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Annual pro-life conference, banquet to be in Omaha

The annual bishops’ pro-life banquet and conference will be in Omaha this September – away from its traditional home in Lincoln and offered a month earlier than its usual October date.

The changes are part of an effort by the sponsors – the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC) and the Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities – to join forces with several other ministries, including archdiocesan offices and the Omaha offices of the Catholic Medical Association and Thomas More Society.

Titled, "Made in His Image: Human Dignity in a Secular World," the Sept. 22-24 gathering at Creighton University’s Harper Center will seek to provide Catholic answers to ethical and moral challenges brought by embryo research, in-vitro fertilization, abortion, transgender and other issues.

It will include people from multiple disciplines – and healthcare professionals can attend sessions that will be eligible for a total of 10.25 continuing education credits, said Tom Venzor, associate director of Pro-Life and Family with the NCC.

It will mark only the second time in 38 years the bishops’ event will be in Omaha, rather than Lincoln. The first time was in 2013, when the NCC forged a partnership with a Virginia-based Catholic apostolate, Human Life International, for a conference that emphasized the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

This year, the NCC also is combining efforts with the Archdiocese of Omaha’s Center for Family Life Formation, Catholic Schools Office and Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.

Speakers will include Jonathan Reyes, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development; Father Tad Pacholczyk, director of education for the National Catholic Bioethics Center and newspaper columnist; and Vicki Thorn, founder and director of Project Rachel.

The conference opens Sept. 22 with an evening reception and talk by Reyes on the theological anthropology of the human person. The annual pro-life dinner and program will be Sept. 23 and include a bishops’ reception and a talk by Thorn titled, "Unmasking the Woman Behind the Choice."

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