Volume 1, Number 2 - October 2005
Dear Friends of Life, Welcome to another edition of Frontlines!
A Rhode Island Adventure…
Fr. Giacomo Capoverdi with Fr. Frank Pavone M.E.V.

At the end of August one of our newest Priest Associates, Fr. Giacomo Capoverdi (standing with me in photo on left), arranged for a speaking trip for me to his home diocese of Providence, Rhode Island. The trip was marked by meetings with the Governor, various state legislators, a lot of priests, and many of the faithful activists in the pro-life movement.
 
It was also marked by conversation with “abortion-rights” supporters in Providence. I firmly believe in the value of such dialogue, which does not at all compromise our position on abortion, but rather follows the approach of the Lord Jesus who ate with sinners.
 
On Saturday morning, we had a scheduled Mass followed by a procession to the abortion facility. The day before this event, we were alerted by the local police that there were some security concerns. In fact, the police conducted a bomb sweep of St. Paul’s – where I was scheduled to say Mass – at three o’clock in the morning! Police officials told us about a radical group George Soros funds.  That group is called OSI and stands for The Open Society Institute.  According to the police OSI is known for using violence and threats of violence to intimidate individuals and organizations that oppose their extremist anti-life agenda. The police took action because of the amount and tone of email correspondence among OSI members.  It was thought that as many as 300 ruffians would descend on Cranston in an attempt to intimidate us and possible do bodily harm. 
 
As it turned out, a total of 11 pro-abortion demonstrators showed up! We did, however, have police officers at every door of the Church throughout the Mass, and all around the abortion mill. The police did a great job. The pro-abortion demonstrators, by contrast, did nothing but yell and scream the whole time. Would you believe this: when I met with the abortion supporters who were willing to talk with me the night before, they said that we in the pro-life movement  just yell and scream when we go to the abortion mill!!
 
One of the most memorable moments that morning was when the pro-abortion demonstrators started chanting, “Pavone, go home! Pavone, go home!” In response, the pro-life people began their own chant, “Pavone IS home!” And that describes exactly how I feel in every community, from coast to coast, when I gather with defenders of life! That’s why I never get tired of my constant travels.  See more photos from our Rhode Island trip.

Meanwhile, back in Texas…

Priests for Life retreat in Amarillo, TX
Priests for Life held a retreat in Amarillo, TX for pro-life leaders.
Left, they witness for life in front of Planned Parenthood. 
Click here
to view more photos of the retreat.

As the pro-aborts were fuming about what we were doing in Rhode Island, their counterparts in Amarillo were also fretting about the presence of Priests for Life. For example, Claudia travato, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle, said: “The number of protestors has significantly increased and the nature of the protests has intensified. ... [T]he group's activities threaten Planned Parenthood's operation.” Mike Wagner, associate director of Planned Parenthood’s Security Group, gave this glowing testimony to Priests for Life’s effectiveness: “The number of protesters has jumped dramatically since [Priests for Life] came to Amarillo — from just a few to more than 70 at a time.”
 
Planned Parenthood built a new security fence around their Amarillo facility, and the CEO complained to me about how much money they had to divert from “health care” in order to do it. As you can imagine, when that’s Planned Parenthood talking, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. 
 
And while Planned Parenthood does all this complaining, we have welcomed our first group of men who are joining the new community that Priests for Life is establishing, the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. On Sunday, October 16 we had an opening Mass with Bishop John Yanta. The men have a daily routine of prayer, study, classes, work, recreation, and pro-life activity. Our meals are taken in common each day, and every weekend the men go to one of the parishes of the Amarillo diocese, along with one of our Priests for Life priests, to learn how to conduct a “Priests for Life Parish Weekend,” which they will some day do as priests themselves throughout the nation.

Two by Two
Jim Pinto, Priests for Life Pastoral Associate
Jim Pinto, Pastoral Associate

Prior to the 2004 elections, our pastoral team decided that one of the best ways to encourage our brother priests around the country was to visit them face to face. Relying on the biblical example of Jesus sending forth his disciples in pairs, we called this the “Two by Two” project. Two of us at a time go into a particular city and just knock on the doors of every Church, asking to spend a few moments chatting with the priest. It works in a marvelous way. The priests are very happy to have a visit, and we give them encouragement and resources for carrying out pro-life preaching and activities in their parish.
 
Fr. Giacomo Capoverdi and Fr. Jim Heyd have been doing Two-by-twos in Minnesota during October. Our pastoral associate Jim Pinto, who is also on Two-by-two assignment in October along with Fr. Peter West, writes the following about this exciting and successful project:

 “I have always admired those early Methodist preachers known as “Circuit Riders” who tirelessly traveled near and far declaring the Gospel to a multitude of congregations. It seems to me that the present day “Circuit Riders” are Priest’s for Life clergy and pastoral associates. This became especially evident during our parish visitations last year. I recall Fr. Capoverdi and me declaring the Gospel of Life to as many as 13 parishes in one day (Pensacola, Fl.). There was also a 4 to 5 day mission, when the two parish teams combined for over 50 life-equipping parish visits, in two separate parts of the country.
 
“No, the former Methodist Circuit Riders have nothing over the current Catholic Circuit Riders of Priests for Life, who with urgency and passion proclaim the Gospel of Life in villages, towns, cities, and parishes just like yours.”
 
Circuit Riding for Life,
Jim Pinto, Pastoral Associate

The Catholic Press
Priests for Life at the Catholic Press Association (CPA) conference 

Back in May, Priests for Life was again present at the Catholic Press Association (CPA) conference, and we presented once again our “Bernardin-O’Connor Award for Pro-life Journalism.” It is part of the special mission of Priests for Life to be present to a wide variety of apostolates and ministries in the Church, because we exist to encourage and equip the whole Church to be more effective advocates for the unborn. To equip the Church at every level means that you have to be present to the Church at every level. And therefore we go to a lot of conferences, with our booth, our materials, our presentations, and our networking, from morning to night, to get to know those who are doing so much good ministry.
 
In the case of CPA, of which we are also members, we have the opportunity to interact with editors and reporters from diocesan papers, Catholic magazines, and other publications nationwide. We thank them for giving us so much coverage and, in many cases, for running my bi-weekly column in their papers.
 
In 2005, we were delighted to have Bobby Schindler (Terri Schiavo’s brother - in photo on right) with us as we presented the journalism award. Both he and I shared with the editors and reporters what it was like to be in Terri’s room as she was dying, and what has to be done now so that her death will not be in vain. 
Click here to view more photos of the CPA convention.

Breast Cancer Survivor and Mom
Charnette Messe and her two children

Many of you are now seeing our TV programs on the Sky Angel satellite system, and in our recent taping of those shows we had Charnette Messe and her two children as guests. Charnette had an abortion and then developed breast cancer; she speaks about the link between the two. Her son, with us on the show, was in her womb while she was receiving chemotherapy, and is living proof that battling cancer and carrying a baby can be done successfully at the same time.

 

Crisis Magazine Award
Crisis Magazine Award

I’m sure that many of you are readers of Crisis magazine. I was happy to accept an award from them in September, in recognition of my pro-life work. The dinner in Washington DC fell on the night that we finished a week of taping our new Defending Life series at EWTN. My parents were also in attendance, as were dignitaries from the White House and the US Congress.

I spoke to the crowd about “the pulpits’ red glare.” Our nation took birth from the fiery preaching of those who reminded its first citizens that our rights come from God, not from government. I told the assembled guests that America today must defend the rights of the unborn through clear and vigorous preaching from the pulpit that the rights of unborn children cannot be taken away by government, and that the Church has to call upon voters to elect pro-life candidates, without fear and without apology.  View more photos of the Crisis Magazine Awards.

Walkers Welcome!
Walkers Welcome!

As I was traversing the country, our Associate Director Janet Morana was doing trips of her own that included gatherings of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. These courageous women give witness to how their abortion hurt them and how the Lord Jesus healed them. Their signs, “I Regret My Abortion,” spoke to many people. Janet herself has had abortions – not surgical, but chemical abortions brought about by “birth control” pills. She and Dr. Theresa Burke have written a book about the grief that more and more women experience as they realize that their birth control actually caused early abortions. Women who suffer in this way are likewise “Silent no more.”  Click here for more photos.

Blessing Terri’s Grave
The grave of Terri Schiavo 

I had the opportunity in September to bless the grave of Terri Schiavo, as some of her family members and I visited the site where she is buried. The inscription her stone, placed there by her estranged husband Michael, is a blasphemy against human life, as the pictures here will show you. The flowers that we placed at her grave reminded me of the flowers that were inches away from Terri in her room as she was dying of dehydration – flowers that were immersed in water.

Silent No More Awareness
Silent No More Awareness

As I was traversing the country, our Associate Director Janet Morana was doing trips of her own that included gatherings of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. These courageous women give witness to how their abortion hurt them and how the Lord Jesus healed them. Their signs, “I Regret My Abortion,” spoke to many people. Janet herself has had abortions – not surgical, but chemical abortions brought about by “birth control” pills. She and Dr. Theresa Burke have written a book about the grief that more and more women experience as they realize that their birth control actually caused early abortions. Women who suffer in this way are likewise “Silent no more.”  Click here for more photos.

Congratulations, Joe Scheidler!
Joe Scheidler, National Director of the Pro-life Action League 

Janet and I took two of the men who have been accepted to the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life on a trip to Chicago to join Joe Scheidler, National Director of the Pro-life Action League, for the 25th Anniversary celebration of that organization. It was festive and enjoyable, even as it recalled graphically for the assembled guests the nature of the abortion evil we are fighting. The activities of the League have inspired me from the earliest days of my own pro-life activism, and Priests for Life is always proud to be associated with Joe Scheidler.  View more photos of the anniversary celebration.

Healing in Iowa

In a display of effective collaboration, the four dioceses of the state of Iowa joined forces and had Priests for Life come in for a few days of training offered to the clergy and laity, as well as preaching in parishes and a life chain. On the second weekend of October, Theresa and Kevin Burke and I spent time in Iowa, teaching the priests about Rachel’s Vineyard and post-abortion healing. The next day, at a seminar for the laity, I spoke about the connection between all the “life issues,” and emphasized – as the Pope and bishops do – that the foundation of all these “issues” is the right to life itself. 
See more photos here!

 

You Can Save Someone’s Life Today!
Joe Scheidler, National Director of the Pro-life Action League 

Each year, as “Respect Life Sunday” draws near in October, Priests for Life offers to parishes throughout the nation a four-page bulletin insert called “You Can Save Someone’s Life Today.” It contains basic facts about abortion as well as dozens of suggested activities. It provides people with the life-saving telephone numbers for alternatives to abortion and healing after abortion.
 
This year we had a greater response than ever before from the parishes across the country. We sent out over 150.000 of these bulletin inserts, free of charge, to the pastors who requested them. Our future seminarians for the new community helped the staff in our Resource department to mail out the many boxes of these inserts!  Click here to view more pictures of our efforts!



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