For kathleen-domingo, respect life ministry has been a part of her life almost since she can remember, since she was attending St. Joseph Elementary School in Auburn, and joining her mother in prayer for the unborn in front of an abortion clinic.Now, as Life Coordinator in the recently expanded Office of Life, Justice and Peace for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Domingo is eager and determined to help make the archdiocese, in her words, “a leader, a catalyst” in building a culture of life.Significantly, she adds, that also means building a greater awareness of what respect life ministry is all about.“I think the title of this office is formative and prophetic,” says Domingo. “It’s our opportunity to recognize and understand the connection of life and justice issues, to build bridges with those who work to defeat the death penalty, with those who seek to outlaw human trafficking. If you want to work to end abortion, good — but let’s also stand next to and support the one who is working to end human slavery, the one who is working to end poverty. “And that means we all need to undergo formation and transformation, to seek the right language of how we can work together better, more effectively to promote a culture of life. It means working collaboratively on issues that support human life.”A graduate of the University of San Francisco with a master’s in theology of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America, Domingo most recently worked for Catholics for the Common Good, the San Francisco-based lay apostolate. She also has done development work for pregnancy resource centers, “where I had the chance to meet people in crisis situations, seeking help. In that kind of circumstance, it’s not a time to preach morality; it’s a time to treat people who need our compassion and help with dignity and respect.”That is the approach she hopes to bring to her work for the archdiocese. The Office of Life, Justice and Peace was renamed and expanded by Archbishop José Gomez within one of his five priorities outlined in his October 2012 pastoral letter, “Witness to the New World of Faith.” “I am intrigued by how this office combines these issues of life, justice and peace to promote a consistent ethic of life,” she says. “And in building that ethic, that culture, I really see schools as key locations. Archbishop Gomez’s priorities included both education in the faith and building a culture of life. This is an opportunity to help our youth understand the difference between simply offering service and working for justice. Our Catholic schools form leaders in society, and so it is our responsibility to help youth understand that they can be leaders in promoting justice.”Domingo is well aware of the political challenges that promoting a culture of life presents. “The fact is, Catholics will never find a home in either of the two main political parties, as currently constructed today,” she notes. “Our faith and beliefs should always come first. What we need to do is enable Catholics to be faithful citizens, and that is an ongoing mission — to transform our culture and our individual consciences.”As the archdiocese’s first “in house” life coordinator in a decade, Domingo is pleased that Respect Life Ministry has continued in the archdiocese, as has the Respect Life Commission.“I want to thank Msgr. Timothy O’Connell (Respect Life Commission chair) and Licia Nicassio (former Respect Life coordinator) who have provided great leadership to local respect life efforts, and to all at the grass-roots level who have continued working for life ministry causes,” says Domingo. Her goal now, she says, is to meet with as many of these people as possible, to encourage and connect them with one another, and to develop a network of leadership teams. “If building a culture of life is what you are passionate about, we can use all the help we can get,” she says. “I am really overwhelmed and delighted by all of what I have seen here, all of the efforts in post-abortion healing, all of the pregnancy centers, all that people do to build a culture of life. I want to support these people who are doing this ministry every day in their parishes and communities, help pull them together in order to do it better and more effectively.”To contact kathleen-domingo, email [email protected] or call (213) 637-7236. {gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0510/domingo/{/gallery}