Join Us in Remembering Terri Schiavo

Tomorrow Priests for Life will launch a prayer novena in remembrance of Terri Schiavo, the brain-injured woman who was killed in Florida in 2005 by being deprived of all food and water. We invite you to join this novena by visiting our web site and downloading the special prayer we have prepared. The prayer reminds us that life is always a good, even when beset by disability, and that it is precisely in its vulnerability that life shows forth the glory of God.

The novena concludes on March 31, the date of Terri’s death, and a day that has been designated as the International Day of Remembrance of Terri Schiavo and all the Vulnerable. Please join our novena and invite your parish, school, pro-life group and family to participate as well.

October Baby

I don’t recommend many movies, but on Friday, March 23, one that you really should see is coming into theaters nationwide. It’s called October Baby, and it deals in a masterful way with a difficult topic, abortion.

Abortion is not and should not be an abstract debate. When I’m asked how the pro-life battle has evolved over the decades that I’ve been in leadership in the movement, I often respond that the ‘issue’ of abortion has gotten more and more of a face. This is both desirable and inevitable.

The face of abortion is marked by both beauty and pain, hope and despair, tears and the joy of knowing the Savior.

The face of abortion is revealed in the photos of the babies — the primary victims — and in the faces and voices of our Silent No More Awareness Campaign, which mobilizes women and men who have lost children to abortion and speak out about their pain and forgiveness.

And the face of abortion is increasingly revealed by its survivors, not only because more and more of them speak out, but also because filmmakers are using their talents to bring these faces before millions.

This Friday, that will happen again.

The movie October Baby is a fabulous, moving, powerful encounter with the reality of abortion survivors, and the pain and healing they experience. It is the story of a beautiful young woman who, on finding out she was adopted after her biological mother’s attempt to abort her failed, goes on a journey in search of that mother. In the process, she journeys just as much into her own soul, to find the grace to do what she doesn’t think she has the power to do.

Research has uncovered the wounds of those who have abortions, as well as the wounds abortion inflicts on marriages and families. And among the most fascinating research, still not as widely known as it should be, is that on abortion survivors. October Baby makes use of some of this research, done primarily by my friend and colleague Dr. Philip Ney, Canadian psychiatrist. Dr. Ney identifies ten different categories of “abortion survivors,” one of which, as with the central character of October Baby, is the survivor who is actually a victim of the abortion procedure but is not killed by it.

But that doesn’t mean that something doesn’t die.

Abortion survivors feel guilty and anxious about living, confused about their identity, and unsure of their psychological footing in a world where love, parenthood, and even God seem to have betrayed them.

These dynamics take on another dimension when the survivor, as in October Baby, is a twin survivor, and lives with the knowledge that her companion in the womb was killed in an attempt that was aimed also at her.

To love, educate, and serve our youth, we need to understand abortion survivors better. October Baby is an important step toward that goal, and Priests for Life is proud to co-sponsor its promotion. Don’t miss it!

Give God Permission

When the Lord gave the command to take away the stone so that He could call Lazarus to walk out of his own grave, Lazarus’ sister Martha expressed a concern: “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Notice how we worry about small things when God is about to do great things. He works through us to end abortion, but we worry that we will lose friends; pastors worry that they will anger parishioners; politicians worry that they will lose votes; we all worry that there will be a stench. It’s time to stop limiting the power of God. As Mother Teresa said, let’s give God permission, so that He can work mightily through us to end abortion and bring about a Culture of Life.

When You Reflect on the Passion

The Passion of Christ was far more horrible than most of our crucifixes portray. As we reflect on how much He suffered, we also reflect on why.

He suffered for the sake of human life. Christ Jesus came to rescue the human life He had created, to snatch it from the kingdom of death and bring it into His kingdom of life.

And He includes every human being of every age.

I ask you to remember this Lent that Jesus endured His Passion for every unborn child in the womb. He endured every pain that the unborn might be saved as well as the born.

When you pray the Stations of the Cross or the sorrowful mysteries, or watch the movie of His Passion, ask for the grace to inconvenience yourself a little more for the unborn.

Come to Me, All Who are Weary

Jesus said, ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-burdened, and I will give you rest.’ The burden Jesus is talking about is not just that you have bills to pay, tasks to accomplish, relationships to maintain, or a busy schedule to keep.

He is speaking about the burden we feel when we see injustice all around us; the burden we experience when the rights of our brothers and sisters are trampled down and innocent blood is shed. He is speaking of the labor we engage in to correct these injustices and build a Culture of Life.

Blessed are those who mourn — who mourn over evils like abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia.

Indeed, we shall all be comforted, for the Lord will bring justice to the earth.

Every Person Has a Name

A pregnant mother is often asked if she has “picked out a name yet.” In the Culture of Life, every person has a name. Delaying the practice of naming until birth only reinforces the idea that we don’t have a person there until birth. A name should be chosen and used as soon as one discovers she is pregnant. Until the child’s gender is known, two names can be chosen — one for a boy and one for a girl. The key is the timing of the decision. The names should be chosen as soon as the pregnancy is discovered, or even before that. As soon as the gender is known, one of the two becomes definitive. Every person has a name, and that includes the unborn.

Please take a moment to check out my Birthday Wish on behalf of the cause Pray to End Abortion.

Priests for Life Youth Outreach Director to Host March for Life Youth Rally

Bryan Kemper, Youth Outreach Director for Priests for Life and founder of Stand True Ministry, will be the host and keynote speaker for the first-ever Youth Rally organized by the March for Life.

The rally will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21 in the Regency Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 400 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, D.C. Visit marchforlife.org/content/view/84 for more information.

“As a father, youth leader and national pro-life leader, I believe we must give young people the tools to stand up for their faith and convictions,” said Kemper. “We understand the importance of raising up a generation of pro-life youth; to educate, activate and equip them in this battle to build a culture of life. We are excited to partner with the March for Life on the first annual March for Life Youth Rally as we engage and empower young people to fight to end child killing in America.”

Father Pavone commented, “It was the March for Life that ignited my commitment to the pro-life cause. I know this rally will plant the same seeds in the hearts of many new activists.”

Kemper, 44, the father of six children with a seventh on the way, noted that an impromptu rally last year drew more than 300 young people. He expects attendance to triple for Saturday’s rally.

Also speaking from Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries will be: Julia Holcomb, a spokeswoman for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign who in 1975 had a relationship with the rock star Steven Tyler that ended after they aborted their son; Janet Morana, co-founder of Silent No More and executive director of Priests for Life; Matt and Kelly Clinger, spokespersons for Silent No More, and Father Denis Wilde, associate director of Priests for Life.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit priestsforlife.org.

Remembering the Holy Innocents

This Feast of the Holy Innocents leads Christians to reflect on the tragedy of abortion, and today leads many to pray in front of abortion facilities, where innocent blood is shed. Just as Christmas should be celebrated every day in our hearts, so the Feast of the Holy Innocents should be celebrated every day. Our hearts should be broken as the bodies of these babies are broken, and the souls of those who kill them are weighed down with the burden of guilt and despair. Yet we are the people of Life, and we bring into this world the hope that comes from the birth of Christ and from the birth of every baby. We bring the hope of forgiveness and the determination to work daily for an end to the modern-day slaughter of the innocents.

Please take a moment to check out my Holiday Wish on behalf of the cause Pray to End Abortion.

Truly He Taught Us to Love One Another

The Christmas song “O Holy Night” includes the following words: “Truly he taught us to love one another. His law is love, and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother, and in his name all oppression shall cease.” This is a reminder that as we celebrate Christmas, we renew our commitment to ending all oppression, particularly of those who are most oppressed, the children living before birth within their mothers; children who have been deprived of legal protection, and are oppressed by the mythology of choice. In the name of the newborn Christ, the oppression of our unborn children will cease. May Christmas give us the strength to be silent no more, and more active than ever in the pro-life cause.

Please take a moment to check out my Holiday Wish on behalf of the cause Pray to End Abortion.

Grown Up Christmas List

One of the Christmas songs playing on the radio this time of year is called “Grown Up Christmas List.” The singer says that the list is not for herself, but for a world in need. This list includes, “no more lives torn apart, that wars may never start…that right would always win.”

Christmas is a time for wishing for good things, because we know that God has given us His Son — and if He has gone that far, as St. Paul declares, how will He not give us everything else besides?

Let us increase our longing, then, that every life may be secure, safe from the violence of abortion and euthanasia, and from the ravages of poverty, crime, and war. Let us write our Christmas list with confidence.

Great tool for planning your pro-life activities: The 2012 Priests for Life calendar is a great way to keep pro-life front and center in your home throughout the year. Click here to order yours today.