Yesterday, was bone-chillingly cold; the day after the April snowfall, I shivered as I stood holding my pro life sign on Court Street in Brooklyn. This was the 2nd of 3 Brooklyn locations selected for the Priests for Life "Face the Truth" tour. Priests for Life designed this 10-day tour to convey the truth about the horror of abortion to the five boroughs of New York City through the use of graphic images. On this, the eighth day of the tour, Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said that the Face the Truth Tour had not enjoyed a good day of weather yet. "Why here?" I thought to myself. "There must be plenty of busy streets in Brooklyn that don't have this bitter wind. My hands are going to fall off. Why didn't you wear long-Johns?" I conversed with myself. I was being a wimp!
It was the lunch hour and people were bustling in the streets, many of them saw our signs. We were standing about 15 feet apart, displaying the 4 different styles of signs: (1) "lst Trimester ABORTION", showing the results of a lst trimester abortion; (2) "Planned Parenthood ABORTS BABIES", with a remarkable lst trimester abortion in which the child's face is intact and so clear, (3) "Life At 8 Weeks" showing what unborn child looks like at 8 weeks gestation; (4) "ADOPTION: The loving option". A woman stopped and said angrily, "Why don't you end the war in Iraq?" (I'm heading out tomorrow to Iraq to take care of that.)
At one point, Fr. Van Hager, i.m.c., told me we only had 20 more minutes; It had felt like an hour had elapsed by the time we headed back to our tour bus with the signs. A woman on the street stopped me and said, "You guys helped me out so much today! Thank you for being here with the signs! We had 6 turn arounds today!" It turned out that this woman, named Linda, was a counselor in a crisis pregnancy center on Court Street. There is a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in the same building on a different floor. In fact, we were at the perfect location, especially with the signs disclosing Planned Parenthood's specific involvement in the killing of unborn children.
Back on the bus, there was a loud cheer as the announcement was made that 6 babies had been saved at the last stop. We prayed in thanksgiving.
We had about an hour between stops to warm-up and rest between stops. The trip was incredibly well organized by Janet Morana and Andrew Smith of Priests for Life. Things ran like clockwork. On this particular day of the tour, 24 people participated. There were people from Wisconsin, Kansas and Canada who were on the tour for a week or more. The people from Wisconsin and Canada have participated in other "Face the Truth" tours, which have been conducted in 26 states.
Our last stop of the "Face the Truth" tour in Brooklyn was outside the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. This location was infinitely more comfortable than the Court Street location, because there was very little wind. We spoke to many people outside the library. At one point, a couple of homeless people came up to look at my sign. "That's what abortion is?" said the woman with spiraled designed colored contact lenses. Her name was "Margie". "Isn't it terrible," I said, "But so many women don't know what they're actually doing when they get an abortion." The man said, "You ain't never doing that." She said, "No way." Then she said, "But I did that-I had 3 abortions. " "Did you ever ask Jesus to forgive you?" I asked. She said, "I'm going to go home and ask for forgiveness tonight." "Jesus loves you so much, you know," I said. "I love him." She replied. I asked them if they would like to get a blessing from Fr. Pavone. Fr. Pavone and this couple stood in a circle and prayed, and they thanked us and walked away smiling.
Fr. Pavone made some interesting observations while we were talking: "See, the graphic images don't make women flip out; they bring people to repentance." That has been my experience as well. Even if some of the people who see the signs are upset by the sudden realization of what they did, it is most often the beginning of the healing process. Another thing that Fr. Pavone mentioned, which I also noticed in Brooklyn, was that the most of the people who spoke to us in support of our cause were Black women. The most pro-abortion people were young white men.
As I write to you from my warm and cozy office, looking out the window at the rain, I am thinking about those joyous freezing-cold people who are standing in the rain again today in Queens, NY. I am sure they are saving babies today they will never know about in this life. Yesterday, I was thinking, it takes a lot of effort and sacrifice to save unborn children. The Bible says that children are always a blessing. Janet Smith, Ph.D, author and Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dallas, says that one of the reasons that children are a blessing is that children typically turn parents into better people. Parents suddenly become aware of what is going on in the community, if the schools are good, etc. Parents become less selfish, since the needs of the children must come first. Children are served first; Parents save for their education, etc. Children require incredible amount of sacrifice. Today I'm thinking, those unborn children we are working to save are a blessing to us. They are turning us into better people.
In this Lenten season, would you consider making a sacrificial gift to support my work on behalf of unborn children? Together we can reach more people with the truth about abortion and chastity.
Checks should be made out to LIFENET, Inc. with the designation of "Public Education" (in the memo spot) PO Box 1721 Morristown, NJ 07962-1721. All contributions are tax-deductible.
Director of Public Education