Fr. Pavone: Nellie Gray was “a tireless warrior for the unborn”

Fr. Frank & Nellie Gray at the 2012 March for Life

Miss Nellie Gray, Founder of the March for Life, has died.“Nellie Gray and the March for Life had a most profound effect on my life,” said Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. In 1976, when he was a senior in high school, Father Pavone went to the March for Life with his mother and grandmother. Although he had been quietly considering the priesthood before that, the March cemented both his vocation and his passion for pro-life issues.

“Every year since 1974, Nellie Gray has mobilized a diverse and energetic army for life,” said Father Pavone, who has attended every march since his first one. “Her own commitment to the cause never wavered. She was a tireless warrior for the unborn and her motto was ‘no exceptions.’ “

After his ordination in 1988, Father Pavone was assigned to a parish in Staten Island, NY. Every year he led a busload of parishioners to the March for Life. He took over as national director of Priests for Life in 1993, and the following year, attending the event in his new capacity, Miss Gray invited him to say the opening prayer at the March for Life Convention that annually precedes the March.

In 2008, the National Pro-Life Religious Council, which Father Pavone serves as president, presented Miss Gray with its Pro-Life Recognition Award. Later that day, Miss Gray tripped and fell on the stage at the opening rally for the March and had to be taken to the hospital with a head injury.

“As a colleague in national pro-life leadership, Nellie was always an inspiration to the rest of us,” Father Pavone said. “Her devotion was on display that same year, 2008, when, despite being in the hospital during the March for Life, she nevertheless was present at all all-day meeting of national leaders the very next morning, with a patch on her head.”

Every year since its founding in 2003, Miss Gray invited the women of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to stand on the rally stage holding signs that said, “I Regret My Abortion,” and she arranged for a larger group of post-abortive men and women from Silent No More to be in the vanguard of the March.

Dee Becker, Nellie, Georgette & Janet

“We are so grateful that Nellie Gray shared our vision of Silent No More, and recognized that the women who have had abortions speak with unquestioned authority about the ways they have been harmed by this choice,” said Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of Silent No More. “Every year more women and men come to march and to share their testimony. Nellie Gray helped make that possible for us.”

Miss Gray is also credited for realizing that African-American pro-life leaders had to become more vocal and visible in the fight for life.

“Nellie Gray knew that abortion took a heavy toll from the black community and she urged us to lend our voices to the fight against this terrible injustice,” said Dr. Alveda King, director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life. “She was a visionary.”

Bryan Kemper, founder of Stand True Ministry and director of Youth Outreach for Priests for Life, said: “My heart is broken by the loss of Nellie Gray, a true pro-life hero and role model. At the same time I celebrate that Nellie is with our Lord who she loved so dearly. I have had the honor of working with Nellie for years and every time I March in DC in January, I know she will be watching over us and praying for us. Nellie Gray, I will miss you dearly.

The 2013 March for Life will mark the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, and the 39th anniversary of the March.

“It was an anniversary that broke Nellie Gray’s heart every year, and every day,” Father Pavone noted. “In January we will march in her memory, in her honor, to save the unborn children to whom she dedicated her life.”

To offer your spiritual bouquet, your promise of prayers and to share your memories of Nellie go to

A Prophetic Call









We don’t see the Democratic Party Platform changing this summer, but that doesn’t mean we should accept it the way it is.

That’s why I’m calling on those who object to its pro-abortion plank to express that objection, loud and clear. I’ll be sending out an email shortly to give people a specific opportunity to do this.

Very much different from the Walking the Halls of Congress – by which we recently pushed legislation that has a very high probability of passing the House – this particular project is meant to be an expression of outrage at what has for too long been the status quo, and an effort to bring the battle to the enemy rather than just playing defense against the enemy bringing the battle to us.

In other words, for many years those entrusted with crafting the Republican party platform – and those who believe in it – have had to fend off attacks and efforts to remove the pro-life plank from that platform. They have had to defend and explain – publicly and privately – why the pro-life plank is there and should remain.

Meanwhile, the Democratic platform’s support for abortion remains unchallenged, and sails by every time with hardly so much as a symbolic protest.

However, surveys have consistently revealed that the majority of the rank and file Democrats are pro-life.

And certainly many outside the Democratic party believe it is a contradiction of the very purpose of government to have a party platform stand for the brutal killing of children.

So then why should the Democratic platform drafters and party loyalists not be forced to defend the pro-abortion plank and defend and explain why it is there and why they think it should remain?

This project seeks to harness the objection many have to the plank, and give that objection a voice. It seeks to call out to those who are once again going to let this egregious plank just sail on through to approval, and to say to them that many of the American people notice what they are doing and don’t go along with it.

In voicing this objection, these Americans also seek to educate their fellow citizens to the very existence of the pro-abortion plank.  Many, of course, are loyal to the party because they think it’s the party of their grandparents, not realizing the changes it has undergone, particularly its support for abortion.

Therefore the action item will be to voice this protest to those who are responsible for drafting the platform. In voicing this objection, we should also point to the graphic images of abortion. We make these images available at which includes diagrams of the abortion procedure. We challenge those who are content to keep support for abortion in the platform to tell us what they mean by the word. Are the gruesome photos, and the disturbing diagrams, what they mean by the word “abortion?” And if not, what do they mean instead?

Today’s Pro-Life Reflection









This reflection is taken from my book Pro-Life Reflections for Every Day, which is available for purchase at:

“Your light must shine so that it can be seen by others” (Matthew 5:16)

Reflection: A preacher once wrote that there is no such thing as secret discipleship. Either the discipleship will destroy the secrecy, or the secrecy will destroy the discipleship. That’s why being pro-life cannot just be a personal, private conviction. If it’s in our heart, it needs to be on our lips and in our actions.

Prayer: Praise to you, Lord God, for you open my mouth in worship and in witness; you reveal my faith through my actions. May I never try to be a secret disciple, but rather be proud to be known as one of yours. Amen.

A Source of Fresh Inspiration

As we welcome young people into pro-life efforts, we should let ourselves be challenged by them. They will remind us of things that we have perhaps forgotten, and will even be able to teach us a new way of activism, and even a new way of thinking.

When confronting fundamental moral issues, our youth think in straight lines. Unaccustomed to layers of complication, young people can ask questions with a simple and direct clarity. “If children are being killed down the street, let’s go there and save them.” “If politicians support the killing, let’s tell people not to vote for them.” “If pastors are silent, let’s tell them to speak!” While the young always need to be open to learn from those with more experience, they also need to be listened to.

“How to Keep the Fire Burning” – a new E-booklet from Priests for Life

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Fighting for the right to life is the most important work a person can engage in, but it can be difficult to maintain passion and commitment when the culture of death seems so pervasive.

Father Frank shares his own strategies for maintaining that passion in a new e-booklet, “How to Keep the Fire Burning.” The booklet is the first in a series that will be called “Toolkit for the Pro-life Soul.” In this series, Fr. Frank will share his personal secrets on how to engage the pro-life battle.

Father Pavone, who has been engaged full-time in the battle against abortion for 20 years, turns his anger at the slaughter of thousands of innocents every day into energy for battle.

“Anger is energy,” Father Pavone writes. “If you turn it in on yourself, it becomes depression. If you let it out in an uncontrolled way, it becomes destructive. Instead, you must channel it, harness it, under God’s guidance, and direct it towards your work for life. The guidance of God in channeling your anger will assure that the activity it leads to is always non-violent and a life-giving blessing to others.”

Father Pavone also gives advice on how to draw energy from others engaged in the battle, how to use the outrageous claims and tactics of the pro-aborts to turn the tables and how to learn from the example of others throughout history who have dedicated themselves to fighting grave injustice.

“Read about the struggles and triumphs of St. Paul in the Acts of the Apostles. Read about William Wilberforce and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and numerous others. Read not only their words, but study their actions and their strategies and the movements they led. You will be encouraged and energized.”

“How to Keep the Fires Burning” is designed as a helpful tool that people waging the battle for life can turn to whenever they need encouragement or advice.

The e-booklet can be downloaded at a small fee on our online store. Also, for a limited time, those who connect with us on Facebook can download it free of charge. See here for more information.

Fr. Frank: After 40 Years of Roe, It’s Time to Wake Up

Father Pavone announced today that pro-life leaders and groups are gearing up for the 40th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, which will be January 22, 2013.

“I can assure you that you will see an intensification of pro-life activity at every level, and a greater unity among the diverse pro-life organizations,” Father Pavone said. “Moreover, this anniversary – which will be observed both as we lead up to January, and also throughout 2013 — will be marked by a significant recruitment of pro-life activists across the nation.”

In the coming weeks, various initiatives and events to mark the 40th anniversary will be planned, and special opportunities announced.

“One of the significant preparations for this major commemoration will be a successful election season in November. By successful, I mean that people will elect public servants who know the difference between serving the public and killing the public. Supporters of abortion have no place in public office, and it’s time to say so in the pulpits and in the voting booths,” Father Pavone stated. “At the end of this month, we have the first of three National Voter Registration Sundays designated for 2012 by the organizations that comprise the Vote Pro-life Coalition. Pentecost Sunday (May 27) reminds us of the new energy and courage that the Holy Spirit gave the Apostles to go out and change the world. That same Spirit is among us today, and it’s time to respond.”

See, and coming soon for the 40th anniversary activities:

Five Years Ago Today


On April 18, 2007, the United States Supreme Court upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion.  In that decision, Gonzales v Carhart, the court described another abortion procedure that remains legal throughout America.  It is called the D and E procedure.

Here are the exact words of the Supreme Court:

“The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix…, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix.  The friction causes the fetus to tear apart.  For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman.  The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed.”

Let us continue to work to raise awareness about this gruesome procedure.

Father Pavone invites all to join Novena in memory of Terri Schiavo

Seventh Anniversary of her death will be March 31

March 31 will mark seven years since Terri Schindler Schiavo died after being deliberately dehydrated, with the consent of a Florida court. The International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo, and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters (“Terri’s Day”) was established in 2007 by the Schindler family and Priests for Life, and is observed each year.

As in previous years, Father Frank asks those who celebrate the sanctity of life to join him in a Novena currently underway that will conclude on Terri’s Day. The “Prayer in Remembrance of Terri Schiavo” can be found in English and Spanish at

“As I said when I preached at Terri’s funeral Mass, the tragedy of what happened to her is meant to bring us all together, galvanized to help all the other Terris of the world,” Father Pavone said. “Let us not miss this opportunity to educate and inspire one another, and let’s all continue to support Terri’s family and the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network.”

Father Pavone noted that there is a new urgency for prayer and pro-life activism this year.

“As certain aspects of health care law pose more and more of a threat to human life, we have to be more vigilant than ever to protect the Terris of today and tomorrow,” he said.

The annual National Mass for Terri’s Day at the Ave Maria Oratory at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida, will take place at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 30. This year, Fr. Denis Wilde, OSA, Associate Director of Priests for Life, will deliver the homily.

“Terri’s Day” was established to foster education, prayer, and activism to counter discrimination against the disabled. We urge Churches, schools, organizations, families, and individuals to observe this day. Suggested prayers and activities are at

Accommodation Isn’t An Option

The Pope and bishops, in their writings about abortion, have told us that we are not to “accommodate ourselves” to laws permitting abortion.

This means much more than simply not having or participating in an abortion. It means that we don’t let anything keep us from loving and defending the unborn. In other words, if the law protects the act of killing these babies, we are seen as “interfering” if we speak up for them and try to save them. We are made to feel out of place.

If we let that stop us, we have accommodated to the abortion law.

Instead, we are to look those laws in the face, say they have no authority, and speak up to save the children.

Let Us Renew Our Resolve

Lent is a time to pray for the catechumens of the Church, that is, those who are preparing to be baptized at Easter. They are preparing to accept the life of the Risen Christ into their souls and bodies. They are preparing to leave their sins in the tomb and rise to newness of life. When they are baptized at the Easter vigil, the rest of us will renew the vows of our baptism. In these vows, we reject the empty promises of the devil. One of those empty promises is abortion. How easily people are deceived that the choice of death somehow solves a problem. Even more deceptive is the idea that another person’s abortion, though wrong, is none of our business. But whenever someone’s choice destroys someone else’s life, that’s everyone’s business. Let’s renew our resolve to speak up for the children.