2018 Diocesan Pro-Life Essay Winners — 
‘Be Not Afraid’

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High School Division — First Place 

In 1999, my birth mother in China was “NOT AFRAID,” she was unable to take care of me so she placed me at the steps of a police station. I was taken to an orphanage where I remained for seven years. How brave she was to risk punishment for abandoning me. My birth mother was not afraid to do what was right to save her child. She knew that life is important and must be cherished.

My adoptive parents were “NOT AFRAID.” They knew God was leading them to me. My new life in America led me to a deep and loving relationship with God. My family pointed me in the direction of a deeper understanding of God’s love for me. 

I think back to how I lived my first seven years as a young child without a family and love. Now, I realize that I was never alone. God whispered to me, “Be not afraid.” There was always a voice inside me that gave me strength. It was God! I am now a young adult who is “NOT AFRAID.” My faith and love of the Catholic Church is my identity. There is no better feeling than to be with God and my Church family. It is such a wonderful feeling of peace to be in the arms of God along with those who share the faith.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. So that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2).

Many of our brothers and sisters today do not believe that the moment of conception must be respected as the beginning of life. Our society has become so self-centered that a new life has no value. If I could get the opportunity to speak to these people I would tell them “Be Not Afraid,” God is with you and will guide you and help you to realize that every life is important. Every life is a reflection of God’s great love. 

I have just returned from the “Love Saves Lives” Pro-Life March in Washington D.C. It was such an emotional experience to be with thousands of people who know that God’s love saves us all. I know from experience that God’s love has saved me and I know in my heart that God’s love is there for everyone. We just need to reach out and open our hearts to His unending love. 

“Be Not Afraid.” Stand up for your faith. Stand up for your values. Stand up for yourself. God wants us to stand up for life from conception to natural death. “Be Not Afraid!” 

— Alexa Paige
St. John Paul II High School, Hyannis, Grade 11
Holy Trinity Parish, West Harwich

High School Division — Second Place 

It is easy to say that we live in a world dominated by fear. Many of these fears stem from issues that threaten the rights of the individual. There are global fears of terrorist attacks, the decisions of world leaders, poverty, trafficking, and other catastrophes. In our own country, we see hatred between individuals, based on the factors that make them unique. Perhaps some of the most vivid examples of fear that we can find are the ones we experience on a daily basis. We profess our Pro-Life beliefs, and yet we fear the rejection of peers, superiors, and even family.

Sometimes there might be doubt arising from within, telling us that it would be better to abandon said beliefs, professing the lies of the culture, the media, and those who possess power and status. As we are reminded by Scripture, however, God does not forsake us in our everyday plights, especially in defending the dignity of life. As it was written in Scripture: “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Jos 1:9).

The struggle to defend life has been a prevalent part of my life. My Catholic upbringing has taught me much about the dignity of life, from conception until natural death. It has prepared me for some of the opposition I have faced in professing such beliefs. An example of this can be found when I have defended my own family from criticism. I am the oldest of seven children, which is seen as uncommon and even outrageous in modern culture. People remark upon the very existence of my siblings and I, stating how outrageous the college costs will be for us someday, or even questioning my parents’ forward thinking at their choice to accept life. They refuse to see my siblings and I as gifts of life, and rather as burdens. Other times, I am questioned by peers as to why I am so vocal in my Pro-Life beliefs, with some even shunning me because we differ in our views of the subject. Admittedly, I have been afraid at times to express my beliefs openly, fearing the rejection of others. I am reminded by these peers, the strangers that address my family, and society itself, that it would be easier to remove that fear from my life, and follow the lies of the culture of death.

Despite this, I must remember, as must we all, that we not only defend life, but fight against the fear that causes others to choose death through abortion. St. John Paul II noted the struggle and fear that surrounds the decision to choose life or end it through abortion in the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, when he stated: “Decisions that go against life sometimes arise from difficult or even tragic situations of profound suffering, loneliness, a total lack of economic prospects, depression and anxiety about the future” (St. John Paul II, “Evangelium Vitae.” Vatican: the Holy See. Vatican Website. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1995. http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae.html). Mothers who face such a decision may be afraid of rejection, loss, and otherwise unpredictable and sorrowful situations. These mothers may not have someone to tell them that God is with them, and that they have nothing to fear.

They may not know of the dignity of life, or recognize its value. This is the mission of the Pro-Life movement: to spread the culture of life wherever we are, and vanquish the fear caused by the culture of death. We must not be silenced by fear. Instead, must move forward with the courage that God gives us, and the knowledge that we speak the truth to the world.

— Sonja Morin
Bishop Connolly High School, Fall River, Grade 10
Holy Name Parish, Fall River

Elementary School Division — First Place 

Have you ever thought how much a single life is worth? John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This may be a common Bible verse, but it shows a human life is worth our Savior’s blood. If a life was not worth God’s sacrifice of His Son, He would not have made us in His image.  

Our world today disrespects life by practicing euthanasia, suicide, and abortion. Every year in the United States alone, far too many people lose their lives annually due to mercy killings, suicides and the abortions of innocent children. God created a perfect world that sin demolished with lying, selfishness, and murder out of convenience. 

Many people don’t comprehend their worth and decide to take their own or another’s life. When a life is taken, it is an interference with God’s Divine plan. Every person is a thread in God’s tapestry. John 13:7 says, “You don’t understand what I am doing, but someday you will.” This means you may be going through a problematic part in life, but all our suffering and works lead us toward the glory of God. We must have faith that God is there for us. We know faith is worthwhile because Romans 8:28 tells us, “We know that for those who love God, all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.”

Many in this society feel when a patient is old or is mentally unstable, euthanasia is an option. But Exodus 23:7 advises, “Have nothing to do with false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.” Murder, under any circumstance, healthy or not is against God’s will. My grandmother had dementia for five years before she died. In her last week of life she was basically unresponsive unless we asked her if she wanted to pray. When she said yes, she would get up and fold her weak hands and pray. She was strong until the end even when everyone thought she was not understanding her surroundings. She had faith her whole life and is now in Heaven. You must believe that everyone is a valuable soul God created. 

In conclusion, life is precious. Love God because He first loved us. To love God is to not be afraid but to trust His plan to value life at every stage. Cherish His amazing creation and respect the life He has given us and others.

— Katherine White
Coyle and Cassidy Junior High School, Taunton
Grade 8

Elementary School Division — Second Place 

Fear, a natural human instinct. To encounter fear on a daily basis, at some level, is completely in the norm. Whether it be a spider, heights, or snakes, everyone has something they are afraid of. However, with faith, every fear, horror, or anxiety can be wiped away by the hands of Jesus. God can derive serenity and strength from the depths of everyone’s greatest fears. Being Pro-Life means to trust in God throughout all your life, from conception to natural death, knowing that God is protecting you. 

Even though fear is very real, it can be conquered by having faith in love, especially the love of Jesus. By having trust that Jesus will love and protect you, nothing is impossible. Although this is easier said than done, the love God has for everyone is crucial. The decision of an abortion can be a choice to love and preserve life or a choice full of fear and lack of faith that terminates an innocent life. This choice of love and acceptance of God’s plan may seem hard, but one’s faithfulness to God does not go unnoticed. Whether it be the single mother working three jobs to feed her children or the dying elderly woman, everyone could learn something from the Scripture, “Do not fear: I am with you.” This quote from Isaiah reminds everyone that God will never leave their side.

Through the sadness of fear, God shows His unending love. Through an unwanted pregnancy, a mother makes the choice of life and finds the greatest love. Through an elderly woman dying, she is no longer suffering and in the arms of Jesus. All life is precious, so it must be protected. Even if there is fear, that is not a valid excuse for a human to make decisions regarding another’s life. This is why society must understand that through fear beautiful things can occur. Many others stand with the movement of loving life. Just this year there were thousands of people at the March for Life in Washington D.C., who all came to advocate for those who do not have a voice. I was one of those people. That is why I am able to say that life is going to be victorious in a culture of death. I am the Pro-Life generation.

— Kara Koska
All Saints Catholic Middle School, New Bedford, Grade 8
Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, New Bedford

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