Archive for April, 2010

The Community of the Church

Friday, April 30th, 2010

On the first Easter night, Thomas was not with the apostles when Jesus appeared to them, risen from the dead. But Scripture does not tell us where Thomas was.

Because he was the type of person who needed to see things for himself, perhaps he was out looking for Jesus, on the very road on which the women, that morning, had said they had seen him alive.

But Thomas did not find Jesus, until he returned to the community of Peter and the other apostles.
This is an important lesson. We need the community of the Church, united around the successor of Peter.
That community affirms the Gospel of Life. By staying close to the community we are strengthened in our pro-life commitment, despite the fact that some in our lives may disagree.

–Fr. Frank

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Judges Aren’t Politicians

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Another Supreme Court Justice will soon be chosen by the President and voted on by the US Senate, and the abortion issue will be prominent. Now a judge’s position on the issues shouldn’t matter. Judges aren’t politicians, and they are supposed to be chosen for their qualifications, not their views on the matters on which they will vote.

At the same time, certain issues so central to the very nature and purpose of government that one’s position on those issues is tantamount to a qualification for the job. No judge should be confirmed if he doesn’t believe in representative government, or if he approves of terrorism. Likewise, no judge should be confirmed who fails to see that the first duty and purpose of government is to protect the right to life, starting with children.

–Fr. Frank

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Pro-Life Freedom Rides Announced for This Summer

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Birmingham, AL – More than 100 people were in this historic city’s Kelly Ingram Park Tuesday as Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, and Dr. Alveda King, director of the organization’s African-American Outreach, formally announced plans for Pro-Life Freedom Rides that will begin this summer.

“We are here to launch a movement within the greater pro-life movement, a movement of Freedom Rides for the Unborn,” Father Pavone said during the morning press conference. “Like the Freedom Rides of five decades ago, these freedom rides symbolize the principle of the greater movement of which they are part, namely, that justice and equal protection of human rights belong to each and every human being, regardless of size or age or any other condition.”

A host of civil rights and pro-life leaders from across the country stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Dr. King and Father Pavone to lend their support to the Freedom Rides, the first of which is scheduled for July 23-25. Riders will attend a concert and rally July 23 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center and then board the bus bound for Atlanta. Dozens of rides in all parts of the country could be scheduled over the next year, according to Father Pavone.

The 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides of 1961 will be celebrated next year, which presented Priests for Life with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that the fight against abortion is the civil rights battle of the 21st century.

“Human rights begin when human lives begin and not one moment later,” Father Pavone said.

The niece of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Alveda King lived in Birmingham as a child and remembers the civil rights battles that scarred its streets and the souls of its residents.

“When I lived in Birmingham, when our home was bombed in this very city, when my classmate was part of the group of four little girls killed in the bombing of historical Sixteenth Street Baptist Church across the way, I dreamed of a world when life would be better, when justice would prevail for all,” she said.

With the Pro-Life Freedom Rides, she said, “We join our lives and hearts together with those who have gone before us. We take to the bus, to the streets of America, riding for justice and freedom for all, from conception until natural death.”

The press conference also served as the official debut of the song “Least of These,” written by Christian singer/songwriter Jamie Owens Collins as an anthem for the Pro-Life Freedom Rides. A chorus led by noted recording artist Darrian Summerville of Global Outreach Campus Ministries performed the song.

“This is the song of the movement,” declared Joy Pinto, whose husband, Jim Pinto, is the director of Priests for Life’s lay evangelistic ministry, Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. Jim Pinto was instrumental in organizing the press conference, along with Jerry Horn, senior vice president of Priests for Life, and Frank Norris, director of development. Birmingham residents Jacob Jones and the Rev. Terry Gensemer, rector of the Church of the Reconciled, provided invaluable help in coordinating the event. Lionel Myers, owner of Drive for You in Atlanta, GA, provided transportation. Thrasher Brothers Coaches and Tours of Birmingham were responsible for the spectacular Freedom Bus that served as a backdrop for the event and which later was used to take passengers on a symbolic ride around the park.

Traveling to Birmingham for the press conference were the following pro-life and civil rights leaders: Rev. Clenard Childress of New Jersey, director of the Life Education and Resource Network; Catherine Davis, director of Minority Outreach for Georgia Right to Life; the Rev. Stephen Broden, senior pastor of Fair Park Bible Fellowship in Dallas, and a candidate for Congress; Day Gardner of Maryland, founder of the National Black Pro-Life Union, and Dean Nelson of Virginia, executive director of the Network of Politically Active Christians.

Also making the trip were members of Priest for Life’s Pastoral Team, including Janet Morana, executive director and co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign; associate directors Father Denis Wilde, OSA, and Father Peter West; Father William Scott Daniels, OP, and Dr. Theresa and Kevin Burke, founders of Rachel’s Vineyard, a healing ministry for post-abortive women and men. Jamie Owens Collins and her husband, music producer Dan Collins, flew in from California to be part of the event.

Members of Catholics United for Life of Huntsville, Ala., attended the press conference, as did the Rev. Michael Deering, vicar general for the Diocese of Birmingham, and high school students from Restoration Academy in Birmingham.

Bishop Demetrics Roscoe, founder of Living Church Ministries in Birmingham, recalling the day Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed and the civil rights battles fought in its aftermath, said he learned from his father that “if we decide to love, we have no enemies at all.” Pointing to the “bus that represents life,” Bishop Roscoe said, “We believe something is happening in our city.”

“This city is going to be tremendously blessed,” agreed Pinto, “because we are here to celebrate the most fundamental human right: the right to life.”

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True Environmentalism is Pro-Life!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

This year, when Earth Day was observed, pro-life ads were placed on busses inviting people to celebrate earth’s greatest treasure — children. The Church is very much in favor of preserving and caring for the environment. Yet some environmentalists support abortion. They see human life primarily as a threat to the environment, and justify killing unborn children to keep the environment safe for those who are born. Yet as Pope Benedict recently said, “How can we set at odds the protection of the environment and the protection of human life, including the life of the unborn?” Indeed they cannot be separated. Let’s embrace a consistent ethic of life, which sees that the need to protect Mother Earth is precisely because of the value of the people who live on it, born and unborn.

–Fr. Frank

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Come and Join the Freedom Rides

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

In 1961, civil rights activists in America held Freedom Rides to oppose segregation. The rides gave visibility to the cause and recruited more people who wanted to fight for justice.

Now, when the fundamental injustice in our society is abortion, pro-life activists will begin to hold Freedom Rides for the unborn. These rides will symbolize the fact that all the varied activity of the pro-life movement can be summarized by the theme of freedom. Pro-life education frees people from ignorance; pregnancy centers and healing ministries free them from despair; legislative and political action frees them from unjust laws.

The rides will occur in various cities and there will be activities that activists in every city can do simultaneously. Find info at http://www.priestsforlife.org/action/pro-life-freedom-rides.htm

–Fr. Frank

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Birmingham Press Conference This Morning to Launch Pro-Life Freedom Rides

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Birmingham, AL – Civil rights and pro-life leaders will join this morning for a press conference at 10:30 am at Kelly Ingram Park to announce a series of Pro-Life Freedom Rides to start this summer.

Dr. Alveda King, Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, will be among those speaking today on a new project that drives home the point that at the heart of civil rights is the right to life.

“The civil rights movement and the pro-life movement are really one movement,” declared Fr. Pavone. “It is the movement that stands up every time human life and dignity are cast down; it is the movement that cries out for equal protection when some are denied their most basic rights.”

This summer’s Freedom Rides are named after the historic efforts of those who rode buses in 1961 to advance desegregation. Details of the project, which is backed by over 40 Birmingham area pastors, civil rights leaders, and pro-life activists, will be revealed at today’s 10:30 am press conference taking place at 5th Avenue North and 16th Street in Kelly Ingram Park. See also www.ProLifeFreedomRides.com.

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The Road to Emmaus

Monday, April 26th, 2010

On the first Easter Sunday afternoon, two disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus, discussing all the events that had just happened. However, they did not yet realize that Jesus had risen from the dead. Even when Jesus began walking with them on that road, they did not recognize him.

We do not know what changes the risen body causes in our appearance. But aside from that factor, we read in this Gospel account that the disciples were “looking downcast.”

Often we are too absorbed in our own disappointment to see that hope is right in front of us. This is the case with many who are pregnant, afraid, and tempted to abort. Despair and fear can lead to the violence of abortion – unless we intervene and show that the Lord is walking with us.

–Fr. Frank

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Civil Rights Leaders Re-board the Bus for Historic Freedom Rides

Monday, April 26th, 2010

*The Freedom Riders of 1961 took their lives in their hands to protest the injustice of segregation. This summer, Priests for Life and its supporters will stage Pro-life Freedom Rides along those various routes. This time we will be speaking up for the lives of the unborn.

* The Freedom Riders took their action to test a Supreme Court ruling that struck down segregation laws. We will ride to protest a ruling by that same court that legalized the murder of a whole class of human beings.

* The Freedom Riders sought to change the culture of racism in the U.S. We seek to transform the culture of death into the culture of life.

Join us as we kick off this campaign with a press conference on April 27.

Who – Dr. Alveda King, Director of African American Outreach for Priests for
Life and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life
Janet Morana, Executive Director of Priests for Life
Dean Nelson, Executive Director of the Network of Politically Active Christians
Rev. Clennard Childress, Director of the Life Education and Resource Network
Rev. Sam Mosteller, Georgia State President, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Catherine Davis, Director of Minority Outreach, Georgia Right to Life
Rev. Stephen Broden, Senior Pastor, Fair Park Bible Fellowship, Dallas, Texas
Day Gardner, Founder, National Black Pro-Life Union
Fr. Denis Wilde, Associate Director of Priests for Life
Fr. Peter West, Associate Director of Priests for Life
Fr. Scott William Daniels, Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life
Jim Pinto, Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life
Kevin and Theresa Burke, Founders of Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat
Jerry Horn, Senior Advisor of Priests for Life
Dan Collins, Record Producer
Jamie Collins, Singer, Songwriter
Darrian Summerville, Christian recording artist
Bishop Demetrics and Mrs. Pauline Roscoe, Founder, Living Church Ministries, Birmingham

Where – Kelly Ingram Park, 5th Avenue N. at 16th Street, Birmingham, AL
When – April 27, 10:30 am

“My Uncle Martin had a dream that Protestants and Catholics and Gentiles and Jews would join together and sing the age old spiritual ‘Free at Last,’” stated Dr. Alveda King. “At Priests for Life, we will be singing and praying on the Pro-life Freedom Rides. We urge all people of good will to join us as we link the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th Century to the heart cry for life in the 21st Century.”

“This gathering of pro-life and civil rights leaders is a unique partnership,” said Father Frank Pavone. “By joining hearts and hands and voices in this way, we can help convince Americans once and for all that abortion is the ultimate violation of human rights.”

The rides have been endorsed by African-American and pro-life leaders across the country. Catherine Davis of Georgia Right to Life noted, “In 1857, the Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott case, labeled blacks as property, denying them citizenship. The United States said no to this notion and restored personhood to blacks with the 14th Amendment. In 1973 the Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade case again took personhood away from a class of people – the unborn. We are riding and calling on all Americans to again reject this notion by restoring the right to life to the unborn.”

The April 27 press conference will set the stage for the first Pro-life Freedom Ride, set for July 23-25. National and local pro-life leaders will gather in Birmingham for a major concert and rally – exact location and venue to be announced. A prayer vigil will take place outside an area abortion mill and then those traveling with the riders will get in the bus for the ride to Atlanta.

Join us as we begin this historic undertaking. Millions of babies are counting on us to ride for their lives.

For more information – www.prolifefreedomrides.com

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Vocations Sunday

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

This Sunday is “Vocations Sunday.” We pray that many will hear the call to the priesthood, the call to devote themselves fully to the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ, which is the Gospel of Life.

Many young people today are finding their vocation precisely because of the Church’s witness to the sanctity of life amidst the holocaust of abortion. Responding to a vocation requires counter-cultural service, which is precisely the context which the pro-life movement offers. Devoting oneself to the defense of life provides a powerful seed-bed for the flowering of priestly vocations, just as a response to a priestly vocation is necessarily a commitment to the defense of life.

Let us pray today for many “good shepherds,” and let us encourage those who have already accepted that call.

–Fr. Frank

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“Who will roll away the stone for us?”

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

As the women went to Jesus’ tomb to anoint his body, they asked one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us?”
The stone was huge, and it sealed the body of Jesus in the grave – or so they thought. Not only had the stone already been rolled away, but Jesus was not there; he was alive.

The women’s question persists today. Who will roll away the stone for us? Who will free humanity from death, from violence, and from despair? How do we find freedom from evil and sin? How to we roll away the culture of death and nurture a culture of life? The stone can seem too large for us.

Yet like the question, the answer also persists: Jesus Christ is Risen! In him we advance the victory of life.

–Fr. Frank

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