to him; being familiar with the Pastoral Plan Pro-Life Activities as set forth by the U.S. Bishops; organizing pro-life committees to help plan and implement programs and services in their parish; not engaging in partisan politics; and sharing diocesan communications with their pastor, committee and bulletin editors.
A PRLC must be committed to the Church and its teachings, have leadership and organizational skills, be committed to life and willing to learn more, and to be an example of Christ-like humility by being the “hands and feet” of Christ, the worksheet said, noting also that respect-life issues go beyond the biggest issue of abortion to include assisted suicide, bioethics, care for the disabled, prisoners and victims, the ill and dying, conscience protection, capital punishment and more.
Speakers at the day included Bob Gilligan of the Catholic Conference of Illinois who explained his work as something of a “lobbyist” on behalf of the Church’s six Illinois bishops. His office also monitors what State legislators are doing.
Gilligan shared how the House and Senate works and showed a blue and red map of populations according to how they vote. He spoke of how only 19% of voters agree that abortion should be available for all nine months of pregnancy, of how those caring about morals lost by just “one or two votes” in the now national sex education standards being applied in Illinois (which he called “indoctrination” of young children in the rubrics of gender identity and such), and he pointed out the “Respect for Marriage” act now up for a vote that “could pass really soon.” Its passage will mean that marriage to anyone or anything is written into law.
“My opinion,” Gilligan said, “is that the Democratic opinion is not popular” but it gets approved when dressed up as a matter of “rights.”
Following lunch and a time of adoration, Jeanna Desideri of Corbella Clinic in South Elgin gave a talk on their work to encourage pregnant women to avoid abortion, to calm their fears and to support their needs.
The average pregnancy care center serves less than two percent of women who are pregnant, she said, and 90% of their clients are not abortion-minded when they walk in the door. Most pregnant women go “forgotten and unreached,” she added, saying that the average length of time between a positive pregnancy test and an abortion is only nine days.
In response to such statistics, Corbella invested in new marketing strategies, and now 60% of its clients are at high risk for abortion — and over half of them choose life with the clinic’s help. 
So much of the decision to abort “is fear-based,” Desideri said, adding that “ultrasounds are extremely important.” She noted that providing four to five ultrasounds over time allows mothers to see their children grow and develop, to slow down and think it all through and bring their loved ones into the decision.
“Most don’t change their minds until the fourth or fifth ultrasound,” Desideri said, adding that their new strategy has been “eye-opening” for her. She provided several testimonials from women who were helped by Corbella Clinic and said that “loving and caring for (these women) is a blessed gift.”
Father Jeremy Trowbridge, spiritual director for the LiFE Office provided thoughts about the spirituality of the work on behalf of life, encouraging participants as they “seek to give witness to the dignity and beauty of the human life.”
He called it a “spiritual warfare,” strongly recommending that the PRLCs stay “very close to our Blessed Mother” in the rosary, to pray for their communities as well as Church leaders, and to deliberately avoid the politics of the life issues, saying either side can be “faithful or unfaithful, with our Lord or against Him. …
“We (must) focus on the dignity of life (and) promotion of … the family.”
Group discussions by deanery were followed by Mass and commissioning of the PRLCs for their parish-based work on behalf of life.
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