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WASHINGTON—The upcoming 2018 People of Life awards will recognize the extraordinary lifetime achievements of three inspiring individuals: an advocate for persons with disabilities, a diocesan priest involved in abortion healing ministry, and a leader in the effort to oppose assisted suicide.
The awards will be presented during the annual Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference taking place July 29 to August 1 in Phoenix, Arizona. This year's award winners are Janice Benton, Monsignor Joseph Ranieri, and James J. Hanson (who will be recognized posthumously). Over 125 diocesan, state, and national Catholic pro-life leaders and guests from across the country will attend the event with the Most Reverend Thomas Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, the Most Reverend Brendan Cahill, Bishop of Victoria, and the Most Reverend Eduardo Nevares, Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix. Bishop Olmsted and Bishop Cahill serve on the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The People of Life award recognizes Catholics who have answered the call outlined by Pope Saint John Paul II in The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae, 1995) by dedicating themselves to pro-life activities and promoting respect for the dignity of the human person. It is bestowed in honor of their significant and longtime contributions to the culture of life.
Even before beginning her nearly 15 years as the executive director of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), Janice Benton had already spent 25 years in ministry and advocacy for and with persons with disabilities. Jan has been a prophetic voice in upholding the dignity of every human life, especially the marginalized and those at risk of neglect or assisted suicide.
Msgr. Joseph A. Ranieri is the Coordinator of Pastoral Care of Priests in the Archdiocese of Washington, where he has also served as parish priest, pastor, and in countless other roles throughout his 60 years of priesthood. Monsignor Ranieri assists his diocesan Project Rachel Ministry in many capacities. He is also an active member of the Project Rachel Ministry National Training Team for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Finally, the secretariat will honor James J. Hanson posthumously for his tireless efforts to oppose assisted suicide and for his own personal witness to the dignity of every human person, especially those facing a terminal illness. J.J. Hanson served as president of the Patients' Rights Action Fund, promoting measures that protect patients' civil rights and working against efforts to legalize assisted suicide.
The awardees join 31 other People of Life award recipients since the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities established the award in 2007. More information on previous recipients and on the People of Life campaign is available at www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/people-of-life/people-of-life-award.cfm
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, abortion, assisted suicide, People of Life, terminal illness, Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II
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