Upcoming Events View All
20
Fiat Women's Group

Thursday, 02/20/2020 at 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

21
Mary, Queen of Peace trivia night

Friday, 02/21/2020 at 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

22
Zechariah Men's Prayer Breakfast

Saturday, 02/22/2020 at 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM

22
Quilt Social Bingo Event

Saturday, 02/22/2020 at 11:00 AM

23
Festival Sunday (Fasching Sonntag)

Sunday, 02/23/2020 at 11:30 AM - 5:00 PM

27
Life in the Spirit Seminar - St. Ann Normandy

Thursday, 02/27/2020 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

29
Lenten Mission

Saturday, 02/29/2020 at 6:30 PM -
Wednesday, 03/04/2020 at 8:00 PM

3
Lenten Movie Nights - Tuesdays in March

Tuesday, 03/03/2020 at 7:00 PM

3
6
Donna Cori live in concert "The Way of the Cross"

Friday, 03/06/2020 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Tim Kilcoyne-Ball, Aidan Brawer and Anthony Genovese examined models of fetuses during a presentation of the Right START (Students Tackling Abortion Realities Today) at Mary Queen of Peace School in Webster Groves.
Tim Kilcoyne-Ball, Aidan Brawer and Anthony Genovese examined models of fetuses during a presentation of the Right START (Students Tackling Abortion Realities Today) at Mary Queen of Peace School in Webster Groves.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston

Chastity education program gives Catholics students the Right START

Program for eighth-graders also covers topics of fetal development, abortion

As she walked around the classroom at Mary Queen of Peace School in Webster Groves, Terry Trafton counted off the eighth-graders by groups of four. Instructing one group to stand up at the front of the room, she told the rest of the students: “Imagine they were never born. Now look at your class. Is it different? Just think about all the gifts and talents and personality these people bring to class. Your class wouldn’t be as good, would it?”

The group standing represented a startling statistic: In the year they were born (2005-06), one in four pregnancies ended in abortion. “This is a statistic that represents how we’re all victims” of abortion, Trafton said. “Twenty five percent of your peers are not here.”

Mary Queen of Peace student Jordan Sadler held a model of a fetus as Kate Cooper smiled during a presentation of the Right START (Students Tackling Abortion Realities Today.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston
That lesson was part of the Right START (Students Tackling Abortion Realities Today), a program initiated more than two decades ago by the archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate to teach eighth graders about the sanctity of life and related topics, including chastity, fetal development and abortion. The program, which reaches about 2,000 students a year and receives support from the Annual Catholic Appeal, now falls under the auspices of the Office of Catholic Education and Formation.

Students are effectively linking these topics as they gain a better understanding of what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God, said program coordinator Trafton. Of course, for the students, the most exciting part of their lessons is handling the life-like fetal models of babies ranging from 12 weeks to 30 weeks gestation, which gives them a clearer understanding of the preciousness of life inside a mother’s womb.

When a woman has an abortion, who suffers? Terry asked the students.

“The baby,” one student noted.

“The mother and father,” another said.

“Their family,” said another.

“Why does the mom suffer when she chooses abortion?” Terry asked.

“She suffers from emotional, physical and spiritual pain,” said student Maggie Duffy.

“That’s correct,” said Trafton, acknowledging that most women who have an abortion aren’t aware of those consequences.

Program coordinator Terry Trafton showed a model of a fetus to students at Mary Queen of Peace School.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston
Before their discussion, students watched a video that gave verbal explanations of the different types of abortion procedures. The video also included interviews with Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood manager turned pro-life advocate; and Chuck and Linda Raymond, a St. Louis couple who had an abortion in 1976 and now share their story to educate others about the pain that comes from abortion.

Students also discuss how to talk to a peer considering abortion and what to do if a friend says she’s had an abortion.They also discussed other scenarios, such as what happens when a doctor recommends an abortion for a baby that has been diagnosed in the womb with a disability, such as Down syndrome.

“You should 100 percent keep the baby,” student Aidan Brawer said, giving a decisive nod.

“God has a purpose for every one of us,” Terry said. “All lives are worth dignity and respect.”

Volunteer instructors needed

The Right START program is in need of volunteer instructors to teach the program to eighth-graders in Catholic schools and Parish Schools of Religion. Instructors should be practicing Catholics, with a full understanding of human dignity and sexuality, and must have a sensitivity to students of different backgrounds. Instructors must have a pastoral approach, as some students may already be knowledgeable about abortion, such as a relative who has had an abortion. Training and materials will be provided to instructors. For more information, email Terry Trafton at terrytrafton@archstl.org.







Supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal

This feature highlights one of the agencies supported by your generous contributions to the Annual Catholic Appeal.

Recent Articles Module

From the Archive Module

Chastity education program gives Catholics students the Right START 4765

Must Watch Videos

Now Playing

    View More Videos