Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category

We must open our eyes to see His love

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011


In John’s Gospel, we read the story of the man born blind. He receives his sight, and then gets the spiritual eyesight to know that Jesus is Lord. The Pharisees, instead, insist on remaining blind about Jesus, even though the evidence of his power is staring them in the face.
So it is today with those who support abortion. In spite of clear and present evidence about who this child is, and how violent abortion is, some refuse to see. That is why, along with presenting the evidence, we pray that they may have open hearts to receive that evidence.
The same openness of heart that enables one to believe in Jesus enables one to welcome the truth about the unborn child. But if we miss who the child is, we’ve really missed Jesus too.

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Baby Joseph: A Life Worth Living

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

I learned with sadness tonight of the passing of Baby Joseph Maraachli, the boy from Canada who, earlier this year, made international headlines as his family fought to give him the basic care he needed in order to breathe. I extend my condolences and prayers to his family.

This young boy and his parents fulfilled a special mission from God. Amidst a Culture of Death where despair leads us to dispose of the vulnerable, they upheld a Culture of Life where hope leads us to welcome and care for the vulnerable.

From my first conversation with Baby Joseph’s parents, they expressed to me their trust in God. They had no demands of Him regarding how long their son would live. They just wanted to fulfill their calling to love their child unconditionally and to protect him from those who considered his life worthless.

And they fulfilled that calling. After encountering, to their astonishment, the unwillingness of the Canadian medical and legal establishment to give their son a simple tracheotomy, they turned to Priests for Life, and we arranged for the child to receive that treatment at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in Saint Louis. I’ll never forget the night I flew in the medical jet to pick up the baby and his dad. (Mom and their older child joined us shortly thereafter.) It was the middle of the night. It was cold, and yet new hope and joy were born on that Kalitta MedFlight. Joseph’s Dad Moe was literally pinching himself, saying he could hardly believe that his son was now free from the prison of a hospital where he had been, and able to receive a new evaluation and care.

And what a joy it was, after those weeks in Saint Louis, to celebrate Holy Thursday and, on that day, to see Joseph go home with his parents, breathing on his own without tubes or machines. Nobody denied that he had a serious, degenerative neurological condition, and nobody was unwilling to accept professional medical judgement. What we refused to accept, however, was the arrogance of medical and legal professionals who presumed to judge the value of his life, and to say he wasn’t worth treating. Yes, there is such a thing as a worthless treatment, but there is never such a thing as a worthless life.

That’s the line that needs to be drawn in the sand again and again. That’s the prophetic witness that needs to thunder from our pulpits and be lobbied in the halls of government.

I praise God tonight for the tens of thousands who stood with Priests for Life and other prolife groups to save Baby Joseph. We remain convinced that the value of life is not measured in months or years, but rather reflected in the love we share moment by moment. We all loved Joseph, because God entrusts us to the care of each other. In that conviction we will continue to counteract the culture of death and restore protection and equality to all, born and unborn.

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Eliminating the “Need” for Abortion

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

We sometimes hear from those on the other side of the pro-life battle that they want to work together with us to “reduce the need for abortion.” It is part of our pro-life mission to reduce the numbers of abortions, and in fact our goal is not just to reduce but to end it. We have to start by making it clear that there is no need for abortion in the first place. No abortion is necessary, neither medically, nor morally. Women get abortions not because of freedom of choice, but because they feel they have no freedom and no choice. Yet when the People of God provide better choices, the way is clear to help both mother and child. Yes, we will reduce abortions, but let’s never imply there is a need for abortion.

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Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Friday, August 5th, 2011


In a few days we will celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like every Feast, it is a celebration of Jesus Christ. This feast shows us that because of her unique role as his mother, Mary received from Jesus a full share, body and soul, in his victory over death. The feast is a reminder that in Christ, we all will share resurrection of the body.
Mary has it now, because in the human family, which God decided to join, there can be no closer bond than mother and child. They belong together; their destinies are intertwined.
That is one of the central messages of the pro-life movement. To love and care for a mother necessarily means protecting, loving, and caring for her child. Mothers can never benefit from the destruction of their children.

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The Transfiguration

Thursday, August 4th, 2011


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.

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Largest ever Rachel’s Vineyard conference opened yesterday in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

MALVERN, PA – “The Biblical Concept of Healing” was the topic of the keynote speech yesterday morning as the 2011 Rachel’s Vineyard Leadership Retreat got underway at the Malvern Retreat Center. This year’s full-to-capacity retreat, with more than 250 participants attending from all over the world, is the largest ever.

“The Rachel’s Vineyard model for healing after abortion is highly regarded everywhere, including the Vatican,” said Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life and the morning’s keynote speaker. Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry of Priests for Life. Father Pavone noted that Dr. Theresa Burke and Kevin Burke, co-founders of Rachel’s Vineyard, were invited to address the Pontifical Academy for Life this past February.

The Priests for Life pastoral team is attending the weeklong conference, which this year also offers special resources and workshops for regional coordinators of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Campaign co-founders Janet Morana and Georgette Forney will offer classes on public speaking, media and healing workshops. The campaign is for those who have been through post-abortion healing programs and have decided to speak out about their abortion experiences.

Among the highlights of the day’s gathering was a talk by Dr. Burke on “Understanding Repeat Abortions,” and a workshop led by Father Pavone and Mrs. Morana titled “Do Post-Abortion Healing and Pro-Life Activism Mix?”

Rachel’s Vineyard began in 1994 as a unique support group model for counselors treating women who were grieving the loss of their aborted children. Rachel’s Vineyard quickly became a grassroots national outreach. From 18 retreats in 1999, the ministry now offers 700 retreats annually, in 47 states and 25 countries, with many new sites in development.

Several Bishops have attended weekend retreats themselves. Attending this week’s leadership conference is Bishop David Choby of the Diocese of Nashville.

“With this year’s theme, Disciples of Love, Witnesses of Hope, we are sure all conference attendees will be inspired with new ideas, information, and strategies to assist and rejuvenate them in their vocation to do God’s work of healing in post-abortive women and men and building a culture of life,” Dr. Burke said.

Father Benedict Groeschel, founder of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, has had high praise for Rachel’s Vineyard. “I cannot think of another work of this kind so well done. A most difficult and painful human problem is engaged with faith, psychological insight and trust.”

Visit www.rachelsvineyard.org to learn more about the ministry and to view the conference schedule.

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

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Your Reward is Great in Heaven

Monday, July 18th, 2011

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.

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Blessed Are the Pure of Heart

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. This beatitude impels us to ask ourselves what our deepest longings and desires are, what motivates our choices, and how consistently we want to do what is right. The pure of heart seek to please God before they please themselves, even at the cost of great sacrifice.
Having a pure heart protects us from the temptations of the culture of death. Meeting the needs of a vulnerable child in the womb requires a new and selfless center of gravity. We put the child first and our own plans and conveniences last.

And when we speak up for that child, we stop worrying about the criticism we might receive. The pure of heart don’t care about that. They only care about doing what’s right.

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Fr. Pavone on Kevorkian: “We must bear one another’s burdens”

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Father Pavone issued the following statement today about the death of Dr. Jack Kevorkian:

“All of us at Priests for Life pray for the soul of Jack Kevorkian, as we do for all who have died, and we renew our commitment to proclaim that life is better than death. Every life has burdens. When we respond to the call to bear one another’s burdens, then we close the door to despair. Those who promote the so-called ‘right to die’ are heralds of despair. We, on the other hand, are heralds of hope.

“And as for the ‘right to die,’ I say, Don’t worry – you won’t miss out on it.”

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

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Steven Tyler’s Former Girlfriend Tells the Story of their Abortion

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Aerosmith singer and “American Idol” judge Steven Tyler has written and spoken about the son he lost to abortion in the 1970s. The baby’s mother was Julia Holcomb, a young woman who was 16 years old when she became Tyler’s legal ward and went to live with him in Boston.

After Kevin Burke, full-time pastoral associate of Priests for Life and co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, wrote about Tyler’s abortion experience in a piece published May 4th in National Review Online, Julia contacted Burke to say that for years, she has been looking for a way to respond to the many published accounts of their relationship, most recently in Tyler’s autobiography, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? The compassion with which Burke wrote about Tyler as a post-abortive father prompted her to entrust her own story to his care.

On May 24th, in an essay published on LifeSiteNews.com, the former Julia Holcomb gives a behind-the-scenes look at life with a rock legend, including a harrowing account of a near-fatal apartment fire and the abortion.

“My National Review article on post-abortive father Steven Tyler and his high visibility as an Idol judge, with a new autobiography and song just released, provide a providential opportunity for Julia to share her experience of the dramatic events that took place during her three-year, live-in relationship with Tyler,” Burke said. “This is an intense and at times frightening and disturbing journey…but in the end it is an inspirational story of hope and healing. Julia is a woman of great courage and faith and it has truly been a blessing and a privilege to be entrusted with her story.”

Father Frank Pavone said, “Julia’s story of redemption and the incredible turnaround she has seen in her life should serve as a powerful witness to women who are still struggling with their own abortions.”

“Forgiveness and healing are available for all women and men who have had their children aborted, for every abortionist, for every abortion clinic worker,” Father Pavone said. “Julia’s story should serve as an invitation for each one of them to face the truth about abortion, and to seek healing.”

Read Julia’s incredible story at:

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/the-light-of-the-world-the-steve-tyler-and-julia-holcomb-story

Burke’s original story on Steven Tyler can be found at:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/266316/post-abortion-trauma-kevin-burke

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