In the Church there are all kinds of missions, ministries, and charisms. Many communities have sprung up throughout the centuries, in which Christians have come together to grow in holiness, and to carry out a particular service to others. Some communities teach, some feed the poor, some tend to the sick in hospitals, some minister to youth. Each has a unique charism, and yet each charism accents something that belongs to the life and calling of every Christian.
In our day, there is nothing more antithetical to the Gospel, and more destructive of human life, than abortion. No disease claims as many victims, no war takes as many lives, and no act of terrorism comes near to creating as much devastation as abortion brings to the human family. That is why the US bishops have declared, “Among important issues involving the dignity of human life with which the Church is concerned, abortion necessarily plays a central role. … It is imperative that those who are called to serve the least among us give urgent attention and priority to this issue of justice.” (US Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities, 2001).
It makes sense, then, that there should be a community focused on saving the unborn and ending abortion. Hence, in 1991, Cardinal John O’Connor started the Sisters of Life. They are a flourishing religious community in New York. (Find more information at www.SistersOfLife.org).
What about a similar community for priests, deacons, and lay men? Such a community now exists, based on the mission and spirit of Priests for Life. Last year I was privileged to become the founder and first Moderator General of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. We have several priests and seminarians in formation in our first group.
This community is a Society of Apostolic Life, which means that the focus is more on the mission than on the community. It is based in Amarillo, Texas, but its mission is the entire nation. Members receive a full immersion in all facets of pro-life work, and travel the country preaching, teaching, and ministering to the entire pro-life movement. We counsel those tempted to abort, heal those who have aborted, challenge and educate government officials, train clergy, and utilize mass media. As the Constitutions state, “The Society seeks to give witness before the Church and the world to the priority of the right to life as the foundation of all other rights, and to the absolute claims to respect and protection that this right makes upon every individual and community in the human family” (n.4.1).
The pro-life movement is the greatest human rights movement of our time. Combining pro-life activism with the grace of priesthood is a powerful formula. All are called to do something about abortion. Some are called to make it their life’s vocation. We need your help to get the word about this new community out to those who might be called. If you or someone you know may be interested in pursuing such a vocation, come and visit us! See www.MissionariesoftheGospelofLife.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.