Sister Jane Marie Klein, OSF, chairperson of the Franciscan Alliance Board of Trustees, was among speakers, also among them Most Rev. Dale Melczek, bishop of the Gary Diocese (also shown); who addressed some 950 area parochial students Oct. 8 at an annual Celebration of Life event, conducted during Respect Life Week, on the lawn of Franciscan St. Margaret Health-Dyer.
Among her remarks, Sister Jane Marie exhorted the students to be grateful to their parents, and grandparents, for being responsible for their gift of life and to be respectful of one another. The celebration, which also included prayers and songs performed by Ron Foltman of St. John Evangelist Church in St. John, has taken place for about 20 years and grew from about 30 students the first year they attended, to a record number this year.
Thomas Gryzbek, hospital president, credited Gene Diamond, Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Region chief executive officer, for the idea of including the students.
Besides St. John Evangelist, schools represented this year included Andrean High, Merrillville; Aquinas, Merrillville; Bishop Noll Institute, Hammond; Our Lady of Grace, Highland; St. Casimir, Hammond; St. Mary, Griffith; St. Mary, Crown Point; St. Michael the Archangel, Schererville; St. Stanislaus, East Chicago; St. Thomas More, Munster; Calumet College of St. Joseph, Hammond; and University of St. Francis, Crown Point.