This spring, I have had the opportunity to intern at the Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. My name is Brigid Lynn and I am currently a sophomore in the Honors College at Adelphi University, where I’m studying sociology. Working in an office which focuses its energies on a mission so close to my heart has been both informative and fulfilling. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the many different elements that fall under the umbrella of “Respect Life.”
I had the pleasure of sitting in on the annual Deanery Coordinator meeting, during which representatives from parishes all over Long Island come together to stay up to date on Respect Life efforts and issues. They also have the chance to voice their comments and concerns, or share success stories from the work of their parish’s Respect Life ministry. This meeting was a great opportunity to raise awareness for the many services and resources available to women and men who need them. The Gianna of Long Island Center for Women’s Reproductive Health & Fertility is an amazing and innovative service which has been very exciting to learn about. Project Rachel is another service which helps women with the process of spiritual healing after an abortion. These services and resources can be so beneficial to our communities, but we need to get the word out and let people know that they’re available to them.
Something which stood out to me during the Deanery Coordinator Meeting was the significant lack of younger representatives. While I appreciate and recognize the hard work and wisdom of the older generations, I think that there is also value in the skills of those who can reach a younger audience. Resources such as social media might have the potential to be better utilized in order to raise awareness of Respect Life issues and services. With greater participation from a wide range of age groups, the mission of the Respect Life Office could have the potential to make even bigger waves in our Diocese.
During my time in this office I’ve also been able to help with elements of the Respect Life Youth Contest. It was very powerful to see so many middle school and high school students use their creativity to share a message of life. I think that by encouraging young people in our schools and parishes to promote a culture of life, we’re investing in the future. We know the capacity for change that young people possess, and I loved having the chance to see some of that in action through their contest entries.
Overall, I can say that being an intern at the Respect Life Office has been a learning experience. I am grateful for the people I’ve met and the knowledge I’ve gained. My biggest takeaway from this experience has been finding out about the many respect life issues we are faced with in almost every aspect of our society. In spite of these many issues, I’ve been reminded that we must continue to look at every person with compassion and understanding. Change will not happen overnight, but with our continued efforts, actions, and prayers, we can make a difference in how our world looks at life.