Story by David Kilby | Correspondent
Kerry Bates supports life from conception to natural death wherever she can.
A student in Red Bank Catholic High School, Bates recently represented her generation’s dedication to the pro-life cause through the creation of lapel pins using a winning logo design she created for the Diocese of Trenton’s 2015 Loving Life Logo contest.
“I believe that millennials being pro-life is vital,” she said. “Our ideals and beliefs will be carried on by millennials, so it’s important that we all know and understand what it really means to be pro-life.”
An active member of RBC’s pro-life club, Caseys for Life, Bates was inspired as a freshman to participate in the diocesan Department of Pastoral Care’s pro-life logo design contest.
“I thought it would be a wonderful way to integrate my thoughts on the pro-life campaign with my love for artistic creation,” she said.
Her logo represented the simplicity of a mother’s love for her child, with minimalistic lines and curves, to show that the choice of pro-life should be simple, she explained.
“Nothing compares to the love a mother feels for her own child, and to take such a pure life away from the world is to deprive a mother of feeling that love,” Bates said.
Now, nearly three years later, that logo has been seen by thousands thanks to the Respect Life Campaign efforts of St. Leo the Great Parish, Lincroft, and Knights of Columbus Council 6392, which partnered in October to make Bates’ Loving Life logo into a lapel pin.
Joseph Manzi, St. Leo the Great director of finance, operations and development, met with Council 6392 to discuss making the image into a pin and distributing it among its parishioners. He said Father John Folchetti, parish pastor, is a strong supporter of activities inspired by young people.
“We just thought this was something exceptional that was created by this young woman. We knew having something created by a teenager would have great attraction to families,” Manzi said.
Doug Walsh, Supreme Knight of Council 6392, said the pins raised approximately $1,700, which the council intends to donate to Birthright of Monmouth County. The lapel pins can still be purchased through the Knight of Columbus.
Walsh said it is vital for the Knights to support the pro-life efforts of teens.
“We strongly believe it is very important to encourage young people generally – young Catholic people specifically – to get involved in Church, charitable and pro-life causes,” said Walsh, who is the father of a 16-year-old. “As young people become more connected electronically, they seem to be less involved with their communities.
“Yet when I speak with young people, I am pleasantly surprised to find that they still have strong feelings favoring pro-life efforts,” he continued. “In our experience, when young people see the rewards of their charitable service, they view it less as a demand and more as a fulfillment.”
Deborah Flego, RBC Christian Living teacher and Caseys for Life moderator, explained how Bates puts Walsh’s words into action.
“I remember hearing great things about Kerry when she won the Respect Life Loving Life Logo contest her freshman year,” Flego said. “I was very impressed that she felt strongly enough to submit everything on her own without being in my class or being encouraged by the Caseys for Life Club. Kerry is one of the many students who respect the dignity of others by example.”
Caseys for Life provides multiple opportunities for teens to reach out in support of the pro-life cause, including researching volunteer prospects, helping at local pregnancy centers, joining youth groups and attending pro-life rallies and events, such as the March for Life. While she has not yet been to a March for Life, Bates said she is eager to attend one in the future.
Praying for an end to abortion is also just as important as any rally, program, or volunteer opportunity, she added.
“A parent’s bond with their own child is something that cannot be replaced or compared to anything else,” she said.