Missionaries of the Gospel of Life
On August 24, 2006 Priests for Life held a groundbreaking ceremony in Amarillo, Texas, for its new headquarters and the central community house of the new Society, the
Missionaries of the Gospel of Life.
Cardinal Renato Martino
Cardinal Renato Martino, the President of the Vatican’s
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (shown left) presided over the
ceremonies, which started with a mass in which Fr. Frank Pavone officially
become the first member of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life.
Fr. Pavone professed his permanent promises in the presence
of Bishop John Yanta, Bishop of Amarillo, and thereby was incardinated into the
Society and installed as its first Moderator General.
here for more photos of the groundbreaking Mass.
Concelebrating the Mass with Cardinal
Martino and Bishop Yanta were Most Rev. José Gomez, Archbishop of San Antonio; Most Rev. Charles Grahmann, Bishop of Dallas;
Most Rev. Kevin Vann, Bishop of Fort Worth; Most Rev. Michael Pfeifer, OMI,
Bishop of San Angelo; Most Rev. Placido Rodriguez, CMF, Bishop of Lubbock; Most
Rev. Renee Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi; Most Rev. George
Fitzsimons, Bishop Emeritus of Salina, KS; and numerous priests, including the
full-time and part-time members of the pastoral team of Priests for Life.
Click here to read Cardinal Martino's homily at the
Fr. Pavone then received the promises
of the first group of
consisting of: From left to right below: Kevin Burke, Dr. Paul Schenck, Joy
Pinto, James Pinto, Jr. (the national Coordinator of the Lay Associates
program), and Janet Morana.
He also introduced the four men who
were just accepted for their Year of Inquiry: Heriberto Reyes, David Mullen,
James Snow, and David Begany.
Click here for photos from the Seminarian Life Link conference that took place
in Amarillo the week before the groundbreaking.
Mary O'Connor Ward,
sister of the late
John Cardinal O'Connor, joined us at the
Mass, the groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site
of the new facilities. Each of the Priest-Associates of
Priests for Life read a
prayer asking for God’s favor upon a particular
aspect of the ministry of Priests for Life and the
Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. Cardinal Martino
said a prayer of blessing over the land itself.
Click here for more photos of the groundbreaking
Click here to read Cardinal Martino's remarks at the
In addition to
remarks by Cardinal Martino, Bishop Yanta, and Fr. Frank
Pavone, several special guests gave words of greeting at
the groundbreaking ceremonies. These included Dr. Alveda
King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and a member of
the Priests for Life pastoral team; Norma McCorvey, the
former “Jane Roe” of Roe vs. Wade, whom Fr. Pavone
received into the Catholic Church in 1998; Bob and Mary
Schindler, the parents of Terri Schiavo, along with her
brother Bobby; and Mary O’Connor Ward, the sister of
Cardinal John O’Connor, who ordained Fr. Pavone and gave
him permission in 1993 to lead Priests for Life.
Cardinal O’Connor and Fr. Pavone discussed the idea of a
community of priests dedicated to pro-life ministry back
in 1993, and the Cardinal encouraged Fr. Pavone to
explore the possibility.
received various letters of congratulations from civic
and religious leaders, some of which were read at the
ceremony. Among those who wrote were President George W.
Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) (PDF format),
Dr. James Dobson (PDF format),
Sandra Cano (the “Mary Doe” of Doe vs. Bolton, the
companion case to Roe vs. Wade),
Fr. Paul Marx, OSB, and
Deacon Keith Fournier (Director of Deacons in the
Service of Life, a national ministry of the Missionaries
of the Gospel of Life).
From Left to Right:
Fr. Frank Pavone, MEV, Cardinal Martino,
Bishop John Yanta and Archbishop José
Gomez break ground.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the
Cardinal, with all the bishops and Fr. Pavone, took shovels in their hands and
broke the ground to the cheers of all who were present.
“The mission of Priests for Life bears
new fruit today,” Fr. Pavone explained. “Abortion is the paramount moral tragedy
of our day. The Church acknowledges that in her teaching. She is also called to
acknowledge that by the allocation of personnel and institutions focused
exclusively on defending the right to life of the unborn. Our ministry, and our
new community, is an example of that commitment.”
“This is an historic day,” Bishop
Yanta commented, “and only God knows how significant it will prove to be for the
pro-life movement in this country and around the world. Our diocese is proud to
partner with Priests for Life in this work of the Holy Spirit.”
Fr. Pavone added, “We invite those who
feel the call to devote their lives entirely to the protection of the unborn to
come to us. Working in union with the entire pro-life movement, we will never
turn back, and we will overcome.”
Last December, Cardinal Martino
commented that this “community founded for the purpose of working to protect
human life may seem like a sign of contradiction—but it may just be what the
world of today needs! The call to protect life is not only a foundation of our
faith as Catholics, but it is the very basis of our recognition of human rights
and the right to life.”
On the morning of the groundbreaking,
Fr. Pavone also convened a unique strategy meeting of priests from various
organizations who work full-time on the pro-life cause. The next day, held a
strategic meeting of pro-life leaders to discuss future initiatives of the
movement. Cardinal Martino was present for both meetings.