For Immediate Release   
Media Contact:  Annette Kearns
214-803-3679 |

Bishop's Dinner Raises Nearly  $1 Million for LIFE!
DALLAS, MAY 22, 2018   - It was a celebration 25 years in the making! The Silver Anniversary Bishop's Pro-Life Dinner benefiting  the Catholic Pro-Life Committee, the Respect Life Ministry of the Diocese of Dallas, raised nearly  $1 million in gifts and pledges, exceeding its giving goal.

Dallas Bishop Edward J. Burns, along with Honorary Chairs Marc and Georgia Lyons, hosted the event, which incidentally is the largest pro-life gala in Texas. It was a "momentous celebration of a historic anniversary in the Diocese of Dallas," said Bishop Burns. "Let us rejoice in the lives saved and changed in the last 25 years, and unite in our commitment to a future when all life is celebrated as sacred."

The celebration included a silent and live auction; raffle, jewelry and wine pulls; special recognition of the CPLC's founders; an inspiring keynote address from actor, author and
pro-life advocate Kevin Sorbo; as well as live music at the Silver Anniversary After-Party.

CPLC Board member and Catholic community leader Bill Sladek said: "The entire evening was spectacular. It was so inspiring to see more than 1,800 people come together to stand for Life. Kevin Sorbo's pro-life witness was powerful, and is desperately needed in our culture today, particularly in Hollywood and the entertainment industry."  

Another powerful element of the evening was the personal and passionate reflection delivered by the pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church Fr. Jason Cargo, which some donors commented inspired them to give.

In a moving tribute, Bishop Burns and CPLC Executive Director Becky Visosky presented a special honor -- the Founders Flame -- to Dallas Bishop Emeritus Charles Grahmann and the courageous women and men who first said yes to his call as members of the inaugural Bishop's Pro-Life Steering Committee in February 1993. "This recognition honored the vision and commitment which first lit the flame of respect life ministry in the Diocese of Dallas," said Visosky. "Thanks to their leadership and the many who joined them, the modest ministry that began 25 years ago has grown in scope and impact to be hailed as the most effective diocesan pro-life organization in the world."

Founders Flame Honorees with Bishop Edward Burns  (from left to right) Anne Lesniak (accepted by son Tom Lesniak), J.R. "Danny" Dannemiller (accepted by son Tim Dannemiller), Paulette Standefer, Bishop Emeritus Charles Grahmann, Sheila Higgins, Deacon Wayne Nacey, and Karen Garnett; not pictured: Bill Orender, Fr. Edward Robinson, O.P. (in memoriam), and John Everett (in memoriam).

In addition to the fellowship and fundraising, below are some interesting attributes of this special evening:
  • Four bishops in attendance: Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas, Bishop Emeritus Charles Grahmann of Dallas, Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly of Dallas, Bishop Michael Duca of Shreveport;
  • 36 Dallas Diocese parishes and 14 Knights of Columbus councils represented as table hosts;
  • 6 moms assisted by CPLC's Project Gabriel ministry attended and featured in program;
  • Students from 12 Dallas-area, Catholic schools and parishes attended and/or volunteered at the event;
  • Several guests traveled in from out of town, including guests from North Carolina, Florida, and Illinois.
"Spectacular, inspirational and heartwarming are just a few of the words our friends and family used to describe the 25th Annual Bishop's Pro-Life Dinner," said Honorary Chairs Marc and Georgia Lyons. "What a truly magnificent celebration of life!"

In recognition of the 25th anniversary, CPLC began collecting pro-life reflections and significant artifacts representing its history at the dinner for a time capsule to be reopened at a later milestone year.

The CPLC wishes to thank everyone for their participation in this year's Silver Jubilee. "We are blessed to have such a generous and supportive pro-life community," said Meg Finley, CPLC Director of Development. "Thank you to all our donors, guests, volunteers, staff, and friends, who not only made this special evening possible, but also give sacrificially every day to restore respect and legal protection for every human life."

Premium table hosts and sponsors of the Silver Anniversary Bishop's Pro-Life Dinner included: 

Defender of Life Table Host:
Marc and Georgia Lyons; 
Event Sponsor: Marianne and Roger Staubach Fund

Guardians of Life Table Hosts: Harry and Norma Longwell, John and Dorothy O'Dwyer, Carl and Jackie Ondracek, Jan and Thom Schliem, Bill and Mary Sladek, Drs. Jeffrey and Mayra Thompson, and Mike and Barbara Weller

Advocates of Life Table Hosts: Cristo Rey Dallas, Divine Mercy of Our Lord Parish, John and Kathleen Gutierrez, Flip and Celeste Howard, Pierre and Maureen Koshakji, David and Judy McCalla, Joe and Kathy Murphy, Ron and Alphecca Nguyen, and Order of Malta; Event Sponsors: Matt and Gretchen Bowen, Donald and Jane Hanratty, Sherwood Fellows, and Ed and Diane Stanley.

Protectors of Life Table Hosts: All Saints Catholic Community, Bill and Kim Blasé, Jackie Crawford, Alfredo and Irma Duarte, Dr. and Mrs. Anacleto Ordinario, Roger Scott, Jr.,
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, St. Patrick Catholic Church - Dallas, Christopher and Victoria Tanco, and Jerry and Lucia Welch; Event Sponsors: Cast Wines, The Catholic Foundation, Harris Orthodontics, Rob and Alicia Hays, Leland's Gold & Diamonds, Murad Auctions, and Terence and Nancy Murphy.

Additional details and photos of the event are available at Next year's Bishop's Pro-Life Dinner will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2019.
About the Catholic Pro-Life Committee:  The CPLC  is devoted to ending abortion and restoring respect and legal protection for every human life, and carries out this mission  through  life-saving ministries  serving the public with supportive services for mothers and their children, education and advocacy on life issues and women's health, and abortion aftercare.  More here.