Office of Life and Family director among those awarded for being 'proudly pro-life'

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LINCOLN — On Thursday, Nov. 19, five individuals were honored by Rhode Island Right to Life (RIRTL) at the Proudly Pro-Life Awards Banquet for their passionate pro-life leadership and defense of the unborn, the disabled and the elderly.

Carol Owens, Kevin McDevitt, Rita Parquette and John and Barbara Primeau were awarded for their committed to the sanctity of human life at Kirkbrae Country Club, Lincoln. Barth E. Bracy, executive director of RIRTL, expressed his great thanks to these individuals whose courageous and admirable efforts have helped to defend human life at every stage.

“I get to work with some of the most dynamic pro-life leaders and activists around the state and around the country,” he said.

One of the most dynamic among these leaders, he said, is Carol Owens. Owens has served as the director of the Diocese of Providence’s Office of Life and Family Ministry since 2002 and under her tireless direction, Bracy said, the office has expanded its many pro-life ministries and launched multiple new pro-life initiatives.

The moment Owens received the call from Bracy that she would receive a Proudly Pro-Life award she was at a loss for words.

“It was a humbling, humbling moment,” she said. “He said I would be in good company and he was correct. I will continue my journey being totally proud to be pro-life in this culture that we live in today which is not easy to do. Many years ago Sister Mary told me that if I intend to do God’s work, then I better be prepared to not only talk the talk but to walk the walk. I’ll be doing God’s work — not mine — but his.”

Kevin McDevitt joined the board of RIRTL in 2010. His proudly pro-life leadership of the organization’s development efforts over the past five years has kept their doors open through some very challenging times, Bracy explained.

McDevitt shared that he cannot think of another cause that is more important than the defense of human life.

“I can’t think of another organization that does quite the job as Rhode Island Right to Life does. Barth truly is the voice of the voiceless, of the unborn in the state of Rhode Island,” he said. “I thank him and the organization for this award and I hope God will continue to bless Rhode Island Right to Life.”

Rita Parquette served as executive director of Rhode Island Right to Life from 2001 to 2008, after having served as executive director of the Woman to Woman Center, and as an obstetric nurse.

“Rita modernized Rhode Island Right to Life,” said Bracy. “She transitioned the organization into this 21st century, with an emphasis on our education and communications outreach.”

Parquette credits her pro-life beginnings to her family, particularly her father whose pro-life convictions made a profound impact her life. She added that she is grateful that God was able use her to help RIRTL.

“I feel very blessed and I certainly feel honored to be amongst those of you who are also receiving an award tonight. I thank you very much.”

John and Barbara Primeau, who have been active in the pro-life movement for decades as individuals and through the North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation (NACEPF), a lay entity, were also recipients of a Proudly Pro-Life Award.

“John and Barbara understand very well the power of education and the power of communications for influencing our society,” Bracy shared. Their involvement in supporting multiple initiatives has been decisive and dedicated in promoting a Culture of Life in Rhode Island.”

Bracy thanked all of the awardees for their mission of treating every human life with inalienable dignity, and for their many years of faith-filled service.

“We are standing on the shoulders of giants, the people who started Rhode Island Right to Life,” Bracy said. “But, it’s amazing how a new generation picks up the torch and carries it forward.”