Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
Listen to Audio
Fr. Frank s columns are podcast.
Click here for more information.
Over a million children per grade level throughout the nation would have been
with us had they not been killed by abortion. Priests for Life asks, therefore,
that each graduation ceremony and liturgy include a remembrance of those who
would have been graduating had they not been aborted. This could in some way,
make reparation for the scandal of Catholic institutions, such as Notre Dame,
inviting and honoring pro-abortion public figures.
Remembrance of the missing children can take the form of a moment of silence, a
lit candle, an empty chair, a cap and diploma resting by themselves, or a brief
prayer. Symbolic actions can be accompanied by words like these:
"On this day of joy, we give thanks to God for our accomplishments. At the same
time, we cannot ignore those whose lives have been lost, and who otherwise would
have been with us to share the joys of this day.
With charity toward all and condemnation toward none, we, the Class of 2009,
wish to honor and remember those who have lost their lives because they were
aborted. (We pause now for a moment of silence... Or We now light this candle in
their memory... Or We set aside these empty chairs in their memory.)
As we move into a new chapter of our lives, we commit ourselves to building a
Culture of Life, in which parents never have to feel that the only way to solve
their problems is to abort their child, and in which the precious dignity of
every human life, especially the most defenseless, is cherished and protected.
We invite you all to join us in striving for this goal."
Suppose that a tragedy took the lives of some of the graduating class just days
or weeks before graduation. Would there not be a mention or a tribute at the
ceremony? Why, then, should the victims who died longer ago be forgotten? It is
not, after all, the timing of the death that matters, but the value of the life.
It s graduation time again. I ll be praying for all graduates at all different
grade levels. It is my fervent hope that students everywhere will take the
initiative to remember aborted classmates.
Some, of course, will object to inserting such a "negative" theme into a happy
day. But are significant moments in our lives supposed to be insulated from all
awareness of injustice? Are we to rejoice with those who rejoice, but not weep
with those who weep?
To be willing to face sadness when the victims were born, but unwilling to do so
when the victims died before birth, is another sign of the deep-rooted prejudice
against the unborn in our society. But a new generation of young people who have
survived that prejudice are now taking their places and preparing to be the
future leaders. That gives us hope. Isn t that what Graduation Day is all about?
Please, do something. How can we explain it if we forget or ignore these