METUCHEN – The Diocese of Metuchen will honor two pro-life advocates during its annual Respect Life Mass to be held Jan. 23 at noon at St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral, 32 Elm Avenue in Metuchen. The 2011 award recipients are Theresa Borkes and Susan Williamson.
Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski will be the principal celebrant and homilist at the Mass.
Established in 1988 as a prayer service celebrated in conjunction with the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the US, the Respect Life Mass today celebrates life from the womb to the tomb.
“The two women being honored by the Diocese this year are both beacons of hope in the ongoing quest to raise awareness of our Catholic pro-life positions,” said Jennifer Ruggiero, director of the diocesan Respect for Life Office. “More than simply raising awareness, it is through their own personal involvement with and dedication to pro-life issues that these women truly inspire others in their midst; and, as we know, a person’s actions speak much louder than words.”
Borkes is being honored for her work as a parish pro-life representative for over 20 years at St. John Vianney, Colonia. During her years of service, Borkes has served as a mentor and public speaker, established a Bi-Annual Holy Hour for Life, organized a Diocesan pro-life Poster/Essay contest in her parish, and coordinated group transportation for multiple pro-life events in Washington, DC, and Trenton, NJ.
At her parish, Borkes also established a Monthly Maternity Collection of new items and money, which have been distributed to Catholic Charities, area pregnancy help centers and public housing for women and children. To bolster these efforts, she established fundraising initiatives such as an annual pro-life breakfast, flower sales and garage sales.
In addition to her pro-life work, Borkes holds the esteemed position of Lady Commander with Star of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and is a member of her parish choir.
Williamson, a teacher and department chair at Bishop George Ahr High School, Edison, is being honored for her work in moderating the activities and initiatives of the school’s Pro-Life Club for the past seven years. During this time she has served as a leader and mentor to her students, coordinating community service projects and participating with them in key political events.
A parishioner of St. James, Woodbridge, Williamson is an advocate for pro-life reform and awareness among both men and women, seeking to protect the rights of the most vulnerable among us, including babies and children as well as disabled and elderly persons. As an adoptive parent, she values the decision of a woman who gives her unborn child the gift of life. Williamson has testified before the New Jersey State Legislature at a hearing regarding a proposal to unseal adoption records; she supports the right to privacy of biological mothers in return for their life-giving choice.
All are invited to the Pro-Vita Mass and reception which will follow in the Cathedral Community Room. For more information call the diocesan Respect for Life Office at 1-732-562-1990, ext. 1629 or visit www.diometuchen.org
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