CHARLOTTETOWN – Late in June, more than 50 young people from across Canada gathered at Maritime Christian College for the 1997 National Youth Pro-Life Conference.

Throughout the weekend, keynote speaker Eric Genuis, an accomplished pianist from Ontario, used a combination of music and discussion to educate those in attendance.

“Always look critically at what society and the media present,” was his opening message.

In a second presentation, he said, “If we do not learn to respect ourselves and others in day to day life, then we shouldn’t be surprised if there’s no respect for the unborn, the elderly, the sick.”

Later, he led a discussion on current issues including euthanasia, and practising chastity in a world promoting instant gratification.

Other conference speakers were Marilyn Bergeron of Cornwall, Ontario, Tiffany Scott of Ottawa, and Michelle Mahoney of Charlottetown.

Tiffany Scott spoke on human dignity, emphasizing ” … the fact that we are all created in the image and likeness of God affords us dignity that cannot be taken away.”

Two of the sessions were “segregated” – men only, and women only. In one, participants considered how society views each gender, the roles associated with each, and whether those attitudes are right or wrong. The other stressed the importance of “not settling for less” in our relationships.

The weekend ended with a life chain. For many, it was the first opportunity to take a public stand for life.

The conference was hosted by the PEI youth pro-life organization Voices for LIfe, and ran concurrently with the national conferences of Campaign Life Coalition and ALliance for Life, held on the nearby campus of UPEI.

Editor’s note: Charlottetown residents Rachel and Bethany Broderick were deeply involved in organizing the youth conference. Bethany, 19, is entering second year at UPEI; Rachel, 22, a computer technical support analyst, is getting married this summer.