By JOHN BURGER
Priests for Life, a national organization directed by a New York priest, may
become an international organization as a result of recent talks at the Vatican.
Father Frank A. Pavone, director of the organization, met with Pope John Paul
II and Vatican officials to discuss ways to further its growth.
Father Pavone concelebrated Mass with the pope Nov. 21 in the pontiff's
private chapel. In a private audience later, the pontiff praised the work of
Priests for Life. "God bless you and your apostolate for life," he told Father
The Port Chester-born priest also met with Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo,
president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and a member of Priests for
Life's board of directors.
Priests for Life is an association of priests, deacons and lay auxiliary
members who make a special commitment to spread the Church's teaching on the
sanctity of life. There are about 3.000 members in the United States.
"We had preliminary discussions regarding ways to internationalize Priests
for Life," Father Pavone told CNY. The Pontifical Council for the Family, which
directs policy on life issues for the entire Roman Catholic Church, is so happy
with the progress we have made here in America that it wishes to see Priests for
Life expanded to every country in the world.
"We've already had a lot of international growth. Canada has an organization,
and there have been inquiries from a number of other countries. The Rome trip
only increased the interest of the Vatican. We talked about how the organization
might be coordinated from Rome.
He also met with officials of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the
Vatican congregations for the clergy, for bishops and for the doctrine of the
faith. "The response I received from these Vatican departments was
overwhelming," Father Pavone said.
Father Pavone gave the pope an audio tape entitled "Renewed by the Gospel of
Life—A Weekend Pro-Life Retreat," which he had preached in 1994, and a
photograph of a priest surrounded by a large number of babies saved from
abortion by pro-life efforts.