Volume 2, Number 4 • August 2006

Priests for Life Holds Groundbreaking for New Community of Priests and Laity to End Abortion
Fr. Pavone becomes first Moderator General in Mass celebrated by Cardinal Martino

Dear Friends of Life, Welcome to another edition of Frontlines!
Missionaries of the Gospel of Life
Future Lawyers and Judges

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.

Permanent Promises
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.  Click 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
groundbreaking Mass.

First Two Seminarians of the Society

His first act as Moderator General was to present to the first two seminarians of the Society the emblem of the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. Patrick O’Donnell and Daniel Cochran completed their Year of Inquiry and began the Year of Aspirancy, reporting on August 25 to Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Click here to watch a streaming video of our first seminarians receiving the emblem and of the Lay Associates making their first promises. (10 minutes)

Above Fr. Frank Pavone presents the emblem to Daniel Cochran and Patrick O'Donnell.

Lay Associates

Fr. Pavone then received the promises of the first group of Lay Associates, 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 groundbreaking.

Mary O'Connor Ward, sister of the late
John Cardinal O'Connor,  joined us at the groundbreaking.

Following 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 ceremony.

Click here to read Cardinal Martino's remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony.

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.

 Fr. Pavone 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. Bush, 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).

Breaking Ground!
From Left to Right: Fr. Frank Pavone, MEV, Cardinal Martino, Bishop John Yanta and Archbishop José Gomez break ground. 

From Left to Right: Fr. Frank Pavone, MEV, Cardinal Martino,
Bishop John Yanta and Archbishop Jos
é 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.

Additional Photos and Video  

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