By Tony Magliano
Catholic News Service
From Capitol Hill as far as I could see marched a sea of people for life!
Traveling from all parts of the country we came to peacefully protest our
government's refusal to protect unborn human beings from the barbaric practice
of legalized abortion.
For me the March for Life every
Jan. 22 brings mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's a real pro-life
shot-in-the-arm. On this day it seems like victory is within our grasp. And then
a sobering thought strikes me: We have been doing this for 31 years with no end
While some positive gains have been made, such as the passing of federal
legislation to ban partial-birth abortions (which presently is undergoing court
challenge), every day throughout the United States legal abortion brutally
dismembers and kills more than 4,000 unborn babies. We have a long way to go!
I once heard Nellie Gray, president of the March for Life, say that if just
the Catholics alone in the United States would stand up and demand an end to
abortion, it would end. But sadly, millions of Catholics are sitting this one
The unborn desperately need all of us - clergy and laity - actively working
and praying throughout the entire year on their behalf. An annual march and
respect-life Mass is simply not enough.
"What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a
united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All
together, we must build a new culture of life" (Pope John Paul II, "The
Gospel of Life," No. 95).
Catholics need to apply tremendous political pressure. Regularly urging your
state and congressional representatives to support pro-life legislation is
absolutely essential. Get on the mailing list of your diocesan respect-life
office and state Catholic conference to find out about upcoming bills.
Have you heard of the Gabriel
Project? Operating in 14 states, this parish-based program provides an
alternative to abortion by supporting women practically, emotionally, and
The parish I serve in participates in this wonderful project. In front of our
church is a sign advertising our willingness to help. We have provided baby
clothes, cribs and infant formula, helped poor women obtain public services, and
connected one mother with the adoption unit at Catholic Charities.
Paul Mulligan, executive director of Maryland's Gabriel Project, would be
most willing to help parishes form a Gabriel Project. Give him a call at
I recently spoke with Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for
Life, about what clergy and laity can do to help end abortion. He said their Web
site (www.priestsforlife.org) lists many important projects needing the help of
the Catholic community.
For instance, their "Letters-to-the-Editor
Project" helps people write effective pro-life letters to local newspapers.
A free starter kit is available.
Fr. Pavone strongly believes many people will not be convinced to join the
pro-life cause until they see the horrible reality of abortion. To that end,
post cards showing an unborn child before and after an abortion, and one-page
flyers with medical diagrams of a first trimester abortion, are available
(freewill donation requested) when you call 1-718-980-4400.
I asked Fr. Pavone what his message is to fellow priests. He said: "Do not be
afraid to preach clearly and explicitly on abortion. Silence does not interpret
itself. Silence hurts more - because women who have had an abortion, or may be,
contemplating one, need to know the truth, which of course includes the healing
mercy of God."