For The Catholic Messenger
NFL star and pro-life warrior Matt Birk will speak at the seventh annual Iowans for Life fundraising dinner Oct. 12. The event will be held from 6-9 p.m. at the Meadows Bishop Ballroom in Altoona, Iowa. Bishop Richard Pates of the Diocese of Des Moines will open with prayer.
Birk, a two-time All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowl selection and a Super Bowl champion, will share his story in a talk titled Standing Ground: NFL Pro Says YES to Life.
A pre-dinner huddle for students with paid dinner tickets will be held from 4:45-5:15 p.m. They can toss the football with Birk and talk with him about his faith, family and football.
After the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2013, Birk, the Ravens’ center, declined to meet President Barack Obama with his teammates because the president made the comment “God bless Planned Parenthood” in a speech. Birk stated, “It was because of my Catholic faith and my pro-life convictions … ultimately, it was because of my kids. I want to not just talk about my faith, but live it out, too.”
The Super Bowl champ said he believes God gave him a platform through football to defend life, marriage and family values. He and his wife Adrianna are raising eight children, all under the age of 14, in St. Paul, Minn.
Birk, a Harvard graduate in economics and a professional football player for 15 years, fell back in love with the church after an evangelical team chaplain challenged him. During his football career, he was recognized for his community service by winning the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2011. Sporting News named him in the top 10 of the nation’s smartest athletes in 2010.
Since retiring from player status in 2014, Birk has served as director of football development for the NFL. He also authored the book “All-Pro Wisdom: The 7 Choices That Lead to Greatness.”
Iowans for Life Executive Director Maggie DeWitte notes that, “Matt Birk showed admirable courage in the highly competitive NFL but even more importantly, in refusing to endorse the estimated 330,000 abortions that Planned Parenthood performs annually. Leaders like Matt provide the foundation for others to stand their ground on what is morally acceptable in America today.”
Iowans for Life will present its annual Life is for Everyone Award to Iowa Senator Brad Zaun (R- District 20), an ardent pro-life advocate. He introduced three pro-life bills this past session, including two that became law: one bans abortions after 20 weeks and requires a three-day waiting period. The second redirects taxpayer funds for family planning services to organizations that do not perform abortions.
Dinner tickets for individuals or table sponsors may be purchased for $50 per person or a table of 8 for $500. Visit the IFL website at www.iowansforlife.org to register online or to print a registration form and mail to Iowans for Life, 130 East Third St., Suite 101, Des Moines, IA 50309. For more information, visit the website or contact Maggie DeWitte at (515) 255-4113 or mdewitte@ iowansforlife.org.