Editor’s note: The Bishop James Moynihan Pro-Vita Award is a collaboration between the Office of Family/Respect Life Ministry and the Catholic Schools Office, made possible by the HOPE Appeal. High school seniors are invited to respond to the questions “why are you pro-life, and how will you help build a culture of life?” Three winners are awarded scholarships for college tuition or expenses.

“The contest was started as a means to build a culture of life among our Catholic senior high school students and to encourage them to continue in their pro-life efforts as they move forward into college,” said Lisa Hall, director of the Office of Family/Respect Life Ministry. “Our office wanted students to consider why they are pro-life and what they will do to build a culture of life as they become adults. We wanted them to reflect on their own lives to see where God had been at work.”

The most recent winners of the scholarships were announced at the Mass for Life on Oct. 24, 2019: Maura Kate Davidson of Fayetteville-Manlius High School, Anthony Falgiatano of Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School, and Nguyen Nguyen of Bishop Ludden Jr./Sr. High School. Pro-Vita winners will be highlighted throughout the year.

Reprinted here is 2019 Pro Vita Award winner Maura Kate Davidson’s personal reflection:

Given our current political culture, especially in New York State, being pro-life isn’t always looked upon favorably. However, with the passage of the Reproductive [Health] Act and the pro-abortion minded prominently fixed in our state government, the need for more pro-life voices is as important as ever. How did our society come to this? How do others justify killing another human being in the womb? These questions have been swarming my brain as I’ve been overwhelmed by the pro-abortion movement.

One of the first times I was ever exposed to the power of pro-life prayer is when my Mom and I went to pray the rosary outside the Syracuse Planned Parenthood. I remember feeling overwhelmed with emotions; the thought of all those babies that had lost their lives in this ugly, dark building saddened me. We have prayed there several times; I can only hope and trust that God hears our prayers and will change the hearts of the women who feel lost enough to end up there.

Repeatedly I’m reminded of how great God is. He does not abandon us and He always remains by our side. For several years, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved at Joseph’s House, a home for homeless women facing unplanned pregnancies. My family and I have spent many hours there organizing the storage room and decorating for the holidays as well as running baby bottle donation drives at church and collecting donations. Everything about Joseph’s House inspires me with hope, especially the mothers and children. These women chose this loving and God-filled home for their future child rather than the ugly, dark building in Syracuse.

“We can do no great things but we can do small things with great love.”  This Saint Teresa of Calcutta quote reminds me of how I will continue to build the culture of life. I truly believe that many mothers turn to Planned Parenthood because they feel that it’s the only option. I will continue to pray and support 40 Days for Life and Joseph’s House because they offer that second chance. I will continue to love the elderly at Brookdale where I work and offer them a kind word, an open heart and a listening ear. I will continue to serve the poor, vulnerable children in the Dominican Republic Orphanage that I visit each summer. I will offer them companionship, unconditional love and hope.

I’m pro-life because of the moms and babies at Joseph’s House and how their courage inspires me every day. I’m pro-life because I know that everyone deserves a second chance and that it’s possible to turn “a mistake” into a blessing. I’m pro-life because I love the elderly and I’m inspired by their wisdom. I’m pro-life because I’m willing to love and care for the desperate orphans in the Dominican Republic. I’m pro-life because every “clump of cells” is God’s beloved child and they should have the chance to fulfill the blessed life that God intended for them.

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