As Catholics we need to learn how to be consistent with our values and beliefs," says Pierluigi Molla, who will speak at Nothing More Beautiful in November.
Molla is the eldest child of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian pediatrician, wife and mother who died after refusing both an abortion and a hysterectomy when she was pregnant with her fourth child.
"My mother grew up in a family where she received the faith and the values from her father and mother and (learned) how to live life in a correct way. She was consistent in these values and she was consistent to the end."
Molla will give the witness talk at Nothing More Beautiful Nov. 1, following a talk on Evangelizing the Family by Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith.
This is the fifth and final year of Nothing More Beautiful, which has taken as its focus the beauty of the lay apostolate.
"As 'salt of the earth and light of the world,' (cf. Matthew 5.13-16) lay people are sent by the Lord into society with the leaven of the Gospel in order to transform the world," Smith said in a Sept. 4 letter about NMB.
"Jesus, sent by the Father out of love for the world, in turn sends us as agents of that love (cf. John 20.21)."
The archbishop said the first three sessions of NMB would try to answer the questions what does it mean to evangelize the family, the workplace, and the political and social order?
On Nov. 1, Smith will give the first session, followed by Molla, who is likely to focus on the example of his saintly mother.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla refused an abortion and a hysterectomy despite knowing that continuing with her pregnancy could result in her death. A few days before the child was due, she told doctors that if they had to decide between her and the child to choose the child. "I insist on it," she said.
A week after giving birth in 1962, she died of complications at the age of 39, when her son Pierluigi was only five. She was canonized in 2004 in a Vatican ceremony witnessed by her family.
Session II – Evangelizing the Social and Political Order - will be held Dec. 6 and will feature Calgary Bishop Fred Henry, known for his articles in the WCR and his ready willingness to speak out on political issues, and Sara Michel, regional animator for the Alberta/Mackenzie region of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
Henry will be the catechist at the Dec. 6 session followed by Michel, who will give the witness talk.
Michel has served with CCODP since 2010. The holder of degrees in history and international affairs, the Egyptian-born Michel says her position as animator allows her to use her faith, education and international experience to help the poor of the world achieve true development.
The last talks will be held Feb. 7 and will address the topic evangelizing the workplace. Archbishop Gerard Pettipas of Grouard McLennan will give the catechetical talk and Rob Taylor, a member of Pharmacists for Life Canada, will give the witness talk.
In an interview, Pettipas said to evangelize the workplace we must first know our faith and act accordingly.
"It's a question of who we are; it's being before doing," he said. "I have to be the Christian, the Catholic, the believer, the child of God first of all before I think about what I am going to do to have an impact in the workplace, where I spend my day."
Pettipas recalled working at Canadian Tire during summers while he was in the seminary.
"I was a young man, a Catholic, a believer and so the way I treated customers, the way I treated my fellow workers had to reflect (my faith)," Pettipas said.
"It's not that I consciously set out to do something that I wouldn't ordinarily do but I certainly had to be the believer that I was in all of my relationships. In all of my dealings there had to be a certain honesty and integrity to what I was doing."
We never know for certain the impact we have in our workplace but the archbishop hopes that his behaviour and his position on a number of issues "would speak for the kind of a person that I was."
The two final two encounters will close the five years of Nothing More Beautiful. They include a concert of sacred music by the Greenwood Singers on April 11 followed by a Eucharistic Celebration on May 1, feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
Each event takes place at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph's Basilica.