ARCHDIOCESE - Father Frank Pavone a diocesan priest from New York City and director of the Staten Island based Priests for Life, said he is hopeful that the tide opposing abortion is gaining strength in the United States.
"I'm convinced it will be ended. It will be overcome," said Father Pavone during a recent visit to greater Cincinnati. He came here in mid-April for a series of lectures at local Catholic high school and other Catholic institutions. An anonymous benefactor at St. James Church in White Oak made his trip possible.
Priests for Life is designated by the Holy See as a Private Association of the Faithful. It offers resources to help priests carry forth the pro-life message of the Catholic Church.
Priests for Life offers materials to assist the clergy learn "what really speaks to people" regarding the pro-life message, said Father Pavone, who joined the group in 1993.
Some of the most frequently used resources are materials helping priests integrate the pro-life message into homilies and other activities at the parish level. His organization reviews various pro-life materials and recommends those that it believes would be especially helpful for parish priests.
"We're able to help crystallize that for priests," Father Pavone said.
His optimism about the growing influence of the pro-life movement from several directions, including an increase in pro-life ecumenical activities, the enthusiasm of Catholic youth, grassroots organizing and a growth in priestly and religious vocations coming out of the pro-life movement, said Father Pavone.
"Many of (the newer priests and religious) have found their vocation pro-life activity", Father Pavone said. Father Pavone called the pro-life movement "one of the greatest, practical expressions of ecumenism there is."
While his organization was founded in San Francisco in 1991 to assist Catholic priests, many ministers from other Christian denominations are turning to Priests for Life as a pro-life resource. "Many of our seminars include Protestant clergy," Father Pavone said.
And, although the amount of legislation introduced at the state level in recent years to restrict abortion is encouraging, Father Pavone said the real key to overcoming the pro-abortion mindset is to offer women in difficult pregnancies pro-life alternatives. 'The church is in a marvelous position to bring those numbers (of abortions) down," Father Pavone said.
He urges every Catholic parish to become a haven of help, hope and life for those expectant mothers facing a crisis pregnancy.
Tackling the abortion issue at the federal level can seem overwhelming. That is why Father Pavone encourages pro-life supporters to be active in their communities as a way to address abortion in one town after another.
I encourage people to think of abortion as a local problem," he said. Catholics cannot reach every woman or girl in this country who is considering an abortion. "But they can do something about the girl down the street," Father Pavone said.
For more information about Priests for Life, contact the group's web-site at www.priestsforlife.org.