Priests for Life broke ground Thursday on a new training facility for the organization and its new accompanying community, the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. The multimillion-dollar building will be located just east of the Bishop DeFalco Retreat Center at 2100 N. Spring St.
On hand for the event were priests, bishops and lay people from all over the country who are involved in the anti-abortion movement. Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presided over the event.
Priests for Life officially established its new community in Amarillo in December 2005 with the approval of the Rev. John Yanta, bishop of Amarillo.
The 28-acre grounds will house a facility with enough room to house 21 acolytes, said Frank Jones, financial advisor for the Diocese of Amarillo.
"The funding comes from donors worldwide who are affiliated with Priests for Life," Yanta said. "No funds are coming from the Diocese of Amarillo."
Western Builders is the general contractor for the project, the first phase of which is slated to take approximately two years to complete.
"We will add more facilities as the project develops," said the Rev. Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life worldwide.
"All of the people here are like allies in the battle to end abortion. Not everybody understands our mission, even people in the church. This project is not a response to Roe vs. Wade or a response to some political decision. It's not something added on top of our faith, it's a response to Jesus," Pavone said.
Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr. and member of the Priests for Life pastoral team, was on hand to show her support for the movement.
"This is a place where young men can come and be trained to carry on the pro-life movement," King said. "The most important part of life is birth."