Pro-life speaker Ryan Bomberger preps O'Connell for March for Life

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In preparation for the March for Life, Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington invited the Emmy award-winning creative professional and founder of The Radiance Foundation, Ryan Bomberger, to speak on the impact of choosing life.

“What I love about humanity is that we see example after example of us rising above our circumstances,” said Bomberger in the school’s auditorium Jan 11. “(God) has enabled triumph to rise (over) tragedy. Using someone like me, where the world said I should have been aborted, and instead I am able to create content to shatter the myths of the abortion industry.”

"You cannot allow emotions to push you through everything, emotions don't set us free. Truth sets us free." Ryan Bomberger, founder of The Radiance Project

Through a collection of upbeat videos, colorful photos and vibrant text, Bomberger shared the circumstances he rose above. He was conceived in rape, and despite the traumatic experience, his biological mother continued the pregnancy. He was born in 1971, and was adopted by the multi-racial Bomberger family. His adoptive mother, Andrea, was disowned by her father for adopting an African-American. Bomberger’s parents adopted nine more children, which attracted attention from local news in his hometown of Lancaster, Pa. In interviews, Andrea persisted “that adoption doesn’t just change the child, it changes the whole family, it transforms the community and it even sometimes transforms the world.”

Bomberger never met his biological mother, but thanks her saying, “One woman made a selfless choice, so I can love and be loved by my beautiful wife and four kids who adore me.”

He touched on the contributions O’Connell has made toward cystic fibrosis research, and related the disease to abortion. 

 

CONNOR BERGERON  |  CATHOLIC HERALD

“It’s a genetic disorder, inherited, so it’s amazing because you have an industry that believes that certain human beings are marked when they’re born, that they’re defective,” said Bomberger. “My family is full of these exceptions.”

The impact of his adoption inspired him to defend human dignity and Christian values. After marrying his wife, Bethany, they adopted a daughter, Radiance, who is named after Psalm 34:5, “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” In 2009, the couple established The Radiance Foundation — taking the name of their daughter — “to help people to understand and embrace their God-given purpose.” The couple has three more children: two biological and one adopted. 

Through emotional testimony, Bomberger provided facts for students to use to debate, or at the least “get a second opinion” on what they hear about abortion from mainstream news. Bomberger calls himself a “factivist,” as opposed to an activist.

“You cannot allow emotions to push you through everything, emotions don’t set us free,” he said. “Truth sets us free.”

Bomberger asked students trivia questions, such as, “There are about 650 Planned Parenthood clinics — how many other tax-payer funded ‘real’ medical facilities are there?” The student who came closest answered 2,000; the answer is 13,000, a number he cites from getyourcare.org.

CONNOR BERGERON  |  CATHOLIC HERALD

O’Connell brings pro-life speakers to the school before every March for Life, according to Allison Lattie, religion teacher and Pro-Life Club moderator.

“Being in a Catholic school, it’s just white noise to (students),” said Lattie. “Ryan’s a different approach. So hopefully the ones (who) have tuned us out will hear him, and bring a fresher approach to the pro-life movement.”

The club holds a monthly prayer service, and every third Saturday it meets to pray outside local abortion clinics, sometimes with students from Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax. Lattie hopes to collaborate with all diocesan high schools. “The ultimate goal is to be the diocesan High School Pro-Life Vigil,” she said.

Last year, the school was unable to attend the march due to inclement weather. This year it hopes to send 300 students. Lattie’s religion class students will get extra credit, because, “It’s a big commitment,” she said.

Beginning Jan. 21, members of the Pro-Life Club will speak at St. James Church in Falls Church, St. Agnes in Arlington and St. John the Beloved in McLean, to offer to march on behalf of those who cannot attend. For students who won’t be in Washington, the school will hold pro-life activities for them.

“We’re trying to make (students) aware that this is their hometown,” said Lattie. “They almost have an obligation. What, we’re 5 miles away?”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017

@cbergeronACH