Room at the Inn banquet in Charlotte recognizes pro-life leaders
CHARLOTTE — The excitement was palpable at the 17th annual Room at the Inn banquet held Oct. 27. More than 1,100 Room at the Inn supporters gathered in the Crown Ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center/NASCAR Hall of Fame in uptown Charlotte to rally around this year's theme, "Defending Life on Solid Ground."
Pictured: Tracy Winsor, co-founder of Be Not Afraid Ministry in Charlotte, is the 2011 recipient of the Monsignor William Wellein Award, given annually by Room at the Inn to a person who has given outstanding service to defend the rights of the unborn and protect the dignity and sanctity of human life. (Sueann Howell, Catholic News Herald)
Three pro-life awards were presented at the banquet: the Monsignor William Wellein Award, given to Tracy Winsor, co-founder of Be Not Afraid ministry of Charlotte; the Outstanding Service Award, presented to Linda Reece, a volunteer at Room at the Inn who teachers mothers how to prepare healthy meals for their children; and the Hero For Life Award, given to Joylily Bogle of Waxhaw, a 17-year-old student who gives generously of her time at Room at the Inn, starting in the clothing ministry, helping where needed and providing Spanish/English translation services, too.
"Since its beginning this ministry has touched thousands of lives, through the grace of God and the generosity of our donors," said Jeannie Wray, Room at the Inn's executive director. "In the past fiscal year through the residential and outreach programs, 557 women and children and newborns were served. Thirty-three of them actively considered abortion, but Room at the Inn provided the hope and support for them to choose life for their babies.
"This year we also distributed roughly 10,000 pounds of food through our food pantry. The need is still so great and that is why we must always have a presence in Charlotte."
Bishop Peter J. Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte was present at the banquet and gave the invocation.
A main highlight for Room at the Inn this past year was the groundbreaking for the new college-based maternity center on the campus of Belmont Abbey College in Belmont. Room at the Inn hopes to open the facility in 2012.
During the banquet Wray also shared some sad news: Kortney Blythe-Gordon, a former Room at the Inn staff member who had joined Students for Life as a field director, was recently killed on her way home from a pro-life presentation at a college in Georgia. She and her unborn daughter died in the wreck. Wray promised that Room at the Inn will memorialize Blythe-Gordon with a garden at the new college facility. Feminists for Life also plans to plant a tree there in her honor.
After the awards presentations, the keynote address was delivered by Dr. Gerard M. Nadal, national director of Medical Students for Life. Nadal is a microbiologist who has served as a professor at St. John's University and the Catholic University of America in addition to his work in the pro-life movement.
Nadal criticized the way language is being manipulated by abortion supporters to redefine when human life begins.
"Most people are unaware that more than 30 years ago, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists changed the very definition of conception and pregnancy. They are both now defined as the implantation of the embryo... That opens the gates to Hell," Nadal warned. "So if a woman is on birth control that prevents implantation, it is not considered an abortifacent then. We see how the lie then sets up a whole domino effect in the medical community."
For more information about Room at the Inn of Charlotte which is not affiliated with the Room at the Inn of the Triad, go to www.rati.org. To view this year's video about the women and children they serve, click here.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy