Many of you pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Did you know that this prayer was given to St. Faustina especially because of the sin of abortion? God revealed to her that because of this evil, the world needs His mercy more than ever. He even permitted St. Faustina to suffer special pains, representing the pain of abortion. On Divine Mercy Sunday this weekend, please pray for the many people who seek forgiveness from abortion by coming to Rachel’s Vineyard, which operates under the umbrella of Priests for Life and is the largest ministry in the world for healing after abortion. Not only do we provide retreats, but we also enable people to make the long journey of healing through various forms of individual counseling. May God’s mercy come to all.
When the women who had gone to anoint Jesus’ body on the first Easter morning returned to the Apostles with the news that they had seen the Risen Lord, the Apostles refused to believe it. The story seemed like nonsense to them. That night, when Jesus appeared to them, He chided them for their stubborn refusal to believe.
The Apostles clearly were not engaged in wishful thinking, or a desire to make up the Resurrection story. If they were, then they would readily have used the women’s story as a starting point.
In reality, they came to believe because they saw and touched the Risen Lord. This gives us confidence. Death has been conquered, and therefore we can fight the culture of death, knowing that the victory of life is more than wishful thinking.
When Jesus rose from the dead, an angel descended from heaven, rolled the stone away, and sat on it. This was not so that Jesus could get out, but so that His followers could see that the tomb was empty.
The angel’s actions also mean that we will walk out of our graves. The stone sealed human beings in the grave, but after rolling it away, the angel sat on the stone, symbolizing that death is conquered and cannot any longer hold humanity captive to the grave. Our destiny is now the heights of heaven.
That’s what God thinks of human life, and that’s why we work to end abortion, euthanasia, and every other form of violence. Ultimately, abortion is a denial of Christ’s resurrection, but our Easter faith compels us to extend the victory of life.
The Easter Season is a celebration of life, and a time to renew our confidence in the ultimate victory of the forces of life against the culture of death. Therefore, Priests for Life has composed a special Easter prayer for life that we invite you to say each day of this holy season. Just go to priestsforlife.org and download the Easter Prayer for Life. The prayer reminds us that the victory of Christ, the Author of Life, is the source from which we draw strength to fight evils like abortion.
So visit priestsforlife.org, print out the Easter prayer for life, and invite your family, pro-life group, school and parish to join us in praying it. Let us rejoice throughout this Resurrection season that death can never have the last word in the human story.
Holy Thursday, a day sacred to all Christians, is the day on which Jesus gave us the Eucharist, the Priesthood, and the commandment of charity. All are symbolized by His washing the feet of His disciples. He told us on this sacred night that we are to wash each other’s feet. We are to do what is unpleasant in order to serve one another; we are to get ourselves dirty in order to love one another.
Tonight, as we all join in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, let us recommit ourselves to loving and serving the least among us, the smallest and most vulnerable, namely, the unborn children. Let us wash their feet by speaking up for them and working to restore the protection of their lives.
Child, free from tubes and machines, is able to return home with family.
New York, NY — Baby Joseph Maraachli, the Canadian child whom Priests for Life brought to the United States for medical treatment, is going back home. His tracheotomy and subsequent medical care have made it possible for him to breathe on his own, without the assistance of machines. Fr. Pavone issued the following statement:
“Our mission to save Baby Joseph and help his family was never based on any prediction of the future, but rather on the value of his life here and now.
Our critics, on the other hand, looking into the crystal ball that ‘right to die’ advocates seem to always think they have, claimed our intervention was futile because Joseph would only end up having a machine do his breathing for him.
“We don’t have to answer their criticism; Joseph is doing that for us, with every breath he takes. He has gained benefit from his tracheotomy, is breathing on his own, and is going home to live with his parents, who will love and care for him for as much time as God gives them together.
“Baby Joseph’s victory over the culture of death is especially powerful now, as we prepare for Easter, a time when Christians everywhere celebrate Jesus’ victory over death.
“I want to commend the fine, caring staff at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center for their professional excellence and their faith. Likewise I want to thank the team at Kalitta MedFlight in Michigan, who donated the air ambulance and crew to fly Baby Joseph from Ontario to St. Louis last month, and who are flying him home today. Thanks also to the many groups and countless individuals who stepped forward, spoke up, donated, and helped to intervene for this child.
“Priests for Life is happy and humbled to have played a small part in making this joyous day possible. We ask everyone to join us as we continue to pray for Baby Joseph and his family.”
Priests for Life is covering Baby Joseph’s medical expenses, and has set up a fund for that purpose. Go to BabyJosephCentral.com to donate and to stay updated on related stories.
Father Pavone was interviewed this morning on Fox News as Baby Joseph Maraachli was flown home to Canada.
The 15-month-old was transferred from a hospital in London, Ontario, last month because doctors there ruled that to continue to treat his neurological disease was futile, and courts agreed. Plans were in the works to disconnect the breathing tube that was helping him breathe, and to let him die.
Just over a month later, the boy has received the tracheotomy his parents sought and is breathing on his own.
“We knew when he was in Canada…he was mostly breathing on his own,” Father Pavone told Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson this morning. He said the tracheotomy that ultimately was performed at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis “was not extraordinary treatment,’ and had “a high probability of success.”
Father Pavone, who has remained in close contact with Baby Joseph’s parents, Moe and Sana Maraachli, said the parents are excited to be bringing the baby home.
“This is all they wanted,” he said, “to be able to bring him home and care for him for as much time as God gives them together.”
Father Pavone said the family’s tenacity should help empower other families to battle medical bureaucracies, and should encourage pro-life efforts on every front.
“This case should help families to stand up and fight hard,” he said. To pro-lifers, he said, “stay engaged in the pro-life effort because we have more victories to win.”
Baby Joseph, the child of a Muslim father and Catholic mother, was baptized Catholic last month. His transfer home took place on Holy Thursday, just three days before Christians celebrate Jesus’ victory over death.
“Today’s outcome is better than expected,’ Father Pavone said. “What a great way to celebrate Easter.”
Joseph Maraachli and his family flew back to Canada on Thursday, April 21, after the infant with a progressive neurological disease received a tracheotomy on March 21st at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, MO.
Joseph responded well to the tracheotomy, a procedure that provides him with increased mobility and comfort while providing a stable, secure airway. The tracheotomy also keeps his lower airway free from secretions and protects his lungs from inhaled saliva or other material that could cause aspiration pneumonia.
The tracheotomy, which creates an opening into Joseph’s windpipe through an incision in his neck, was a success, says Dr. Robert Wilmott, Chief of Pediatrics for SSM Cardinal Glennon and Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
“Joseph has been breathing on his own, without the aid of a mechanical ventilator, for more than a week,” Wilmott said. “By providing him with this common palliative procedure, we’ve given Joseph the chance to go home and be with his family after spending so much of his young life in the hospital.”
Joseph, his parents and 7-year-old brother spent more than a month in St. Louis. The family was ready to return to Canada but will always cherish memories of the people they met while in St. Louis, said Moe Maraachli, Joseph’s father.
“So many people from the United States and Canada and all around the world have reached out, sent letters and called my family to let us know they were praying for us and thinking about us,” Moe Maraachli said. “This has really helped our family through this hard time, to know there is so much kindness in the world.
“We are so grateful for the amazing care and compassion we have received from the doctors, nurses and staff of Cardinal Glennon. Our family also wants to thank the team at Windsor Regional Hospital for reaching out to our family and Dr. Wilmott and making the transfer back home a reality.”
Doctors initially expected to transition Joseph to a local rehabilitation hospital, but he responded so well to the tracheotomy that he was discharged directly home to Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Joseph will transition home with the assistance of Windsor Regional Hospital in Ontario.
“I want to commend the Windsor Regional Hospital team for reaching out to the Maraachli family in early March to start planning for the arrival of Joseph back to Windsor,” stated David Musyj, President and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital.
“The Maraachli family, Dr. Wilmott and his team at the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center have been very helpful in keeping Windsor Regional Hospital up to date on Joseph’s clinical condition and coordinating the clinical needs, wishes and plans for Joseph’s return home.”
Both SSM Cardinal Glennon and Windsor Regional Hospital continue to send prayers and positive thoughts to the Maraachli family in the next phase of their journey.
New York, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, who traveled with Baby Joseph from Canada to St. Louis last month, issued this statement this morning:
“Baby Joseph’s journey, from the prison of the Canadian hospital to the faith-filled treatment he received in St. Louis, has now brought him to the safety and comfort of his own home, with his loving parents and older brother, in Windsor, Ontario.
“There is no ‘life support’ or ventilator needed for Baby Joseph. From a medical perspective, we did not have any pre-conceived outcome in our mind, nor do we know how long his life will be. What we do know is that there are several key lessons to draw from this story:
a) Doctors do not always know best. Day by day, situations turn out better than many doctors predict. The desires of the patient and the family need to be honored above any kind of medical dictatorships. Some were saying that nothing should be done for Baby Joseph, because he would be attached to machines for the rest of his life, but today, he is breathing on his own.
b) Families need to fight to care for their loved ones. Moe Maraachli and his wife Sana are strong in their faith and in their love for their children. They did not let the death of a previous child bring them to despair about this one. Rather, they fought hard for Joseph to get the care that has now helped him.
c) The meaning and value of life does not come from medical tribunals or courts, and it is not measured in years, months, or days. It is measured by giving and receiving love, first from God and then from each other.
d) When people band together for the cause of life, victories can be won. So many people sent e-mails, prayed, and are helping pay for Baby Joseph’s care (see BabyJosephCentral.com). We need to stay engaged in the pro-life cause, because there are many more victories to win.
“We thank everyone who has helped and will continue to help with this case and others like it. As Moe Maraachli has said, we did not do this only for Baby Joseph, but for all the other Baby Josephs to come.”
To assist in the payment of Baby Joseph’s medical care, and to stay updated on this story, visit: babyjosephcentral.com
Wednesday of Holy Week has traditionally been known as “Spy Wednesday,” because the Gospel passage of today says that Judas “kept looking for an opportunity to betray” Jesus.
What a sad commentary this is about how we can abuse our freedom of choice. The door of opportunity opens both ways. Every moment provides opportunities for growing closer to God or for betraying Him. Some are always spying for the chance to do the cowardly thing.
We are called, however, to spy for the opportunity to do heroic things. We are called to be on the lookout at all times for opportunities to proclaim the Gospel of Life, and to defend the sanctity of life.
May the sin of Judas keep us mindful of our weakness and determined to be faithful.