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(Catholic Voice Omaha) – Two Omaha-area youths wear their pro-life commitment, boldly on their backs in the hope that it will literally save lives, and their public witness is earning them significant recognition.

Out of more than 6,000 student members worldwide, pro-life group LIFE Runners selected Jacob Costello and Clare Jandrain to receive the 2021 LIFE Runner Student of the Year Award during the organization’s banquet fundraiser March 25th in Omaha.

Costello and Jandrain both make it a priority to wear in public their LIFE Runners jersey, which displays on the back the message “REMEMBER The Unborn.”

Both are inspirations for different reasons, but both exemplify the mission of LIFE Runners, which is to provide a life-saving message to abortion-vulnerable mothers, said Pat Castle, founder of the Omaha-based pro-life apostolate and a member of both St. Matthew the Evangelist Parish in Bellevue and St. Columbkille Parish in Papillion.

The team jersey is the primary tool for communicating this message, and both Costello and Jandrain used the jersey in different, heroic ways to accomplish this, Castle said.

LIFE Runners has more than 18,000 members in 2,193 different cities in 41 countries, but “to have two people (as winners) from the same area is something,” noted Castle.

Castle said people are nominated for recognition throughout the year and the group’s leadership team also watches social media and identifies candidates based on noteworthy accomplishments and pro-life witness.

Founded in 2008 as a group of pro-life runners participating in races, LIFE Runners’ focus has evolved into sharing the pro-life message more widely.

“Everybody is qualified to be a LIFE Runner,” said Castle. “Running is optional. The only requirement is to wear your witness.”

Chapter members are expected to wear the LIFE Runners shirt on the first Wednesday of each month. Castle said this amplifies the jersey’s life-saving message.

“Seventy-eight percent of post-abortion women said if they had seen one pro-life sign before they had their abortion, they wouldn’t have gone into the abortion facility. One in four women have had an abortion in their child-bearing age,” he said. “The chances of (encountering) someone in a crisis pregnancy in a grocery store, at a movie theater, on the soccer field is good.

Creative solution

For several years, members of the Mercy High School Pro-Life Club wanted to form an official LIFE Runners chapter and follow the group’s requirement for spreading the message.

“The biggest barrier was the (school) uniform,” said Jandrain, who believed wearing the shirt throughout the day, both during and after school, was a great way to promote a pro-life message and possibly make a difference for abortion-vulnerable women she and club members might encounter.

 “The chance of one of these women seeing the message is greater when more than one person is wearing the jersey. It’s a beautiful life-saving witness.”

Wearing the LIFE Runners jersey, however, conflicts with the school’s dress code. But Jandrain led the Pro-Life Club as they persisted in finding a creative solution to meet the LIFE Runners requirement while staying within the dress code.

Clare Jandrain (hands folded) talks to members of the Mercy High School Pro-Life Club March 1. She is being recognized for finding a creative way to organize an official chapter of LIFE Runners at the school. ELIZABETH WELLS

“We overcame that issue by everyone wearing their shirt during the school’s dress-down days once or twice a month,” she explained. Wearing the shirt on the dress-down days met the criteria for being an official chapter because they all wore the shirt as a group on the same day, added Castle.

According to Castle, Jandrain is receiving the award because she knew the power of that witness, and she persisted until there was a way for their team to wear it together.

“Heroic means lifesaving. That’s what heroes do – they save lives,” he said. “That’s why we concentrate our witness. That’s what she worked to do (and) fought for.”

Kathy Kessler, Mercy English teacher and one of the Pro-Life Club moderators, said Jandrain did not initially tell others about her award.

“Clare’s leadership is wonderful. She’s been very humble and lives the mission of pro-life, for all life,” she said.

The club has held several activities this year including a service project with a senior group and a LIFE Runners dress-down day, which raised $600. The proceeds were donated to a couple of organizations, including Bethlehem House, a local crisis pregnancy home.

Upon learning of the award, Jandrain, who also prays outside the abortion clinic in Bellevue at least once each month, was surprised by the attention.

“I could not have done this on my own. I attribute any success … to prayer … to those around me who have inspired me and stood with me,” she said. “It’s about coming together and witnessing as a team, which brings more attention to the mission … (of) respecting life across all stages of life.”

‘Nothing typical’

For Costello, wearing the LIFE Runner’s pro-life message is a weekly commitment.

The sixth grader at Fort Crook Elementary School said he chooses to wear his jersey because doing so has a good chance of saving a life.

“So many women who have had an abortion say if they saw one sign not to have an abortion, they wouldn’t have had one,” he said.

His friends sometimes ask him what his shirt means. “I tell them it’s a pro-life message. It might help someone in need if they see it,” Costello said.

He tells them that pro-life means “you don’t hurt people. That means all innocent lives, not just the unborn.”

Castle said Costello was selected because he has integrated evangelization into his daily life, which also includes playing football, basketball, soccer and video games.

“Jacob does typical sixth-grade things, but there is nothing typical about him. He is choosing to wear a “REMEMBER The Unborn” (jersey) at least once a week. He is heroic in that respect,” said Castle.

Wearing their LIFE Runners jerseys, from left, Jacob Costello, his mom, Bernadette, and sister Lilly, finish the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon Nov. 6, 2021, where he was the youngest finisher in the race.

While Costello is athletic, he was not a runner until his mom, Bernadette Costello, asked him if he would like to train and run a half marathon with her. She is the operations director for LIFE Runners.

They trained using the 12-week schedule for the half marathon, building up to 11 miles before the 13.1-mile race.

“He had no idea how hard it is to train and run the half marathon,” said Castle. “When it got hard, you know how easy it would have been for an 11-year-old to say, ‘I’m good Mom. I’m done.’

“When it got hard, they prayed the Rosary and the LIFE Runners’ creed together.”

The LIFE Runners’ creed states that members believe in the dignity of all life … and run as a prayer, to defend children in the womb.

Costello said he and his mom also prayed during the actual race – the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and Half Marathon, a major national race on Nov. 6, 2021.

“It’s a long distance. I asked her to hold my hand the last few miles to push to the end, and then I was done,” he said.

He was the youngest finisher, crossing the finish line with his mom and sister. All three wore their LIFE Runners’ jerseys.

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PETITION: Urge U.S. Bishops to publicly excommunicate Joe Biden for scandalously promoting abortion
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PETITION UPDATE (3/7/22) - 

To his eternal shame, self-professed "Catholic" Joe Biden has done it again.

In the last 10 days, Biden directly acted to promote the evil of abortion. Twice.

And, to their shame, the bishops of the United States continue to tolerate this ongoing scandal as though it's business as usual.

But, let's not give up on our shepherds!

Please SIGN this petition and let's CONTACT our bishops again, and ask them to do the right thing (or, do something!), and excommunicate Joe Biden.

In the latest episode of this ongoing tragedy, Biden nominated abortion-friendly (and, Planned Parenthood supported) Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court.

Then, as if to underline his Supreme Court pick, Biden made the following statement promoting abortion during his State of the Union address:

"The constitutional right affirmed by Roe v. Wade — standing precedent for half a century — is under attack as never before. If you want to go forward — not backwards — we must protect access to health care. Preserve a woman’s right to choose..."

Of course, we know that making a decision to exclude public figures from Holy Communion is not easy. But, sometimes, this is the only way to make them understand the error of their ways, and to preserve the Church from serious scandal.

And now that Biden has left no doubt as to his intentions and actions - attempting to anchor the United States to the evil of abortion for generations to come - it is high time for the bishops to act to stop this grave scandal from continuing.

Public excommunication would be a suitable response for Biden's obstinate, public and grave sin of scandalously promoting abortion.

Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this important petition. Thank you!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Biden announces Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Stephen Breyer on Supreme Court' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-announces-ketanji-brown-jackson-to-replace-stephen-breyer-on-supreme-court/

'Pro-life groups warn about Biden’s Supreme Court nominee' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pro-life-groups-warn-about-bidens-supreme-court-nominee/

'These Republicans could help Biden install his far-left Supreme Court pick' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/these-republicans-could-help-biden-his-left-wing-supreme-court-pick/

'Biden reiterates support for Roe v. Wade, radical LGBT policies during State of the Union' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-again-vows-supports-for-roe-v-wade-radical-pro-lgbt-law/

'Biden says he won’t debate ‘theology’ when asked on Ash Wednesday why he supports abortion' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-says-he-wont-debate-theology-when-asked-on-ash-wednesday-why-he-supports-abortion/

____________________________________________________________________

PETITION UPDATE (9/3/21) - 

Following the US Supreme Court's decision to allow Texas' Heartbeat Law to go into effect, Joe Biden made the announcement that he would initiate a "whole-of-government" response against the new pro-life statute which could ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

This is yet another, outright confirmation of Biden's openly pro-abortion policies, policies which have the main objective of ensuring that women will continue to be able to kill their own children without impediment.

This anti-life, anti-Catholic stance needs to be urgently addressed and condemned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For the good of the Church, for the good of pre-born babies, for the good of the faithful, and, indeed, for his own good, Joe Biden needs to be publicly rebuked by the bishops and excommunicated until such time as he repents from his pro-abortion policies.

Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks the bishops of the United States to act in unison to exclude Joe Biden from Holy Communion for his scandalous promotion of abortion - the murder of the innocent.

After signing, please take a moment to CONTACT the offices of the USCCB to politely, but firmly, encourage the Conference to take the necessary steps to exclude from Holy Communion public officials who continue to show blatant disregard for innocent human life and the Church's teaching.

The USCCB's Office phone number is: 202.541.3000

Thank you!

_____________________________________________________________________________

"No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." - Matthew 6:24

In the lead-up to their meeting in mid-June, we call on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to exclude Joe Biden and other “Catholic” politicians (like, Nancy Pelosi) from Holy Communion over their public, obstinate, and scandalous promotion of abortion.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks the USCCB to act to stop the abuse of the reception of the Holy Eucharist by politicians who promote the murder of innocent pre-born babies.

We know that making a decision to exclude public figures from Holy Communion is not easy. But, sometimes, this is the only way to make them understand the error of their ways, and to preserve the Church from serious scandal.

Indeed, Canon Law (Canon 915) declares that those who persist in manifest, grave sin should not be admitted to Holy Communion

Beyond that, at this point, public excommunication appears as the only suitable response for Biden's obstinate, public and grave sin of promoting abortion.

In doing so, we do not hold ourselves up as judges over Joe Biden's eternal soul, but we encourage the bishops to make known one of the consequences of public and obstinate support of abortion by our 'Catholic' politicians.

The fact is, in terms of the manifest, grave sin of abortion, Joe Biden is as bad as he said he would be before the election.

Therefore, it is cold comfort that the USCCB is only preparing to discuss this issue only now.

But even now, if the USCCB publicly excommunicate Biden for his pro-abortion stance (as well as other pro-abortion politicians), the Conference could reclaim some of the moral authority which they lost by their largely silent assent to Biden's candidacy.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition, now.

Since Joe Biden was sworn-in on the 20th of January, he has wasted no time in signing orders and bills which facilitate the destruction of unborn human life.

  • In one executive order, Biden rescinded the Mexico City Policy prohibiting the federal government from spending taxpayer monies on abortion and the promotion of abortion.
  • Biden also signed (instead of vetoing) the COVID relief bill, which, for the first time in 44 years, contained funding for abortions in America, using taxpayer dollars.
  • Biden said that he wouldn't defend Hyde, and he hasn't.

And, if he and the Democratic Party get their way, a lot more of the same regarding abortion is on the way.

Strong action must be taken lest anyone, especially young people, be confused by the scandal of a "Catholic" in Biden's position aggressively promoting abortion, enabling the killing of innocent human beings.

American rank-and-file Catholics don't want any more compromise and equivocation from the Bishops Conference on this "pre-eminent" life-and-death issue.

We want clear action, not twenty more years of dithering and "dialoguing."

50 million babies have been lost to abortion in the U.S. since Roe!

So, we will NOT accept any more lives lost as a result of dithering and "dialoguing." [**Please see "Notes" below about how it has been reported that some senior U.S. clerics are trying to prevent this discussion from even taking place.]

And, we will especially NOT accept one life lost to abortion by politicians who claim the Catholic Faith, but who promote grave evil. God forbid!

With all due respect to these bishops, they diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by not imposing public canonical penalties on a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

The bishops are now at a crossroads and must choose either God or mammon.

We call on them to choose God and choose Life!

And we also continue to encourage those brave, true and good bishops who have done well to warn Amercian Catholics about the perils to the unborn and the Faith resulting from Biden's promotion of abortion!

SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks the bishops of the United States to act in unison to exclude Joe Biden from Holy Communion for his scandalous promotion of abortion - the murder of the innocent.

After signing, please take a moment to CONTACT the offices of the USCCB to politely, but firmly, encourage the Conference to take the necessary steps to exclude from Holy Communion public officials who continue to show blatant disregard for innocent human life and the Church's teaching.

The USCCB's Office phone number is: 202.541.3000

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Joe Biden: I support abortion ‘under any circumstance’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/joe-biden-i-support-abortion-under-any-circumstance

Biden administration has opened the way for ‘abortion by mail on a massive scale’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-administration-unleashed-by

‘Catholic’ Biden marks Roe v. Wade anniversary with pledge to make abortion available for ‘everyone’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-biden-marks-roe-v-wade-anniversary-with-pledge-to-make-abortion-available-for-everyone

BREAKING: DC archbishop affirms he will give Holy Communion to pro-abortion Joe Biden - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-dc-archbishop-affirms-he-will-give-holy-communion-to-pro-abortion-joe-biden

Vatican puts brakes on US bishops confronting problem of pro-abortion Biden receiving Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-puts-brakes-on-us-bishops-confronting-problem-of-pro-abortion-biden-receiving-holy-communion

Abp. Aquila backs call for pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ Joe Biden to be denied Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abp-aquila-backs-call-for-pro-abortion-catholic-joe-biden-to-be-denied-holy-communion

Cardinal Burke floats ‘excommunication’ for Biden over his ‘aggressive’ abortion promotion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-burke-floats-excommunication-for-biden-over-his-aggressive-promotion-of-abortion

Biden’s HHS is lying about Title X to push abortion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/bidens-hhs-is-lying-about-title-x-to-push-abortion

List of US bishops for and against denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians like Biden, Pelosi - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/list-of-us-bishops-for-and-against-denying-communion-to-pro-abortion-politicians-like-biden-pelosi

Notes about USCCB's June Meeting:

For nearly twenty years, the US bishops have been dithering about whether or not to excommunicate pro-abortion politicians by formally withholding Holy Communion from them.

Their indecision on this gravely scandalous matter is a scandal in itself, but one of the biggest obstacles has been internal opposition from senior U.S. bishops.

And, although the faces have changed in the last 20 years, their morally-and-intellectually-challenged arguments against excommunication have not changed.

Liberal bishops of the USCCB say that excommunicating Biden (for example) would divide the Church, divide the bishops, and would politicize the reception of Holy Communion.

Indeed, in the name of “unity,” it is reported that some senior U.S. clerics, including Cardinal Blase Cupich (Chicago), Cardinal Wilton Gregory (Washington, DC) and Cardinal O’Malley (Boston), have been working overtime to prevent any substantial discussion of so-called “Eucharist coherence” (that is, what qualifies as worthy reception of Holy Communion).

It is also reported that at least 57 other American bishops allegedly joined these Cardinals in a recent letter to the Head of the Bishops Conference, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, to try to pressure him to drop the planned discussion at the full meeting of bishops in June.

And now, even the Vatican is getting involved, with the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith suggesting that even more “dialogue” is needed.

These same clerics may mistakenly believe that any attempt to suppress the objective connection between a politician’s promotion of abortion and his unworthy reception of Holy Communion will fool anyone.

But, it will not.

Rank-and-file Catholics are not stupid and can smell compromise a mile away, and we’ve had enough.

With all due respect to the Cardinal, bishops, and the Vatican…those who fail to act diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by “dialoguing” with a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition urging the bishops Conference to take action at their June meeting to exclude pro-abortion Joe Biden and other abortion-promoting “Catholic” politicians from Holy Communion.

**Photo Credit: Joshua Roberts / Getty Images

  Hide Petition Text

“The message is multiplied when more than one of us is wearing it,” said Bernadette. “That’s the importance of the shirt.”

Costello said he is proud that he did it. Although not planning another half marathon anytime soon, he will continue to wear the jersey. He will be in good company.

“Running is optional – to wear your jersey in public … to wear your witness, faith is required. Half of the team doesn’t run,” said Castle. “You have to wear something, why not wear your witness?”

LIFE Runners banquet

Jacob Costello and Clare Jandrain will receive their LIFE Runners Student of the Year Awards during the LIFE Runners Banquet March 25 at St. Elizabeth Ann Parish Event Center, 5419 N. 114th St., in Omaha.

Eva Muntean and Dolores Meehan, cofounders of the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco, the largest pro-life rally in 2021, will be the featured speakers.

Other awards recipients include: Man of the Year – Nathan Redcay, Jefferson City, Missouri; Woman of the Year – Leslie Crane, Jefferson City, Missouri; Leadership Award – Dr. Mitch Finnie, San Antonio, Texas; Lifetime Impact Award – Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois; Family of the Year – the Roshan Family from Fiji; Chapter of the Year – St. Elizabeth Public School, St. Elizabeth, Missouri.

The event begins with Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Church at 5:30 p.m., followed by a social at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $50 for in-person and $25 for virtual tickets. To purchase tickets or for additional information, visit the website.

Reprinted with permission from Catholic Voice Omaha

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