Standing up for the powerless


CCHS students Johnny Teixeira 18’, Emily Smedley 18’, Ceci Bacich 20’, and CCHS math teacher Ms. Christine LaPorte pose with Bishop Thomas Daly, one of the speakers at the Cornerstone Catholic Conference.

Savannah Dupper, Spiritual Life Editor

For the first time in Cathedral Catholic High School history, members of the Dons For Life club recently attended the Cornerstone Catholic Conference in Washington, where they deepened their knowledge and perspective about all aspects of Catholic faith.

“Being pro-life means defending the dignity of life, no matter how inconvenient or unpopular it may be,” leader of Dons For Life and CCHS math teacher Ms. Christine LaPorte said.

A pro-life group on the CCHS campus with 50 active members, Dons For Life meets every Wednesday at lunch, giving students the opportunity to promote, to discuss, and to celebrate their Catholic beliefs, which in turn generates positivity around campus through a pro-life message.

By attending the Cornerstone Catholic Conference, students expanded their faith-based values. Held Oct. 21-22, the Cornerstone Catholic Conference brought together thousands of empowered Catholic individuals to gather in unison, to hear bishops speak, and to attend mass.

“I think the conference was different than a majority of the events I have attended, and being a part of such a large group of Catholic individuals is very refreshing,” member of Dons For Life Emily Smedley 18’ said. “It’s really comforting to know that so many people share the same beliefs as I do, and [they] are willing to make a change.”

Ms. LaPorte shared similar thoughts about the Catholic environment.

“It was so great that everyone was having a positive pro-life Catholic conversation,” she said.

The conference’s universal message to protect human life and the unborn resonates perfectly with the purpose and mission of Dons For Life.

“It is so important to continue to grow in our understanding of what it truly means to be called pro-life and believe in a right to life for everyone,” Smedley said.

Member of Dons For Life Ceci Bacich 20’ also added her thoughts.

“As humans, we have to acknowledge that life is beautiful and that life is a gift,” she said. “All the speakers really put that at the forefront of their discussions.”

In addition to studying pro-life facets, students heard from several prominent speakers about the symbolism and importance of Catholic mass.  

“A speaker that stood out to me was Bishop Barron because of his unique take on the meaning of the mass and the eucharist,” Dons For Life member Johnny Teixeira 18’ said. “His pure knowledge about Catholicism really intrigued me, and his opinions regarding the mass really spoke to me.”

Smedley added her own opinion about Bishop Barron’s speech.

“I will never look at mass the same way after hearing that talk, ” she said. “All the speakers helped my faith grow immensely.”

Of all the lessons learned, the profound message focusing on solidarity, community, and brotherhood promoted at the conference most impacted the attendees.

“Every speaker challenged us to see everyone as our neighbor,” Ms. LaPorte said. “When you start seeing people as the face of Christ and as your neighbor, then you can love your neighbor as yourself.”

Teixeira echoed the same sentiment.

“We must treat everyone, from the unborn to inmates on death row, like our neighbor, not just the people we are comfortable with,” he said. “Neighbor is a word that extends to all people.”

Having gained a new perspective on a variety of issues, Dons For Life members are bringing valuable elements of their experience to CCHS.

“I’ve already taken my knowledge and used it in many impactful conversations on campus,” Smedley said.

The mission of Dons for Life promotes the love and validity of all life, and the groups’ attendance at the Cornerstone Catholic Conference fortified their position on the matter.

“In a reality, where there is so much violence and hatred, the key to rebuilding our world has to start with treating people with dignity,” Bacich said. “We need to defend life…especially the life that doesn’t seem to matter in our society.”