Christ Himself was an Unexpected Pregnancy

As we enter the second half of Advent, the liturgy focuses more specifically on the Incarnation and birth of Jesus at the first Christmas. We think about Mary’s initial fear and uncertainty in the face of her unexpected pregnancy. Then, in every Church in the world, believers spiritually rush to her side to eagerly await with her the birth of the Savior.

The best way for a parish to celebrate Christmas is to rush physically to the side of those in the community who, like Mary, are uncertain and afraid about their pregnancy. We are to accompany them through their pregnancy with support and encouragement, and help them experience the fact that every birth reflects the joy of the birth of Christ.

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.

Healing the pain of abortion

Rachel’s Vineyard is a retreat program for women and men who have lost a child by abortion. The retreat provides an opportunity to face the wounds of abortion in a safe, affirming environment of prayer and the support of others who have been through the same experience. Through the use of “Living Scriptures,” participants are invited to place themselves into the parables and other Scriptural events, and encounter Jesus who heals them. These retreats, of course, are not meant to substitute for the individual, ongoing counseling that comprises the journey of post-abortion healing. But they are a stepping stone towards making those sessions even more fruitful. Rachel’s Vineyard is the world’s largest ministry for healing after abortion, and is a ministry of Priests for Life. Find out more about it at

Must-have pro-life book: Ending Abortion; Not Just Fighting It is a collection of lifesaving and informative pro-life essays from Fr. Pavone. Click here to order your signed copy today.

The Transfiguration

One day, the Lord Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain, and was transfigured before their eyes. His clothes became as bright as the sun, Moses and Elijah were seen speaking with him about his upcoming passion, and the Father’s voice was heard declaring that he was his Son.
All this was a sign to those apostles that they should not be troubled by the events that would unfold. The betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus were to fulfill the Father’s plan for our salvation.
The Transfiguration is also a sign to us. Circumstances can make us forget that every human life is part of the Father’s plan, and that the glory of God is to be seen in every person, no matter how burdensome, unplanned, or ill that person may be.

Your Reward is Great in Heaven

Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
So many pro-life leaders I know, including myself, have been falsely accused in public of advocating or even doing violence. Pregnancy centers, which compassionately serve parents and their babies every day, have been falsely accused of deceiving the public. Activists who try to change the laws have been falsely accused of opposing democracy.
The litany goes on and on, and proves that pro-life people are living this beatitude. They should rejoice, for their reward in heaven indeed is great. The children, who cannot know how much pro-life people love them, cannot repay them. They will be repaid in the resurrection of the just.

Flipping the Fear about Preaching on Abortion

Early in my work at Priests for Life a woman wrote, “I can’t help but think that if twenty years ago I heard a sermon in my Church against abortion, I would have found the strength to keep my baby instead of killing my baby.”

Since then, countless women, as well as men, have said the same. One day after Mass someone said, “Father, I had an abortion, and when I hear it spoken in Church, it does hurt – but please, keep preaching about it, because I gain great comfort in knowing that as a result of that preaching, someone else in the congregation will be spared having to go through all the pain that abortion itself brings.”

Many priests are afraid to preach about abortion, and many of the laity ask me why. Fear, ultimately, is irrational; it is the abandonment of the help that comes from reason.

Yet one of the most frequent answers priests will give to the question of why they don’t address the issue is, “I don’t want to hurt those in the congregation who have had abortions.”

Priests spend years of prayer and effort to develop the compassionate heart of a Good Shepherd, who tends to the wounds of the flock, applies the healing balm of God’s love and mercy, and never does anything to hurt the flock.

But that should lead to preaching about abortion, not silence about it. The reason? Silence hurts the flock. One reason silence hurts is that it does not interpret itself. The priest may indeed have the best of intentions for keeping silent about abortion, but the woman or man sitting in the congregation and suffering from his/her involvement in abortion does not know those intentions. The fact that nothing is said about abortion may lead such a man or woman to conclude one of three things:

a) Father doesn’t know about the pain I have from my abortion;

b) Father knows my pain, but doesn’t care;

c) Father knows and cares about my pain, but there’s no hope. Nothing can be done to heal it.

The fact, however, is that we do know, we do care, and there is hope and healing. Therefore we speak! We speak about abortion, which is devastating individuals and families more than anything else. We speak about its pain, and we extend the urgent invitation to healing, mercy, forgiveness and peace.

Apostolates of Priests for Life like Rachel’s Vineyard (the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion) and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (whereby those who have had abortions and have found healing speak out about it) can assist the priest to convey effectively the message of healing. Then all the rest that we say about abortion will be better accepted, and more will avoid the pain to begin with.

It’s time to flip the fear of preaching about abortion into a fear of what will happen if we don’t.