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In the Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II calls for 
“…a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new culture of life” (no. 95). 

You are invited to tap the expertise of the Commission and Committee members to enliven the effort to activate this great campaign in your community of residence or work. Call the Family Life Office (886-5551) for information about how the Commission can assist you.



  • Kathy Capon, Holy Name Parish, Ebensburg
  • Joan Gilbert, St. John Parish, Hollidaysburg
  • Shirley Hall, St. Matthew Parish, Tyrone
  • Dr. Judy Jacobus, St. John the Evangelist Parish, Lakemont, Commission Chair
  • Charlie Leiden, St. John the Evangelist Parish, Lakemont
  • Dr. Carolyn Nickerson, St. Demetrius Parish, Gallitzin
  • Sue Rogacs, Our Lady of Victory Parish, State College 
  • Rev. John Slovikovski, Parochial Vicar, St. Patrick Parish, Johnstown
  • Sr. Fran Stein, RSM, Mount Aloysius, Cresson
  • Susan Teske, St. Michael Parish, Hollidayburg
  • Rev. Mr. Pasquale Valerio, St. Peter Parish, Somerset

Commission Goals (Accepted 4/24/01)

Goal 1 -  Create an organizational structure that serves the Commission's charge to "be the 
                 conscience of the Diocese" on Life and Justice Issues.

Overview -  Bishop Joseph used the expression "conscience of the Diocese" when he gave the Commission its charge in January, 2001. To serve in this role well, the Commission must create committees whose work will be to assist the Commission to stimulate greater respect for life across the broad range of issues. It would be fruitful for the committees’ structure and function to, in some way, reflect the four areas of resources called into action in the Pastoral Plan (1985; revised in 2001): public information and education; pastoral care; and public policy efforts; prayer.

Goal 2 - Establish the Commission as a credible, visible source of knowledge and advisement 
               that reflect the Gospel message of the Lord Jesus Christ and Pope John Paul II's 
               teaching regarding positions on the broad spectrum of Life Issues which inherently                    include issues of justice!

Overview  - Visibility to the public and credibility on a wide range of issues will be second only to grace as powerful resources for  the work of this Commission. Each member of the Commission must commit herself or himself to ongoing conversion and responsible development of knowledge and virtue to serve the Commission's other goals.

Goal 3 - Effectively mobilize parishes and other subgroups in the Diocese to raise up 
               Life Issues for wider and more frequent consideration by their members.

Overview - The People of God share responsibility for the cultivation of conscience and culture that nourish and protect the sacredness of life. The Commission's work will bear fruit to the extent that all the faithful are actively engaged in consideration and response to those forces that threaten life in ways that touch them everyday.


“You are God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9): a people of life and for life (The Gospel of Life).

There are a total of six standing committees of the Commission for Life and Justice. Three are “issues” committees and three are “outreach” committees. Each Committee is chaired by a member of the Commission. Interested persons outside of the Commission are nominated for membership on these committees.

Issues Committees include:

  •  Issue: Abortion/Infanticide/Stem Cell Research and Related 
  •  Issue: Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide/Brain Death and Related Issues 
  •  Issue: Capital Punishment and Related Issues 
Issues Committees of the Commission act in an advisory capacity to the Commission.  Members scan the environment for factors that are affecting professional and popular understanding of the issue, scan literature for sources of reliable information and issue analyses, identify, evaluate and make recommendations regarding issue-related resources that could be used in diocesan outreach efforts.

Outreach Committees have the specific responsibilities described. The three outreach committees are: 

  • Outreach: Public Relations 
    • The Public Relations Committee serve as a liaison between the Commission for Life and Justice of Altoona-Johnstown and other diocesan commissions or committees for life. This committee is also developing a speaker's bureau whose members could address any of a variety of life issues in a public forum and work with the Family Life Office to focus attention on Life Issues regularly in The Catholic Register.
  • Outreach: Professional 
    • The Professional Outreach Committee identifies and recommends opportunities for the initiation of life issues activities with groups of professionals in health care, higher education, law, social service, etc. and mentor professionals serving as study group leaders or in development roles on life issues.
  • Parish Outreach 
    • The Parish Outreach Committee serves as a resource for the study of life issues for parishes and schools in the Diocese (e.g. in study groups, October special events, as foci in special liturgical seasons, as special courses, etc.). It recommends pastoral and educational resources for use in parish programs, promotes life issues liturgical events, vigils, and devotional practices in parishes, creates the means of prompting attention to Life Issues in parishes (e.g. bulletin inserts, periodic announcements, etc.), and supports efforts to establish parish based life issues organizations. It has established a Diocesan-wide communication network of life-issues representatives from each parish. 

For more information about the work of the Commission for Life and Justice, 
contact Sr. Rosella Lacovitch, CSJ  in the Family Life Office (886-5551) or any commission member.