Encounter to provide tools for defending life

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First U.S. Priests and Seminarians Encounter for Life REDESSVIDA

Nov. 8-10

St. Paul Parish, 330 W. Coral Gables Dr., Phoenix

(602) 354-2120, ext. 9000

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Third Prolife Gala-Dinner

6:30-9:30 p.m., Nov. 8

Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix North, 2532 W. Peoria Ave., Phoenix

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Preparations are under way for the first U.S. Priests and Seminarians Encounter for Life (REDESSVIDA) Nov. 8-10 at St. Paul Parish in north Phoenix.

This will be the first time the encounter has been held in the United States — the first one was held in 2011 sponsored by Human Life International. Laity are also invited to participate. The Diocese of Phoenix’ Office of Hispanic Parish Leadership Support is hosting the event, which also includes the direct participation from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat on Pro-Life Activities.

Within the framework of the event is the Third Prolife Gala-Dinner at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 8 at the Four Points Hotel. Human Life International president Fr. Shenan J. Boquet will be the keynote speaker for the encounter and the gala-dinner.

Dr. Carmen Portela, Hispanic Parish Leadership Support director, said that he expects close to 300 participants, including priests, seminarians and laity.

This congress “will offer pastoral tools to be more effective in the fight to defend human life,” she said. “The encounter will open a new breach in the defense of life, will rise to another level and will be in the very heart of the Church.”

She highlighted the importance of the REDESSVIDA Encounter, since priests and seminarians are the agents and future agents in the sacred work of promoting the culture of life and defending the sanctity of all human life.

Portela offered her thanks to Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted for all of the support he’s given for this encounter to come to fruition, and that there are many benefits and blessings that will come to the diocese and its faithful.

Adolfo Castañeda, Human Life International’s education director, told The Catholic Sun that the he is excited to present at the encounter, and he hopes to see many laity, who are also invited to participate.

“All of us — bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and laity — are called to promote a culture of life and to fight against the culture of death,” said Castañeda.

It’s important that priests participate, because, together with the bishops, “they are our guide in the world we live in and for our fight for the respect for life, which is a fight against abortion, contraception and hedonistic sexual education,” he added.

It is because of this that it’s important that laity attend the encounter, Castañeda said.

“Parents should be aware that we are the most important educators for our children, we are the protectors of their chastity against the avalanche against their purity,” he said.

Other presenters include: Alejandro Bermúdez, director of Aci Prensa y producer of EWTN Español; Tom Grenchick and Mary Clusky from the USCCB’s Pro-Life Secretariat; and Fr. Víctor Salomón from “Pastoral de Respeto a la Vida.”