Today, the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, is also known as Respect Life Sunday. There is a wonderful story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on September 9, 2011 that is worth revisiting in this regard. It is the story of a courageous young girl, Bayza Weeks, and the compassionate support of Principal Barry Lieske and De La Salle High School in downtown Minneapolis, which makes real and genuine what it means to respect life.
She sat outside the principal's office at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, embarrassed and alone on a cold day in what had been, for most of her life, a cold world. She shook and cried.
A diligent student, she played first chair clarinet and sang in the a cappella choir.
Several months pregnant at age 15, she faced a dilemma. Abort the child, leave school, or maybe both.
Her father's words had been harsh: Keep the child, ruin your life.
The principal took a deep breath. Pregnancies were rare at the Catholic school. He spoke: We believe in life. We believe in education.
She heard something different: We believe in you.
Please read the rest of the story and see the short video here. The story of this now accomplished woman and her son, himself a freshman this year at De La Salle, is beautiful. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that my youngest son Sam attends De La Salle. From my own experience, It is precisely this respect for all people in all stages and positions in life which reverberates down the school’s halls and which make it a model Catholic institution.
John W. Martens
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