Daniel Hoover and Martha Jordan are the keynote speakers at this year’s Diocese of Camden Respect Life Leaders Gathering on Saturday, October 18 at St. Charles Borromeo in Sicklerville. By then, they’ll be married! (Yes, to each other!) The gathering, Called to Love All Life, will bring together current and aspiring leaders in the pro-life movement from the diocese’s parishes and schools.
Below is a quick interview with Daniel and Martha, but first here are their backgrounds:
Daniel grew up in Grass Lake, Michigan. He attended Michigan State University where he studied religion and philosophy before getting his Masters of Theology from the University of Notre Dame through the Echo Faith Formation Leadership Program. He is currently the pastoral associate of St. Mary Magdalen school and parish in Wilmington, Del.
Martha grew up in South Jersey, and was a long-time parishioner at the Catholic Community of the Holy Spirit (Holy Name of Jesus Parish). She received a Bachelor’s degree in Theology, with a minor in Human Life Studies, from Franciscan University of Steubenville. After college, Martha worked with organizations such as Generation Life and FOCUS as a campus missionary at Boston University. Martha now works at the Catholic Leadership Institute in Wayne, Penn., where Church leaders receive world-class leadership training, following the example of leadership made known to us through Jesus Christ.
The title of the gathering is “Called to Love All Life.” Love is a word we throw around a lot. What do you think love for all life, especially the vulnerable, entails?
Daniel: For a long time I have been fascinated by the term “true love.” I think that title is used because so many times what is called “love” is actually insincere and self-serving. Love for all life, if it is true love, results in us loving other’s as Christ loved them. Christ’s love is an aching, desperate, compassionate, self-less love. His love drove Him to willingly die for us. Mother Teresa said we should “love until it hurts” and I think that in many different forms, that is what love for all life entails, loving until it hurts us. Also, not ignoring injustice in the world.
Martha: When I think of loving on a daily basis, I think of how I can love in simple ways – through gestures, a smile, a hello, etc. It is not always easy to love the people you live with, or work with, and I think loving people in your daily life, as well as the most vulnerable, requires an open heart, and the recognition that all people you meet are a mystery to you. All who are vulnerable have a story that we don’t know about. Loving the vulnerable requires the recognition that each person involved is a gift waiting to be received in love.
Who is a person in your own life (famous or not-so-famous) whose example of love in action has inspired you? Why?
Daniel: Maybe it is cliche but I have been really moved by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa). Reading the book of her personal letters (Come Be My Light) I saw how everything she did was inspired by her love of Jesus. Unfortunately, I think often our motives are often less pure, even if we don’t realize it.
Martha: I have a friend whose love for all people is expressed so clearly whenever she interacts with another. She allows all of the details of a conversation to be important so that love might be shown. When she speaks her tone is loving, kind and sweet, her demeanor is pleasant, she smiles, and her body language is open. She communicates with people with great intentionality because of the love she has in her heart for Christ and His people. It inspires me because it is so uncommon today to take the time to look, listen, and speak to each person as though he/she were the most important, and yet — it is in these actions — in this love, that the hearts of people are moved to believe in Christ, in love.
Pick a favorite Scripture passage that is important to you when reflecting on our call to protect the dignity vulnerable — especially the unborn.
Daniel: There is also a passage from a document called the Didache from around the year 100 A.D. that is believed to be the recorded teachings of the Apostles and it says for Christians to be against abortion. The fact that we have protected the unborn for 1,900 years is so beautiful to me.
Martha: John 8 – The story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus has come to protect us and save us, to bring each of us into union with Him.
For those interested in attending the event:
Besides Daniel and Martha’s keynote address, the day will feature Mass and communal prayer, breakfast and lunch, topical breakout sessions, and networking time with dozens of respect life leaders from faith communities all over the diocese. You can register for the event by clicking here, or email email@example.com for more information. All are welcome!
This interview is also featured on the website The Ampersand for the Diocese of Camden Life & Justice Ministries.