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FRAMINGHAM — A single red rose adorned each table at the 15th annual Knights of Columbus Pro-Life Awards Dinner Sept. 16, a silent testimony to the sacredness of every human life.
Nearly 250 Knights and pro-life supporters gathered in the parish center of St. Tarsicius Church in Framingham for the event sponsored by Coeur de Leon Council 87.
Receiving the Pro-Life Priest of the Year Award “for his faithful proclamation of the Gospel of Life” was retired Bishop of Worcester, Daniel P. Reilly. While in Worcester, Bishop Reilly instituted annual pro-life awards and was a founding supporter of The Visitation House, a Catholic home-centered shelter for women in crisis pregnancies. In addition, he helped implement the statewide “In Support Of Life” initiative regarding end-of-life issues and worked with the Massachusetts Catholic Conference to pass legislation banning partial birth abortion.
“I don’t know how anyone can be anything but pro-life,” Bishop Reilly said in his impassioned remarks while accepting the award.
He said that the Church plays a crucial role in defending the sanctity of life and urged Catholics not to be “lured away from the truth” by political leaders “who think they are more concerned with people than you are.”
Jim and Joyce Remillard were recognized as the Pro-Life Couple of the Year. The couple has been involved with pro-life activities in Metrowest for almost 30 years. In recent years the Remillards have been active in supporting Birthright of Framingham and have worked to assist expectant mothers with difficult pregnancies. In addition, they have frequently welcomed persons with disabilities into their home, providing respite for the primary caregiver.
The award for the Pro-Life Mother and Daughter of the Year went to Yolanda and Valeria Barbier. Yolanda Barbier has been active in numerous pro-life initiatives in both St. Bridget and St. Stephen parishes in Framingham. At St. Stephen Parish, she worked to make Brazilian and Hispanic women aware of abortion alternatives. She has also helped administer an after-school program for at-risk children and has helped organize Metropolitan Interfaith Congregations Acting for Hope (MICAH), a coalition of religious organizations that promotes social justice.
In addition to assisting her mother with many pro-life activities, Valeria Barbier was described by event organizers as an “articulate spokesperson for the value of life” in her own right.
Her speech, “The contentious dispute of mercy killing” took top honors in a state National Right to Life Committee oratory contest and advanced the high school student to the second round of competition at the national NLRC meeting this past June.
Former Boston mayor and ambassador to the Vatican Raymond Flynn was honored as the Pro-Life Public Servant of the Year. During his long career as an elected official, Flynn worked to advance numerous anti-abortion and anti-poverty causes. Flynn was honored as “the recognized national leader in the drive to encourage Catholics to act politically in accordance with their moral and political beliefs.”