Thaddeus Baklinski

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LifeSiteNews editor-in-chief on exciting two-week pro-life speaking tour in New Zealand

Thaddeus Baklinski
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AUCKLAND, New Zealand, April 8, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - While LifeSiteNews can reach every part of the world electronically with news and insight concerning life, family and culture issues, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews, John-Henry Westen, has taken his expertise personally on a pro-life speaking tour to New Zealand.

At the invitation of Family Life International New Zealand, Westen travelled halfway around the world from his home country of Canada to attend and speak at the Auckland Eucharistic Convention as well as at various locations around New Zealand.

The Auckland Eucharistic Convention, with the theme "Faith and the New Evangelization," took place this weekend, April 5 to 7. Westen spoke on "faith in action," as well as on the meaning of the New Evangelization. Attendance at the Convention swelled over the course of the weekend to well over 1000.

"Those two talks were very well received and there was much feedback, some of it truly heartbreaking with people sharing their life stories with me afterward," Westen said. 

Before arriving at the Eucharistic Convention Westen spoke at several high schools, including St Dominic's College, Marcellin College, Rosmini College, and St Paul's College, all in Auckland. 

More high schools talks are scheduled for this week, with Westen addressing students and staff at St John's College in Hamilton, and Aquinas College in Tauranga, on April 9th, and further engagements in Waikato, Napier, Wellingon and Dunedin.

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"This is an amazing opportunity for students to understand the issues at hand, the urgency in which we must act, all the while gaining an insight into what it might be to live their Catholic faith through pro-life work or through a vocation to the priesthood or religious life," said Michelle Kaufman, the communications director for Family Life International New Zealand.

A very important exposé on the Canadian experience of legalized same-sex "marriage" will be given by Westen at two locations in the next two weeks. 

Westen will speak on "Same Sex Marriage and the Threat to Religious Freedom – The Canadian Experience" in Wellington on Thursday, April 11th at St Anne’s Parish Hall, Emmett Street, Newtown, and again in Auckland on Sunday, April 14th, at Liston Hall, 30-32 Hobson Street. 

Currently same-sex “marriage” legislation is before the New Zealand Parliament. 

The organizers note that a Prayer Vigil culminating in a Prayer Procession to St Patrick's Cathedral for Holy Mass will take place after Westen's address in Auckland. 

On Friday, April 12, Westen will be at the Cannons Creek Opportunity Centre in Porirua for a meeting with youth. In a talk titled "From Atheist to Catholic," Westen will share his conversion experience. "Brought up in a Catholic home, I decided I didn’t believe in God, only to discover years later that there was truth in what I was taught by my father," Westen explains.

Family Life International New Zealand also invited three Sisters of Life to participate in the pro-life speaking tour.

Sr Veronica Mary, Sr Rose Clairvaux and Sr Bethany Madonna will be speaking at a number of Catholic secondary schools including, Sancta Maria in Auckland, Sacred Heart College in Napier, and St John's College in Hastings.

The Sisters, whose Order focuses on caring for vulnerable pregnant women and their unborn children, fostering a Culture of Life through evangelization, inviting those suffering after abortion into the healing mercy of Jesus, and upholding the beauty of marriage and family life, held a special retreat for teenage girls and women on April 4th at the John Paul II Centre for Life in Aukland.

Titled "Capture my Heart," the successful retreat offered participants an opportunity to meet like-minded women discerning a religious vocation or who just wanted to be inspired in their faith. 

Further information about Family Life International's New Zealand pro-life speakers tour is available here

"The value of having such important speakers visit New Zealand cannot be under-estimated. The reach that each of these people have in terms of spreading the pro-life message and equipping people with the tools they need to be effective voices for life is of utmost importance," Michelle Kaufman concluded.



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