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Marin Catholic respect life club models pro-life values

new_CSW05 1.26.17_CSW_Marin ProLife at WalkMarin Catholic Students at Walk for Life West Coast 2016. (Courtesy photo Marin Catholic)

January 26, 2017
Valerie Schmalz

Susan Flores-Chavez was born into a Catholic family and she is part of the Marin Catholic respect life club because she believes the Catholic Church’s teaching on life. But she comes to the tightly knit group of about 15 regular members from personal experience too. “I’ve had older cousins who have gotten pregnant and they chose life – the joy they bring to my life!” the high school junior said.

The Marin Catholic respect life club organizes activities throughout the year, but by far the largest event is the Walk for Life West Coast, held this year on Jan. 21. “We advertise it to the whole school, and usually we have 50 people. We all walk together as a big group,” said Domenica Barbagelata-Miller, junior, president of the club.

“What’s awesome about our club is we are really inclusive. All events are open to everyone. It kind of speaks to the character of the club that we keep inviting and inviting,” said Nicole Ferris, moderator.

The club is very respectful, but engages with fellow students who might disagree, said Mariana Flores-Chavez, a senior. “Having the respect makes it more comfortable for everyone to voice their opinion.”

Tom Jacobsen, a football player for the high school, cited the Adopt a Mom drive where the club collects clothes and monetary donations. “We tell all the classes to gather clothes and stuff for mothers who need help and are struggling in the winter,” Jacobsen said. November was National Adoption Month and the respect life club hosted a celebration at lunch. People who had been adopted were invited to stop by the lunch table, and the group gave each one a flower and took a Polaroid. The group participated in 40 Days for Life, standing vigil outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Rafael and several members of the group also attended a United for Life luncheon where David Daleiden and the woman who worked for StemExpress spoke about the Center for Medical Progress efforts to expose Planned Parenthood’s trade in aborted baby parts.

Other activities include helping one month with the monthly Handicapables luncheon for people with disabilities. “We’re trying to show all the different ways that we protect life – with the major one being the Walk for Life,” Ferris said.

“We go into theology classes and encourage students to sign up,” for the Walk for Life, Barbagelata-Miller said. “On the day of the Walk we have a Mass. We stay with our group the whole day. It’s free to go and we hand out little labels that say Marin Catholic Walk for Life.”

“It’s really a great thing. Everyone in the community can come together on something we believe,” Jacobsen said. Some of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist who teach on campus join the group. A Franciscan brother always goes with the group as well, Tom said. “Everyone is singing. It adds a different vibe to our group,” Flores-Chavez said. “We also give out rosaries to people we encounter on the walk.” When the group returns, they have pizza at Marin Catholic and talk about the day before going their separate ways, Ferris said

“Definitely our whole school is not going to agree that everyone should be pro-life,” Barbagelata-Miller said, but, she said, “People agree to disagree because we have mutual understanding at our school. Everyone is really open about it.”

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