On September 9th, over 600 guests joined St. Patrick’s in honoring Walk for Life West Coast co-founders, Eva Muntean and Dolores Meehan, at the 10th Annual Gala celebration.  This year’s Gala drew the largest crowd in its 10-year history.

The evening began with Vespers, celebrated by President-Rector Rev. George Schultze, SJ.  Fr. Schultze opened his homily with a reminder that man’s condition is that of a traveler, a pilgrim, and that this pilgrimage of life must be characterized by continuous prayer.  He cited the Divine Office, the celebration of which is a hallmark of a house of formation, as one of the principal ways in which this ongoing prayer is realized.  Fr. Schultze closed his homily by stating his hope that “St. Patrick’s Seminary & University and its faithful supporters be a community of constant prayer and holy deeds as we continue in this important work of forming faithful and holy priests for our future.”

Afterwards, guests were invited to an “insider’s” tour of the Seminary, followed by a cocktail hour and dinner.

The theme of priestly formation and the defense of life were woven together by one of the evening’s featured speakers, Deacon Mario Rizzo of the Diocese of Oakland. Deacon Mario offered for meditation a quotation from the film Gladiator: “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” Whereas some might associate this idea with the pursuit of glory in this life, this quotation is equally applicable to the life of the Christian: drawing upon the judgement scenes of Matthew 25: 31-46 and Revelation 20: 11-12, Deacon Mario recalled that man will be judged based upon his works. He affirmed that the defense of life is a work that will echo in eternity. He also observed that the work of formation at St. Patrick’s is focused essentially on helping the seminarian learn to love life—not merely as an abstract concept, but to love Christ who is Life itself. 

The award presentation provided the honorees an occasion to share their reflections on the Walk for Life and express their gratitude for the support they had received from archbishops, priests, parishes, and fellow Walk for Life team members. Eva Muntean, Marketing Manager for Ignatius Press, noted that “the Walk for Life became necessary because abortion was made legal, and abortion was made legal because the country turned away from God. Many other issues will fall into their rightful place if and when our country turns back to God.”  The Walk ultimate must serve that final goal, “and that’s why we’re here tonight,” Ms. Muntean said, pointing to the importance of priestly formation in leading the country back to God. Dolores Meehan also spoke on the significant the role of the priest in supporting the pro-life movement both through presence and preaching: “We want you priests to feel emboldened to speak from the pulpit, in persona Christi,” she stated, because “what you say as a priest is very powerful.”  

Next year’s Gala will honor the Archdiocese of Military Services.