Our Youth

Talking About a Culture of Life

Christ the King R.H.S. placed three winners in the diocese’s Culture of Life Oratorical Contest. From left are: Michael Jans, Mya Pugh and Stelios Phanartzis. Photo (c) Catherine Murawski
Christ the King R.H.S. placed three winners in the diocese’s Culture of Life Oratorical Contest. From left are: Michael Jans, Mya Pugh and Stelios Phanartzis. Photo (c) Catherine Murawski

For a second year in a row, Mya Pugh, a senior at Christ the King R.H.S., Middle Village, won the Culture of Life Oratorical Contest for the Brooklyn Diocese.

The contest for high school students was held at St. Josaphat, Bayside.

Pugh started her winning speech by noting that this year is the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that led to legalized abortion in the U.S.

She pointed out that approximately 1.2 million abortions are performed annually in the U.S., and more than 55 million innocent lives were taken since 1973. This, she said, is destroying future generations. These lives are innocent children that are unjustly murdered.

She condemned the political leaders who are in a position to stop this barbaric practice but who instead choose to take money from pro-abortion groups and lobbyists just to get re-elected rather than doing what is morally right.

Mary Grace Donohoe
Mary Grace Donohoe

She spoke enthusiastically about her recent participation at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. She pointed out that the viable option for unwanted pregnancies is not abortion but the expansion of adoption which saves innocent lives.

Second place was captured by Mary Grace Donohoe, a senior at The Mary Louis Academy, Jamaica Estates.

Donohoe chose a completely different strategy than other contestants. While she too introduced some of the cold hard facts about abortion, she concentrated on her strongly held moral beliefs in God and her Catholic faith.

She spoke about how God and morality appear to be ignored by most people. She called for more personal responsibility.

She even took the opportunity to lash out at “feminists” who choose to disregard the sacredness of life and choose to be “pro-choice.” She sounded a bit frustrated and disappointed when speaking about fellow students at her Catholic high school who choose to disregard the sacredness of life and support the barbaric practice abortion.

She stated that the life within the womb currently has no voice, thus is not heard. Donohoe urged people who believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death to make the moral changes necessary to eliminate the practice of abortion. She maintained that the culture must change and that change can only come from within individuals and will not happen quickly.

Tied for third place were Michael Jans and Stelios Phanartzis, all seniors at Christ the King.

Phanartzis chose to concentrate solely on the evils of abortion. He spoke about the coldness and callousness that appears to be prevalent in society.

He said life begins at conception. Science, he said, has demonstrated that once this life is created it continues to grow until birth. He outlined the basic biological development of the fetus. He condemned the practice of abortion, which is performed approximately 93 percent of the time for convenience. He spoke about how adoption, not destruction, should be expanded.

Jans was the only contestants to go beyond the issue of abortion and condemned euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research and infanticide. He pointed out that each of these practices ends a life.

He condemned euthanasia, which requires the termination of a life by another human being. He questioned the morality of embryonic stem cell research, which requires the creation of a life only to destroy it for the benefit of another human life.

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