Archive for August, 2010

ProLife Liturgical Resources

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

ProLife Liturgical Resources is a tool for Catholic priests and clergy of other denominations who use the liturgical calendar. This application provides three sets of resources (prayers, bulletin insert, and homily hints) to assist the clergy to preach, teach, and pray about the pro-life message with their congregations, based on the readings assigned to each Sunday in the three-year cycle of the lectionary.

The first of these resources is a set of General Intercessions for the Mass. These “Prayers of the Faithful” are composed according to the guidelines set by the Catholic Church, and include a petition for the growth of the culture of life. This fulfills a request of the Catholic bishops, in their Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities (2001) that “Parishes should include in the petitions at every Mass a prayer that ours will become a nation that respects and protects all human life, born and unborn, reflecting a true culture of life.”

The second of these pro-life resources is a short paragraph that can be included in the Church bulletin to educate the congregation about the issues of abortion and euthanasia and to exhort them to take part in pro-life activities. This paragraph is often drawn from Church documents about pro-life issues, or statements of particular bishops or the Pope.

The third resource is homily hints. Based on the readings of that particular Sunday, these hints show the preacher how to bring out the pro-life dimensions of the readings, and to relate the great Biblical themes of love, life, justice, and mercy to the problems of abortion, euthanasia, and other threats to human life and dignity. The hints are not an entire homily, but rather an illustration of how to make the connections to these issues. Therefore, the preacher can use this tool whether he wants to create an entire homily on these themes, or just make a mention of them in the context of other considerations.

These liturgical resources were all written by Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, based on his experience of preaching about abortion and euthanasia, and training clergy on dealing with these issues since 1993. Fr. Pavone serves as a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. The resources on this application are provided a couple of weeks in advance of the Sunday on which they are based. The full set of resources for all three Sunday cycles, and for Liturgical Feasts that are sometimes celebrated on Sundays, is found at www.priestsforlife.org/liturgy.

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Impressive Progress

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

In 1991, there were over 2,100 abortion mills in the United States. Today, there are 710. In other words, in that time, two-thirds of the killing centers have closed and have not re-opened.

The abortion industry knows that it is losing ground. A key reason for the closing of these mills has been that although the killing they do is permitted by the law, many other things they do are not – things like malpractice, fraud, sexual abuse, tax evasion, and a whole litany of other crimes. In fact, we at Priests for Life have never encountered an abortion mill that follows the law in every respect. Every abortion mill can be closed down just by applying the laws already on the books. Let’s get to work!

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The Response of the Church

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

In response to Planned Parenthood’s intention to open a new killing center in Omaha, the local Archbishop, George Lucas, issued a statement in which he said, “Women and their unborn children deserve better than to suffer the violence of abortion. As a caring community, we can offer them a compassionate alternative. I invite any woman who might be considering abortion to turn first to the loving and supportive care of the pro-life pregnancy help centers.”

The Archbishop also indicated he would attend a prayer vigil at the location of the new mill. This is an example of the Church’s response to this ongoing abortion tragedy: we pray, we show up, we speak up, and we offer alternatives. Let’s pray for our bishops and all clergy, that they may continue to offer this example.

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10 Steps to End Abortion

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

As part of the Freedom Rides for the Unborn, Priests for Life has launched the Ten Steps to End Abortion initiative. This is an effort by which the strategic thinking and planning of hundreds of pro-life leaders will be joined together in a ten step plan that can be followed both by individuals and organizations, churches, and dioceses.

The experience of the pro-life movement has shown what works and what does not work to stop the killing. Now it’s a matter of recruiting and training more people to carry out those things that work.

The Ten Steps to End Abortion project will lead also to a pro-life university online, that will provide training and credits in every form of pro-life activism.

For more info on all these items, visit priests for life dot org.

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Raising Money for Life (Part 1 of 3)

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Like so many other movements, the pro-life movement has to constantly beg for funds to do its work. My colleagues often ask for and appreciate fundraising advice. Based on the significant success that we at Priests for Life have had at fundraising since the mid-90’s, I offer the following bullet points that anyone who seeks to do fundraising in the pro-life arena (or other not-for-profit arenas) should take to heart.

Invest your personal money — If you want to do successful fundraising, do it for a cause you really believe in, and start by investing your personal money. If you really want to succeed, invest every bit of personal money you can in your chosen cause.

The fact is that it takes money to raise money, and if you know what you want to raise money for, then lead by example. Don’t sit around waiting for the person who is going to jump-start your project or organization. Be that person yourself.

When I took over the helm at Priests for Life in 1993, I had no office, no staff, and was handed a check for $3000, representing the total budget of Priests for Life. Now, we have a $12 million annual budget with a staff of 60. We did not employ any magic along the way. When I sought permission from Cardinal O’Connor to do pro-life work full time, I told him not to worry about having to provide a salary for me. I had some money saved up from my ordination and early years of priestly work, and I spent every bit of it jump-starting the efforts of Priests for Life. To this day, I will routinely spend my personal money on Priests for Life business. If I’m going to ask people to be donors – as I do daily – I should be one myself.

Ask and you shall receive. – This foundational fundraising principle is Biblical. And it’s simple. If you want something, you have to ask. Don’t wait for your donors to “discover” your need, and certainly don’t presume that they know your needs or can read your mind. Ask, and ask frequently.

While you are thinking every day about your efforts and the money you need to carry out those efforts, your donors are not thinking of you ever day or even every week. They will donate to the extent that they are asked. You are competing for their attention moment by moment. Seize it by presenting yourself, your work and your needs before them continually.

Asking for donations is like putting a bucket in a river. Money is always flowing, whether you ask for it or not. People are going to buy things and donate to causes. Put your bucket in the river often, and you’ll gain a lot of water. Put it in a little, and you’ll gain a little.

Ultimately, fundraising is an integral part of ministry. It’s something many don’t like, but it’s not something we should be ashamed of or run away from.

“All” Means Everyone

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

The nation’s first Freedom Rides for the unborn were held this summer, under the leadership of Priests for Life and Dr. Alveda King. Most of the civil rights leaders with whom we have spoken understand the connection between the civil rights movement and the pro-life movement, because they understand the common principle involved: the sacredness and equal dignity of every human life, despite differences in the circumstances under which that life is lived.

A few, however, do not understand it, and to them we ask: when civil rights activists declared that all people were equal, exactly which people were they not referring to? When Dr King asserted that nonviolence was the only appropriate response to a problem, exactly which people was he saying would be appropriate victims after all?

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