Charlie Frank at his usual post selling chances... Bishop Adamek celebrating the Solemn Convention Liturgy and his remembrance of the Knights as "gentlemen"... Supreme Director, Louis Mautino offering some fine humor and encouraging words at the convention banquet...
Jim Morse fulfilling his role as "jack of all trades and master of all"...State Deputy Ron Cubbage - supportive positive, challenging, responsive, forthcoming, affable, leader - some of the many qualities displayed by Ron... the most welcome and appreciated presence of four former state chaplains - Fr. Stan Swacha, Fr. Bob Franco, Fr. Joe Maurizio, Fr. Jerome...the wise and seasoned company of our former state deputies...hospitality suites, meetings, convention reports...the Memorial Mass and Eucharistic Adoration...the wonderful presence of the family members... All of this and more will fill my memory as I recall in future years my first state convention.
Recounting all of this makes it difficult to point to any one highlight of the convention. However, if I had to point to one highlight, it would be that of the address of Fr. Frank Pavone, director of "Priests for Life", who powerfully and eloquently enunciated the message of support for all human life from the moment of conception until natural death. His stirring words echoed our state theme, "Columbianism - A Witness to Life", through his own witness to this message.
I am very appreciative of Pete Driscoll, state Pro-Life Chairman, for all of his efforts in making it possible for Fr. Pavone to address the convention.
Fr. Pavone's message was fervent and forthright and tempered with the optimism that we are progressing in our effort to overturn the legal injustice that is abortion. He stressed that among all of our rights that we hold as Americans, the right to life is the most foundational and fundamental of all human rights - a right which underpins and binds all other human rights. No other right can exist without this right because without life, and the support and protection of this right, all other human rights lose their meaning. How can one say that they have the right to choose if the denial of the right to human life exists. No right can exist independent of the acknowledgement and acceptance of the right to life.
Fr. Pavone also challenged us to become more involved in the legislative and voting process. He encouraged all present to go to their parishes and ask the pastor to promote voter registration drives this year and next. He emphasized that this does not represent, nor could it represent, endorsement of one particular candidate but we must involve people in the democratic process if we hope to overcome the damaging effects of Roe v. Wade.
Finally, he emphasized our responsibility and obligation as faithful Catholics to support elected and appointed government officials who manifest the pro-life view. He also reiterated the basic teaching of the Church as it relates to lawmakers. He referred to the recent Vatican document Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life and I quote from this document: "John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a "gave and clear obligation to oppose" any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them".
In short, it was a pleasure meeting Fr. Pavone and he certainly added much to a great convention and a great convention experience. A special thank you to Wayne Freet, convention chairman, and to his committee for all that they did in making this a successful convention. Vivat Jesus!