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Proclaim Freedom for the Unborn

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

The pro-life movement is all about freedom. That's why Priests for Life, with the leadership of our Pastoral Associate Dr. Alveda King, is launching “Freedom Rides” for the unborn to galvanize pro-life activity across the country.

During the Civil Rights movement, the "Freedom Rides" constituted a distinctive moment of resolve and unity. The Supreme Court, in its 1960 decision Boynton vs. Virginia, had outlawed segregation in bus terminals and restaurants serving interstate travelers. So the following spring, thirteen people - seven African-Americans and six whites - decided to travel by bus from Washington DC to New Orleans to test the enforcement of that Supreme Court decision.

Along the way, particularly in Alabama, they encountered opposition and violence from those who did not want desegregation. But having been brutally attacked, and some lying with wounds in hospital beds, the “Freedom Riders” vowed that the journey would continue.

That's when others joined in, and the initial Freedom Ride became 60 rides across Southern states in the summer of 1961, with some 450 riders participating. And by the fall of that same year, the government issued orders for the enforcement of desegregation at the bus terminals.

The Civil Rights movement and the Pro-Life movement have the same heart and soul: A longing for equal justice for everyone, based on the inherent dignity of every human life.

That's why, when Dr. Alveda King first walked with me at the annual March for Life and I asked her, “Does this remind you of the marches in the civil rights movement?” she declared,

“Fr. Frank, this is the civil rights movement!”

Both movements are movements of freedom. It is therefore time for Freedom Rides for the unborn. The pro-life movement is more ready than ever to proclaim freedom!

Freedom from the lies and the deceit that allow abortion to continue!
Freedom from the despair that leads people into abortion mills!
Freedom from the fear of speaking up and taking action for the unborn!
Freedom from the shame and guilt of past involvement in abortion!
Freedom from the political oppression that tramples on human rights and denies equality before the law!
Freedom from violence and death itself!

I invite all Americans to join me, Dr. Alveda King, the Priests for Life family, and all the People of LIFE as we make Our Lord’s mission our own. In His very first sermon Jesus summarized His message and mission by saying He had come to “proclaim liberty to the captives!” As His disciples, let us be resolved to do the same!

Be a PRO-LIFE Freedom Rider

The rides will choose cities with strategic significance for the movement. While pro-life activists ride the buses, all pro-life people nationwide will be invited to participate simultaneously in concrete activities that will call for freedom on various levels. This will be one of the largest efforts to renew and focus the efforts of the entire pro-life movement

After almost 40 years of perseverance, sacrifice and courageous effort, abortion-on-demand remains the law of the land. Every day thousands of innocent babies are slaughtered in abortion mills across the country. Families are being torn apart. And women are being scarred for life. It is time to end the killing, the suffering, the pain, and the violence of abortion. All of us here at Priests for Life are committed to hastening the day when the people of life claim VICTORY over abortion! And one way we will bring about that victory is through our “Pro-life Freedom Rides.”

 

Project / Event Structure

• Planning meetings are still in progress. These meetings include various Catholic bishops, clergy from other denominations, leaders from other national pro-life organizations, and local pro-life activists. These meetings are crucial so that all involved are on board with the overall plan and ready to provide their energy and expertise in order to give the Freedom Ride events maximum impact.

• The initial Freedom Ride event will take place in the Spring of 2010. The actual date of the first Freedom Ride bus will not be announced until everything is firmly in place: Coordination with local clergy (both Catholic and Protestant). Coordination with local pro-life groups. Coordination with public officials.

• In order to expand the influence of the Freedom Ride project, same-day events will be conducted in locations all across the country. Priests for Life will coordinate these off-site events and supply whatever materials necessary.

• We hope to broadcast the main Freedom Ride event via the Internet with a LIVE webcast!

• Another plan has Priests for Life recording the Freedom Ride’s opening night event and then allowing local groups to download the video from the PFL website and broadcasting it at their events the next day.

• For the Catholic pro-life community, we are asking parishes to hold 40 hours devotions at parishes throughout the diocese. At the discretion of the local bishop, public Eucharistic processions and outdoor Masses can take place.

• Banners, brochures, videos, pamphlets, DVDs, books and other materials are being produced. These will be handed out at the Freedom Ride event. They will also be distributed to the off-site events that will be taking place all around the country in coordination with the main Freedom Ride event.

4-6 weeks before event

• Priests for Life will conduct a “Pastor/Clergy Conference” to assist priests and pastors on ways they can preach about abortion the weekend of the main Freedom Ride event.
• Priests for Life will delegate Freedom Ride events to various local pro-life coordinators, as well as leaders of other national pro-life organizations.
• Priests for Life will meet with local members of the PFL family and enlist their active participation.

Opening Evening Rally at the site of the Main Freedom Ride Event

• Freedom Riders arrive by bus to rally site.
• Rally concert will include music and speeches from Father Frank, Alveda King, local church leaders, local and national pro-life and civil rights leaders, and leaders of the local pro-life movement.
• Local groups will set up recruitment booths and all attending the Freedom Ride event will be strongly encouraged to go to those booths and sign up to do their part to end abortion in their local community.

Other Events

• Rallies, protests, and marches at the sites of the killing will take place. Interdenominational services, as well as Masses, will take place in various locations simultaneously.
• Healing services will be held which will feature speakers from Rachel's Vineyard, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, and other post-abortion ministries. Priests will be available for Confession.
• Press conferences will inform the local media.
• Lobbying of state and federal officials will take place.
• Gatherings of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign will be held, during which men and women who have lost children to abortion will share their pain and healing.

Preaching the Word

• All the priests and pastors will preach a common message addressing the great evil of abortion and calling on all of Christ’s followers to get involved in the fight against abortion.

As details become finalized, they will be posted at: www.ProLifeFreedomRides.com

Freedom Ride Timetable

NOTE: This is a working document. Its sole purpose is to help keep the Freedom Ride project on schedule. This gives you a better understanding of the extensive planning and coordination needed to ensure the Freedom Ride project’s success.

October 2009

• Pre-planning trip to event sites
• Map out Freedom Ride bus routes
• Contact local authorities and get their input for the events
• Determine materials needed for events – banners, t-shirts, booklets, flyers, etc.

November 2009

• Develop logo, theme and materials needed for events
• Create broadcast schedule
• Create list of leaders to participate in events and broadcasts
• Contact local Bishops to arrange for celebration of Mass at each event.

December 2009

• Finalize events and routes
• Develop list of locations of Freedom Ride billboards
• Finalize design and copy for billboards
• Contact local activists and clergy inviting them to participate in event
• Begin taping leaders for broadcast at Freedom Ride events      
Deposits due for event components – buses, venues, permits, etc.
 

January 2010

• Announce Freedom Rides
• Launch media campaign both local and national
• Finalize printed materials and begin ordering

February 2010

• Conduct priest and clergy talks at churches around the Freedom Ride locations
• Erect billboards
• Work with leaders of local pro-life groups to recruit pro-life activists to attend events and take part in Freedom Ride activities

March 2010

• Distribute recruiting materials prior to Freedom Ride events
• Order t-shirts, banners, bracelets, etc. for distribution at Freedom Ride events
• Review event schedule with local public authorities ... city councils, police, etc
• Provide local pro-life leaders with materials to recruit participants
• Finalize media broadcast schedule and participants; combination of live and taped events

Spring 2010

Turn the key and fire up the first Pro-life Freedom Ride bus!

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 • Fax 718-980-2542
mail@priestsforlife.org