Christa Lopiccolo, the director of the Department of Life Issues in Washington D.C., is one of the guest speakers at the National Catholic Singles Conference in San Diego. Christa shared with the CatholicMatch Institute who she is, what she does, and what she hopes to share at the conference this August.
Well, first I would have to say that the “pro-life scene” is an incredibly broad and diverse group of people, organizations and missions. Especially here in D.C., this is truly the hot-bed for every issue, think-tank, non-profit, lobbying firm–you name it, we’ve got it! That being said, my office seeks to bring the voice and the perspective of the Catholic faith into that arena, as well as the healing mission of Christ through our Project Rachel Ministry to those who are hurting as a result of an abortion decision. The purpose of the office is to support the teaching and pastoral ministry of Christ through educational materials and workshops, prayer activities and resources, advocacy information and pastoral care (largely by networking with outside agencies providing those services, such as the pregnancy centers, Catholic hospitals, pro-life ministries, etc.).
One area in which I’ve seen tremendous fruit (which is not always the case in this work) is through the annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life that we host each year the morning of the March for Life. Not only has the number of young people attending the Youth Rally and Mass grown over the years (so much so that we’ve had to add another venue to accommodate the tens of thousands of teenagers coming from all over the U.S.), but their enthusiasm, dedication and overall awareness of the pro-life movement has only strengthened over the years. I am always edified and encouraged by the thousands of teenagers dedicated to this effort, so full of faith and joy.
What would you say to single Catholics who want to stand up for what is right but don’t know where to start?
First, I would say the best place to start is with prayer: ask the Lord how he wants to use you and your unique gifts and talents; pray for the conversion of hearts and minds on these issues; and pray for mercy and compassion toward those who may not agree with you so that we can always be examples of Christ’s mercy, love and humility. Along these lines, I always recommend people participate in their local 40 Days for Life campaign as a good way to begin. Bring a friend and just pray outside an abortion clinic–no qualifications or training is necessary to be a silent prayer warrior outside of our modern day Golgotha.
Second, get connected with your state Catholic conference. If you want to know what is going on legislatively in your state, the state conferences are a good way to get information and find ways of engaging your representatives on issues of life and others important to the Church.
You’ve been asked to be a speaker at the National Catholic Singles Conference, what will your talk be about?
Since I will be speaking during the women’s session, I will talk about the distinct vocation of women and an authentic feminism in contrast with the confusing images we receive from our culture. Inspired by St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and the repeated call for a New Evangelization by Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis, I would like to explore what it means to be a woman now, in this time, and as a catalyst of this New Evangelization. In addition, as I single woman myself, I will also talk about the particular challenges of the single life and opportunities to make this time fruitful and not just a “waiting room” in our life’s journey.
What are you most looking forward to about the NCSC?
I am looking forward to the many opportunities for fellowship with other single Catholics striving to live their faith. It is always edifying to hear the stories of others and the role God has played in their life journey thus far. I am also looking forward to the opportunities for prayer, inspiring talks and of course, the beautiful sunshine of San Diego!
What would you say to Catholics in the San Diego area who are thinking of attending but need a word of encouragement?
I would say that this is your chance to go to a conference that is designed just for you! Knowing how challenging it can be to live as a single Catholic, where else can you go that hundreds of other attendees know those very same challenges in their own lives? This is an investment of time with infinite dividends–time for prayer and strengthening your relationship with God. It is a time to be inspired and learn more about yourself. And a time to develop new friendships and simply have fun!